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I posted this diary last night regarding a conspiracy theorist, gay-hating teabagger's victory in Tennessee's Dem primary this past Thurday. I thought that was bad. But it gets worse.

In the comments section a truly disgusting fact about one of the losing candidates was brought to light.

While he came in last, Thomas Ken (T.K) Owens, who had been arrested for soliciting oral sex fron a 7 year old in May 2011, apparantly decided that was not reason enough to keep him from running for one of the nation's highest offices. And apparently the party has no background checks in place to catch this kind of shit.

East Tennessee candidate for U.S. Senate faces child sex charge

Authorities say the alleged incident occurred in Carter County in May 2011, when a seven-year-old girl riding her bike in front of the apartment of Thomas Ken "T.K." Owens was invited inside.

The 36-year-old then allegedly hugged the girl, unzipped his pants, and asked her to perform a sex act. The girl ran home and told her mother, who notified police.

Owens told investigators the girl had been in his apartment. As for the allegation, he said, "I have a problem with that," but did not elaborate.

How the hell was this guy allowed on the ballot? What the hell is going on with the Tennessee Democratic Party and/or the DNC? It doesn't matter that the guy lost or that he never had a chance. We cannot be having sex offenders on our ballots. We just cannot. Surely there must be steps that can be taken to make sure this doesn't happen in the future. Perhaps Tree Climbers might have some suggestions.

It seems the Democratic Party should implement a policy in every state that all candidates, at minimum for all federal office, preferably for all offices period, must submit themselves to a criminal background check.Time to take a basic step toward getting our house in order. The least we can do is not run fucking child molesters for god's sake.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:42:14 AM PDT

  •  He didn't need permission from the (5+ / 0-)

    Democrats to run in a primary.

    As a matter of fact, the DNC has denounced the guy that did win and has encouraged write in's for anyone other than the candidate the general election.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:48:09 AM PDT

    •  I'm aware of the TDC/DNC position on Clayton. (4+ / 0-)

      But seriously? The Party has no way of preventing a know pedophile from running in our primaries? If that is the case, then I'd like to think that is something that can be changed. And don't get me wrong, I'm not a rabid pedophile hater who wants to see them all locked away forever or executed, tho kept away from children for the rest of their lives, yes. But we can't be having them run for office. That's just nuts. Do you disagree?

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:56:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  state election law (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JTinDC, Zack from the SFV

        what you are suggesting is the law mandate a designated head of party must sign off for a candidate to be placed on the primary ballot. I wonder if this has ever been tried.

        •  If it hasn't been tried, it sure needs to be. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice

          And if successful it would solve more problems than keeping pedophiles and felons off our ballots. It would address GOP chicanery, their bullshit tricks of running fake Dems.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:38:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Zack from the SFV

            Let the party bosses decide who will be on the ballot.

            sarcasm on

            Absolutely brilliant.

            Just think.  That dude who wanted to challenge Senator Lieberman in the 2006 primary -- no way.  Those antiwar who want to run for partisan office in 1968 and 1970---tell them to switch to their natural party and run as the Commies they are.  That ultraright kook who wants to challenge the sainted Senator Lugar -- he can go fly a kite.

            sarcasm off

            I write as a former State Chair of my party.

            Fortunately, I live in Massachusetts, a state where the people of each party get to decide who their candidate will be.

            We can have change for the better.

            by phillies on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:15:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Off topic but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JTinDC

        I wonder how you would keep them away from children for the rest of their lives if they are not locked up? This isn't a rhetorical question. How would it be done?

        •  It would require close supervision (0+ / 0-)

          at the very least. Perhaps the best option would be state facilities, group homes located away from schools, residents only go out in supervised groups. It  could be done, but there would be some expense involved, but first and foremost, there has to be the will and compassion to make it work and I don't know that we'll ever have enough of those two vital elements.

          I'm amazed at how the bleedingest of bleeding hearts dries right up when it comes to pedophiles. Pedophiles have an illness. I thought people with illnesses were deserving of at least some minimal level of compassion. Guess not as far as some are concerned.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:35:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have enormous (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JTinDC

            compassion for pedophiles. Believe me. I just wondered how you thought they could be kept away from children without being locked up.

            •  I guess to a certain extent they do need to be (0+ / 0-)

              locked up, just not in prison. But I draw a distinction between pedophiles who desire a loving relationship with kids and just don't get how damaging it is to kids and pedophiles who act violently and/or murderously to kids. Those guys need to be in prison. That's where my bleeding heart starts to dry up. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does.

              Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

              by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:12:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I live in TN (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JTinDC

                so this development in the Democratic party here is important to me, and I feel like I'm getting off topic from the original point of your diary which makes me uncomfortable about continuing our conversation.
                That said, there are certainly degrees of violence, but desiring a loving relationship with a child that involves sexual activity is to commit violence on the child whether the perpetrator sees it that way or not. The body of the child is violated. It is a physical act that causes serious damage.
                In any case, this guy being on the ballot in TN is wretched.

  •  This is what happens (8+ / 0-)

    when a state central committee is asleep at the switch..  

