Live from Nashville, Tennessee Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Memphis, Tennessee state Representative John DeBerry joined host Michael Patrick Leahy on the newsmakers line.
At the top of the second hour, DeBerry talked about how he was secretly removed from the August primary by the Democratic Executive Committee with no warning or chance to speak in his defense. He went on to disclose how this action must have all taken place secretly by members on the telephone and that he will not have a chance to face his accuser’s eye to eye because of the pandemic.
Leahy: We are joined now on the line by state Representative Jon DeBerry who was elected as a Democrat in House District 90 in Memphis back in 1994. Has served the party and the state with great integrity ever since. And in perhaps one of the most dishonest, mysterious, secretive, and abuse of the rule of law actions I’ve ever seen, yesterday the state Democratic Party Executive Committee in a 41-18 vote said that he’s no longer a Democrat and removed him from the August primary ballot. Welcome Representative DeBerry.
DeBerry: Thank you, sir, for having me on your program.
Leahy: Just for all Tennesseans, let me say thank you for all of the fantastic high-level of service you provided to your district in Memphis and also the state. I’m going to call this a quasi-legal and most likely illegal move this is my talking about it. Did you have any idea that they were going to plan this secretive behind closed doors coup to remove you from the ballot in the August primary?
DeBerry: No. I had no idea that this was going on whatsoever. I found out about it less than 48 hours before it happened. The vote happened yesterday, Wednesday. And I found out about it Monday night. So I had no idea this was going on. I was giving absolutely no warning. No opportunity to prepare a defense or at least a response during the course of this hearing or anything like this. It just ambushed me.
Leahy: Under the rules of the Democratic Party are they allowed after the filing date is over for the primary where you filed as a Democrat as you’ve done for 26 years, do the rules allow for this kind of subterfuge from the executive committee of the Tennessee party?
DeBerry: I think that I have seen many times over the last 26 years, for instance, the time when we passed a law about drugs and children were being arrested for having an aspirin. Sometimes the legislative intent gets lost. And I do not believe that the legislative intent was for any tribunal to make a decision as to how an individual legislator votes on particular issues.
I suppose that there is an ideological test being a Democrat or a Republican and I suppose that is about a type of way of governing. But to absolutely say that I have to vote a certain way on particular issues I do not believe that that was the intent of the law or the intent of the law that they could say we are going to take you off the ballot and circumvent the right of the voters by some type of tribunal.
Leahy: Well the far left authoritarians who are running the Democratic Party apparently don’t like the fact that you think independently and that you supported the voucher program and you are pro-life. Other than that you’ve been pretty solidly in line with the Democratic party’s principles. The story I read in WREG said that you have the right to appeal this. Do you intend to appeal and where would that appeal process go?
DeBerry: I would appeal it I suppose over the telephone since we’re in the middle of this pandemic. That’s another suspect. We cannot meet eye to eye and face to face. I can’t face the people who are accusing me. I think that this was all done by telephone because you can’t call a forum together physically. And I would have to appeal to the same exact people who made this one-sided decision yesterday. I would have to appeal to them and I absolutely have no desire whatsoever to stand before them.
Leahy: It seems to me that this would be a violation of the state of Tennessee’s election law. Have you considered that?
DeBerry: Well I have. And I’ve talked to several attorneys and different individuals. The way that the statue in my understanding of how it’s written is they have the right to say that we will not associate with you. I do not think that was the legislative intent. I think the intent was to find folks who align along the type of…
Leahy: I don’t think they can remove you from the ballot legally. That’s the point as a Democrat once the filings over. I don’t know. But we’re going to look into that.
DeBerry: I have some very competent lawyers looking into it. It would be very difficult if I filed an injunction. If we went to court. There comes a time when you kind of realize ok this particular battle has been lost.
Leahy: Let’s do this Representative DeBerry. Will you come back tomorrow from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and tell us more about this travesty of justice?
DeBerry: I absolutely will. And I certainly will come back on the program. I would not like to see this happen to another official.
Leahy: We are going to look into how we can help you in this circumstance.
Listen to the second hour here:
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