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Tennessee Democrats disavow own Senate candidate, citing hate group ties

The Tennessee Democratic Party is disavowing the winner of the party's nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Bob Corker in November, saying the little-known candidate belongs to an anti-gay hate group.

The winner of the seven-candidate Democratic primary, 35-year-old Mark Clayton, reported raising no money and campaigned little but received more than 48,000 votes. That's twice the number of his nearest competitor in Thursday's primary.

Clayton is vice president of the Falls Church, Va.-based Public Advocate of the United States, which calls itself a conservative advocacy group. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the organization an anti-gay hate group.

Clayton did not immediately return messages. Public Advocate says on its website that it "offers strong and vocal opposition to," among other things, "same-sex marriage and the furtherance of so-called gay rights."