    There should have been sample ballots, emails with giant "Warning" headlines, tweets and every other kind of warning.  There was virtual silence.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:33:46 AM PDT

    •  It seems to me that Schumer, as soon as he was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, wilderness voice

      named DSCC, should have been in touch with Party chairs of each applicable state and ask them who they are looking at fielding, what are the candidates' profiles, who needs to be weeded out to avoid this split ticket shit, who needs to be weeded out because they're a goddamn pervert, you know, things of that nature would seem to be among the basic responsibilities of the DSCC. This is Schumer's fuck up.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:49:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Partly (4+ / 0-)

        but the State Party bears greater responsibility, IMHO.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:38:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unless I'm mistaken, a background check can be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk

          run on someone without their permission. DNC or TDP should have caught this given the liklihood it was not his first offense. They should just start doing it. They don't even have to change state election laws. And if something shows up, approach the candidate.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:49:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me tell you how bad it was (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sow hat, Sandy on Signal, JTinDC

            there were plenty of people who didn't know there was anyone in that primary at all except Park Overall.  Running background checks is good, telling the electorate there's an actual contest is crucial.  No actual contest, no reason to go out.

            If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

            by marykk on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:23:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Here are a few facts. (6+ / 0-)

    From the state website, here is how a candidate gets on the ballot.

    1. Qualifications. To seek or hold the office of United States Senator, a person must be at least 30 years of age, a citizen of the United States for 9 years, and a Tennessee resident.
    2. Qualifying Petition. Candidates may obtain a nominating petition from a county election commission office or the office of the Coordinator of Elections. Petitions may be obtained no more than 90 days before the qualifying deadline date. Therefore, petitions may be issued after February 6, 2012. Each page of the petition issued must be signed by the candidate and an election official and may not be photocopied. Additional pages may be obtained as necessary.
    3. Voters' Signatures. The nominating petition must be signed by at least twenty-five (25) voters who are registered anywhere in Tennessee, and the candidate. The signature of the candidate does not count towards the required twenty-five (25) signatures. Each voter who signs the petition must also supply their residence address as it appears on their voter registration records.
    4. Filing deadline. Primary candidates must file their nominating petitions no later
    It is easy to get on the ballot.  I have no idea what process there might be for a party to get a candidate off the ballot.  While that may seem desirable, I can think of too many ways to abuse such process.

    A second fact, from the article linked in the diary:

    The Carter County Grand Jury indicted Owens on May 14, according to the Elizabethton Star. He is out of jail on bond.
    This means he was on the ballot before he was indicted.

    Yes, it is  a shame that this happened.  Yes, the state Democratic party is in shambles ( I live in Tennessee).  It is a bigger shame the primary nominated a member of a hate group.  I planned to vote for Park Overall all along and did, so I paid no significant attention to the other six candidates - shame on me.

    Still, I don't think keeping him off the ballot was a possibility, and party officials are not dupposed to advocate for or against candidates in the primary.  More than anybody else, it was the news media in Tennessee that failed on this one.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:41:23 AM PDT

    •  I stand by my position that a criminal background (0+ / 0-)

      check should be added as a new requirement and here's why.

      First, if there's anything in somebody's past, best to get it out in the open in the first place.

      Second, with specific regard to Owens, yes, he was already on the ballot before this incident, but I suspect if we were to dig deeper, knowing what we know to be typical of pedphiles, and given that Owens himself said, "I have a problem with that", this was obviously not a first offense. So had a background check been required to get on the ballot, it is possible if not likely it would have prevented him from getting on the ballot in the first place.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:07:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you want to do this, do it (0+ / 0-)

        You can do it yourself for as many candidates as you want.

        We can have change for the better.

        by phillies on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:17:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why, as a former state party chair, don't you (0+ / 0-)

          care more about the idea that we could end up with a pedophile as a candidate, hell, not just a candidate, a duly elected official? Should I care less?

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 12:13:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I observe (0+ / 0-)

            That the election process generally seems to lead to the outcome that this does not happen very often.  

            Furthermore, I actually believe in elections.  If the voters note that X has an inclination for very young women but is solving major national issues it is their privilege, not the privilege of some collection of corrupt party bosses, to decide which part of the candidate's record is more important.  I want that choice to be up to the voter, not to, for example, some group of Southern good old boys who decide that members of party Z should be excluded from the ballot.

            I can see places around the world where the party leaders or some other group decide who is allowed to run for office.  The outcomes are terrible.

            Finally, I firmly believe in the idea that there should be penalties other than civic death for felonies, namely "You did your time, you are allowed back to society."  The alternative to that is the one we see in our inner cities where young men of all races pile up for themselves a criminal record at sixteen and are shut out of the economy when they are sixty.  That is a bomb waiting to explode.

            We can have change for the better.

            by phillies on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 09:06:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  At the time he was put on the ballot, he had only (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice

        been charged, and even at this point, he has only been indicted.

        So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

        by illinifan17 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:51:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  being a sex offender is an equal opportunity (0+ / 0-)

    vice when it comes to both major political parties. The Republicans aren't without their share of convicted sex offenders.

  •  Let 'em run & let 'em vote, I say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    By “'em” I mean any citizen that is old enough. I actually think that depriving people of their right to participate in the electoral process, even people actually serving time in prison and certainly people who have been released from prison, is undemocratic.

    On the other hand, this certainly underscores the importance of an informed electorate.

  •  TN needs to start a write in campaign for a Dem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC

    like yesterday.  I mean it.  Give us a name and let's make this happen.  Because doing nothing is unacceptable.

    And ...and TN Dems make sure this never happens again.  

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