Partisan tempers flare in Juvenile Court race

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 3:55pm

Davidson County’s Juvenile Court clerk race has turned decidedly partisan, with the Tennessee Democratic Party chairman vowing his party is “fully engaged” to defeat the man he calls a “right-wing, nut-job Republican.”

In a recent email to supporters, Metro Councilman Eric Crafton, the Republican candidate for Juvenile Court clerk, tries to rally his conservative troops by citing $15,000 spent by the state Democratic Party on mail pieces on behalf of Democratic candidate David Smith.

“Despite everything they are saying and doing to defeat us, we are truly on the verge of something spectacular,” Crafton writes in the email.

Chip Forrester, the state’s Democratic Party chair, confirmed mail pieces were sent to voters on behalf of Smith through a party-led, coordinated campaign effort. Forrester didn’t shy away from his party’s position.

“We’re extremely interested and supportive of David Smith’s race for Juvenile Court clerk,” Forrester told The City Paper. “We see the potential of Eric Crafton, who is a right-wing, nut-job Republican, using this [seat] as a stepping stone for higher office.”

Early voting for Metro’s general election kicked off two weeks ago. Election Day is Aug. 5.

Crafton, who represents parts of Bellevue, has become a punching bag of sorts for Democrats after his unsuccessful English only push more than a year and a half ago.

“We feel, because Davidson County is an extremely important Democratic bastion for us, the state party, as well as the local party, has a strong interest in ensuring that David Smith is elected next week,” Forrester said.

Kimberly Ketchel, communications director of the Tennessee Republican Party, said the state Republican Party has not provided financial support for Crafton, but supports his candidacy.

Asked for his response to Forrester’s comments, Crafton said, “I wouldn’t know Chip Forrester if he were standing next to me.

“I guess when things aren’t going your way you can’t really criticize someone’s credentials, and all you’re really left with is name calling,” Crafton said. “Unfortunately, this liberal-activist wing of the Democratic Party, they seem to never be able to win a debate or issue based on the facts.”

Crafton, in an email to supporters, also used “liberal activist” to describe At-large Councilman Ronnie Steine, going on to say that Steine thinks the Juvenile Court clerk office and other local seats “belong only to Democrats.”

The remarks came in light of comments Steine made in a recent Tennessean article that explores the role Crafton’s failed English only initiative could play on energizing Democratic voters.

“I don’t think many people think there’s much doubt about the outcome,” Steine said in the story. “The question is if David’s margin is substantial over Eric, that sends the message to Republicans that perhaps they might want to invest their resources elsewhere in upcoming congressional and even legislative races.”

Responding to Crafton’s email, Steine told The City Paper, “I think what Eric’s doing is clearly trying to compensate for really the lack of work he’s put into his own campaign. He’s trying to use an outside comment to mobilize his base.

“On another level, I would say it actually confirms everybody’s thoughts,” Steine added. “When he says he just wants to be a clerk based on his qualifications, clearly using me with the label he wants to put on me, absolutely makes the case that indeed he’s going to pursue an activist agenda if he gets to be clerk.”

23 Comments on this post:

By: Photodeluxe on 7/29/10 at 2:22

Eric Crafton should not be allowed near the Juvenile Court. I would bet that most of the cases there are people of color and or hispanic. He appears to want only white english speaking people in this country. Not a good combination , a confirmed racist, dealing with people who are of different races. He appears to be a nice guy and is even married to someone of another race, so what makes this guy tick? He scares me, especially in a place like Juvenile Court which already is a complete mess. Why bring more problems to a place that is ultimately for the children.

By: Anna3 on 7/29/10 at 10:24

The arrogange of these fellows is really astounding in the Democratic Party. Chippy and Ronnie ought to ask themselves when all they really have left for a party is urban Nashville and urban Memphis is that enough? You are running folks like Bob Clement and Douglas Henry out of your own whom you both owe much to.while showing both utter disrespect. You may be able to control some cities but your "Control Freak" leadership will never fly in Tennessee. You try to contol what I eat, drive, watch, read, breathe, teach, worship, shoot, and spend my money on...No Sirs! you will never get your corrupt hands on another inch of Tennessee if i have anything to say about it. I'll see you two at the ballot box! You may beat Crafton and win the battle but do you really think that you are winning the war? You both are educated fools!

By: Anna3 on 7/29/10 at 10:29

PhotoDeluxe...What's your agenda? Crafton's got dual honors degrees in Math and economics from Vanderbilt...and David Smith has a High School Diploma...? Crafton's run a business and paid a payroll...he's a decorated veteran...what gives? The only thing Smith has that Crafton does not is a DUI record! Get real about qualifications.

By: Anna3 on 7/29/10 at 10:32

Democrat tempers flare when they think someone is going to take something they have a devine right to....this isn't the peoples office in their minds it is theirs! I love Stein's "Let them eat cake!" mentality.

By: snookster on 7/29/10 at 11:10

I'm glad Crafton has paid a payroll but I'd feel better if he paid his taxes. Be honest. Crafton has run for Council 4 times in two different districts and now that he is term limited again he is looking for his next metro gig. I predict that voters will permanently term limit him next week.

By: bruingeek on 7/30/10 at 6:47

I hate to admit it, but Crafton's passion and tenacity for a cause like "English Only" was admirable...unfortunately, his honors in math and economics were a few grade points short on common sense for the English Only issue. Just how much damage could he do as Juveline Court Clerk?

By: budlight on 7/30/10 at 7:35

Chip Forrester, the state’s Democratic Party chair, confirmed mail pieces were sent to voters on behalf of Smith through a party-led, coordinated campaign effort. Forrester didn’t shy away from his party’s position.

