Tennessee Democratic Party chair says Luttrell posing as Democrat

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Tennessee State Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester accused Shelby County mayoral candidate Mark Luttrell of posing as a Democrat to get more votes.

There are more Democrats in Memphis and Shelby County than Republicans.  Forrester said Luttrell is hiding the fact that he is a hardcore Republican.

"He's attempting to paint himself as moderate and I'm here to call that out," Forrester said.  "He is a Republican and he's managed to confuse people that he's not."

Forrester said Luttrell is keeping his Republican roots low key so more Democrats will vote for him.

Luttrell said by phone that Forrester's comments are purely political.  He said the county needs someone who can reach across party and racial lines to work with the entire community.

"He's for privatization.  He's for building bigger jails," Forrester said.  "He's not about the values we have as Democrats and so, as the Democratic Party chair, I want to bring that out."

Luttrell said he fought against privatization, but Forrester was not done.

"He also pals up with people," Forrester said.  "Sarah Palin.  I don't think there's anyone more right wing or more divisive in modern day politics."

Luttrell countered and said he never campaigned for Palin.  He said he will continue to run a campaign that does not emphasize partisanship.

"He'll be a part of big business, he'll be a part of big oil, he'll be a part of the decisions that are made at the top among the people who control the money," Forrester said.  "He's not about worrying about working men and working women."

Luttrell said he wants to stimulate the economy, fight crime and save The MED from its financial woes.

"I'm not even sure he understands the complexity of The MED issue," Forrester said.  "That's a critical health care provider for this community."

Luttrell faces off against Democrat Joe Ford in the August primary.

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