NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mark Clayton was only Tennessee's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate a few hours when he found out the leaders of his own party wanted nothing to do with him.
"It's not really unexpected," Clayton said. "Their two positions are abortion and gay marriage and that doesn't sell well with Democratic voters in Tennessee."
Friday, the Tennessee Democratic Party announced they were disavowing Clayton's nomination because he is the Vice President of Washington, D.C. based Public Advocate of the United States, which doesn't believe in gay marriage.
On their website, the group claims to support traditional marriage, pro-life legislation and claims to be against "homosexuality and other immoral behavior and beliefs."
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the organization a "hate group."
"That kind of candidate who talks about hate and bigotry in the way he does is not going to be one supported by the Tennessee Democratic Party," said Chairman Chip Forrester.
Forrester says Clayton only won because of an alphabetical advantage.
"C came before any other letter. He won because of his ballot placement," said Forrester who believes voters writing in any name in November would be better. "There is no way that any Democrat could be comfortable supporting that kind of candidate," he said.
Clayton says he won with growing name recognition with Democrats who aren't bound by liberal social issues. "More people are permanently part of the campaign, and I don't think that support is going away," he said.
He believes he can beat Republican Bob Corker no matter if the "D" beside his name comes with party backing or not. "We're the party. The people are the party," Clayton went on to say.