In a release just sent to the media, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee member Jim Bilbo, chairman of the party's by-laws committee, pledges that the party will fix its vetting process, presumably to make sure they find out whether one of their candidates believes the federal government is secretly building a 400-yard wide superhighway from Mexico City to Toronto before said candidate wins the party's nomination for a U.S. Senate seat.
The release also accuses State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, a former Republican state legislator, of "playing politics rather than running clean, fair elections" and takes issue with Goins' explanation of the TNDP's by-laws.
Read the release in full, after the jump:
TNDP Executive Committee member Jim Bilbo, chairman of the by-laws committee, pledged today that the state Party's Executive Committee would fix the candidate review process that allowed an extreme candidate who is not a Democrat on the ballot.
"We are committed to reforms that make candidate vetting more proactive and more transparent so that we can prevent candidates who are not Democrats from ever getting on the Democratic ballot in the future," said Bilbo.
State law requires that candidates in Democratic and Republican primaries be bona fide members of the political party whose election they seek. Bilbo, an attorney in Bradley County, says both parties have a legal obligation to ensure that those who appear on primary election ballots are approved by the party.
"We have already begun our review of the process that failed us this year and nearly failed us in the past, and we pledge to fix it," Bilbo said. "We owe it to Democratic supporters, candidates and volunteers to enact reforms so that extreme candidates who don't represent our core Democratic, middle class values may never take advantage of our open elections again."
GOINS PLAYING POLITICS RATHER THAN RUNNING CLEAN, FAIR ELECTIONS: TNDP by-laws do not give the chairman unilateral authority to strip a candidate of their "bona fide" credentials. A county party must challenge the bona fides of a candidate and bring the challenge to the executive committee. From Goins' letter: "In the event that at a county party ... challenges a candidate for any office be it local, county, state or federal, against appearing on the ballot as a Democrat ... the challenge shall be referred to the County Party Development Committee which shall by a simple majority vote of the members make a recommendation to the State Party Chair."
Am I the only one who keeps expecting Democrats to just shut up about this and try to let it die? Discuss anonymously below.