Mark Clayton, the Democratic Party’s unconventional, disavowed candidate for the U.S. Senate, didn’t push the button for party nominee Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. He said he voted for Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, a personal friend from his days in Pensacola, Fla.
“I used to go to his church,” Clayton said at a news conference last week. “If you have a friend that’s running for president and you like them and you agree with a lot of the things that he says … I did that as a supportive friend.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has tagged Baldwin, a conservative Christian minister and radio host, as a promoter of hateful views. The center also has labeled Public Advocate of the United States, an organization Clayton plays a role in, as an anti-gay hate group, which was one reason for the Tennessee Democratic Party’s decision to disavow him as its Senate nominee.
“Besides leading a new congregation in Kalispell (Montana) that includes well-known white supremacists Randy Weaver and April Gaede, Baldwin hosts a daily one-hour radio program, ‘Chuck Baldwin Live,’ ” the center says on its web site.
“He also is a prolific writer, penning regular columns that are archived on his website and at VDARE.com, a racist website known for bashing immigrants. He has condemned Islam as a ‘bloody, murderous religion’ and referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as an apostate. He sympathizes with Joseph Stack, the tax protester who flew a plane into an IRS office building in 2010, killing himself and an IRS employee.”
The Wall Street Journal’s web site reported in 2008 that Baldwin, a former Moral Majority official, “advocates a limited federal government, a hard-line position on immigration and an end to America’s role in the international organizations that comprise a ‘new world order.’ ” U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012, endorsed Baldwin in 2008.
Clayton, who has expressed appreciation for some of Paul’s views, wrote of a “new world order” on his 2008 campaign website. (He now has a new site.) But while stopping short of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants during an interview last week, he expressed sympathy for their plight, saying they deserve full civil rights.
“We don’t want to create new pain and suffering,” Clayton said. “If millions of people are here illegally, if that’s wrong, it’s not their fault. It’s a policy issue, a border issue.”
He also said he was concerned about the disproportionate number of African-American men in prison.
Clayton said he “might have different views” than Baldwin, whose church he attended for a year when he was in college in Pensacola.
“I just think of him as a man of conscience who promotes the Gospel boldly and without compromise,” Clayton said. “You have to expect that from a pastor. It’s a pastor’s job to preach against sin.”
Clayton has criticized the Southern Poverty Law Center, saying it uses its list of hate groups as a fund-raising tactic.