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Tennessee Democratic Party removes state rep from ballot

April 8, 2020 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Democratic Party voted to remove a state representative from the party’s primary ballot over allegations that he had Republican donor financing and voted contrary to the party.

Rep. John DeBerry Jr. was removed from the August 2020 primary ballot in a 41-18 vote with two abstentions, news outlets reported. DeBerry has served as a Memphis Democrat for 26 years.

An April 1 complaint challenged DeBerry’s status as a Democrat. The letter accused DeBerry of voting against his caucus’s position and receiving donations from organizations and individuals who typically support only Republican candidates.

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DeBerry said he appreciated everyone who supported him during his time in the legislature. He also said he’s “conducted himself with integrity” and helped build “bridges across the aisle to get bills passed.”

“The Tennessee Democratic Party has decided that a 26-year representative that spent 12 years as a committee chairman ... is no longer a Democrat. And so, I’m not,” he said.

DeBerry, an ordained Church of Christ minister, said he’s always maintained an anti-abortion position, noting that he’s “never tried to hide” his stance.

He voted in support of a controversial bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, joining fellow Democratic Reps. John Mark Windle of Livingston and Joe Towns of Memphis in doing so.

DeBerry can appeal the vote. It’s unclear if he will.