Candidate claims he's victim of dirty politicking

(click here to watch a video of this story)

A candidate for Metro Council claims someone is going to extreme measures to ruin his name and his campaign.

Metro Council District 11 candidate Johnny Ellis said someone is going to great lengths to target him, including stealing hundreds of newspapers and printing and delivering fliers.

Someone crept along the streets of Old Hickory, distributing fliers inside newspapers to 150 homes.

The flier contained information about Out and About Newspaper's endorsement of Ellis. It also said to "see what these radical gay groups want to teach Old Hickory children," Ellis said, reading from the flier.

"We think it's important for our community as a voting block, to at least know where the candidates stand on all the issues," said Out & About publisher Jerry Jones.

Ellis believes someone is trying to use the gay newspaper's endorsement against him.

"I think that there is a clear implication that it implies I want to teach gay lifestyle in our elementary schools," Ellis said.

Ellis unknowingly earned the endorsement after he filled out a questionnaire for the Tennessee Equality Project, a statewide organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"I said I promote the right of anybody to participate in the political process, no matter what their race is, their religious affiliation or their sexual orientation," Ellis said.

Out & About isn't losing sleep over this, but could this hurt Ellis' campaign?

"These are scare tactics, and they are trying to scare people away from voting for these people who may be open minded or open to equality issues," Jones said. "In this case, it wasn't necessarily a fair tactic, but I don't think it's going to hurt either candidate."

"I think someone who wanted to try and disparage my character anonymously is a coward for doing so," Ellis said.

Ellis is running for the District 11 seat against Ricky McClintock and Darren Jernigan.

No one is claiming responsibility for passing out the fliers.

After what happened, Ellis passed out his own fliers that explained his views on gay and lesbian issues.

Out & About Newspaper also endorsed David Briley for Nashville mayor and Diane Neighbors for vice mayor.

Early voting ends Saturday for the Metro General Election.

Election Day is Aug. 2.

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