Well, of course the Demorats are BUYING another election; they spent 1 billion on Obama and look at the CHUMP change we got there. They can't win elections on policy; they have to import illegals and buy the elections.

I have a high school diploma; wonder if I should run for a demorat seat?

Juvenile Court? What a joke. Those kids need parenting and don't get it. So all the whhopla in the world won't change our kids, until their parents change.

By: SirKnight on 7/30/10 at 7:52

snookster, where do you get your facts?? This is the third time I've had to call you out on posting bad information in the last month. Tell me, please, what OTHER district did Eric Crafton serve as councilman other than his current one? I'll save you the trouble. The answer is, there is none! He served from 1995-99 in Dist. 22 and he is currently serving again in Dist. 22. His constituents obviously appreciate his dedication to his job as councilman, he loyalty to his constituents and unabashed willingness to challenge the old-school political machine we've had in this city for far too long.

Call him racist and 'short on common sense' is just playground speak. Back up your statements with facts, not your lame opinion!! Thank you.

By: SRJ on 7/30/10 at 8:28

Well, we all know that Eric Crafton is dishonest. He lied to the voters of Davidson County, about the identity of the group, who was funding his English Only "fiasco". Crafton was being funded by an Arlington, Virginia activist group. Meanwhile, he (Crafton) insisted the funding was coming from the pockets of local people only. I do not care how many Vanderbilt Degrees this man has. He (Crafton) has cost the tax-payers of Nashville over $400,000.00...and for what ? Crafton knew that this was a waste of time and the tax-payers money. I just do not know how anyone could cast a vote for this man. He (Crafton) is the laughing stock of Nashville.

By: bfra on 7/30/10 at 9:22

SRJ - No you are, if you believe all that crap you just posted!

By: SRJ on 7/30/10 at 10:20

bfra... This is all common knowledge. All factual information that has been printed and reprinted in every newspaper in Nashville.

By: on 7/30/10 at 10:27

No Anna3, Smith surly has something Crafton does not, a family history of good ol' boy politics. I think what we are seeing is the old Nashville politco machine try to flex it's muscle just one last time! Most of them are gone into the mist now but the ghosts of elections past are still stirring.

By: snookster on 7/30/10 at 10:46

Sir Knight -

Eric Crafton represented the 23rd council district from 1995-1999. You are right in that he has not serve four terms. He bowed out after one term when the 23rd district folks got a healthy recall petition going. He came back on in the 22nd district. Don't take my word for it go look it up. Crafton is a politician looking for his next paycheck with access to power.

By: bruingeek on 7/30/10 at 12:28

Sir Knight,
I will stand by my Crafton's "lack of common sense" comment as will the voters who defeated the English Only referendum and were then stuck with the bill to pay for it. How many other referendums are you willing to pay for on Mr. Crafton's behalf that run the risk of costing Nashville millions of dollars in revenue? Please, explain the common sense of such actions.

By: budlight on 7/30/10 at 2:45

I'm sure sorry bruingeek; we the tax payers' don't have the moola to support interpretors for all illegals. Usually legal people come here to become one of us in the U.S., not gang up against us.

So I support legal immigrants and helping them. BUT no, nada, neign, for illegals. Eric was thinking on the right tract.

By: Photodeluxe on 7/30/10 at 2:58

To Anna3, my agenda is to keep Eric Crafton far away from elected office. He may have some degrees, but lacks common sense and decency. The English Only thing is popular for ignorant racists, but all it does is keep people away from Tennessee. The Juvenile Court system is for the children of this state, child support, protection from abuse, etc. We need to keep racists away from this place. It is already a mess, why bring someone who's agenda is not about the job, but about pushing an Aryan society.

By: SirKnight on 7/30/10 at 5:38

Photo, call him a racist all you want, but that doesn't make you correct. He is no more racist than you are. English is a language, not a culture or a race.

snookster, I DID look it up. You are right. He took a break from politics ....just like many of us wish other career politicians would. Then he decided to get back in and the people WANTED him back. Is there something evil in wanting to serve the public more than once? I can find no record that he served the 23rd District, ever!

...and bruingeek, people have differing personal opinions of what is and what is not 'common sense'. So, it's pointless to even argue that. When Crafton filed for the English First referendum, he filed it by the required deadline so that it would be put on the regular November ballot in 2008. But, the election commission and Mayor Dean and his lawyers voided it on a small technicality and he and his staff had to then petition for a separate election to be held the following winter (if my memory is correct). Yes, THAT cost us all to have to hold the referendum all by itself. You blame little ol' Eric for this when you should be pointing a finger at his opponents who blocked his November referendum and forcing him to request a separate vote. It's amazing how people choose to ignore details.

By: SRJ on 7/30/10 at 6:10

Eric Crafton is the essence of Good Ole Boy politics. He is a career politician who is looking for another paycheck. Crafton is only using this position to jockey himself into the Mayor's office. Crafton has always wanted to be the Mayor of Nashville.

By: shef2 on 7/30/10 at 7:56

Right-wing, nut-job Republican... Hey, folks, doesn't that just about say it all-?

By: slzy on 7/30/10 at 8:09

it certainly says it all about chip forrester

By: govskeptic on 7/31/10 at 6:05

Crafton is by far the better qualified candidate in this race. The name calling of "ignorant and racist" is so old, especially from
a group who have only those remarks to use against their opponents!

By: budlight on 7/31/10 at 8:48

yes, gov, you are correct. Remember "liberal" is a proven mental disability and they need help.

By: Anna3 on 8/2/10 at 2:20

Editorial Correction...Craftons 22nd District is the old 23rd...redistricting renumbered the districts...but he's geographically speaking in the same area. All you name calling libs can squawk all you want but you intolerance for differing viewpoints which are conservative in particular belie your intellectual impotence.