For the second time in a row, Congressman John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., is running for re-election against an opponent lacking the endorsement of the primary chapter of the Democratic party within the contested district.
John Greene, of 710 O'Grady Drive in Chattanooga, is running on the Democratic ticket while working in collusion with the Duncan re-election campaign, Jim Gray, chair of the Democratic Party of Knox County, said on Tuesday.
"I think this is a ... candidate put up by Duncan ... so that he can say he has an opponent," Gray said. "This is just smoke and mirrors."
Greene refuted the allegations in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
"That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life," he said. "I have never even spoken to Duncan."
Darrell Akins, treasurer of Duncan's re-election campaign, also discounted the allegations.
"That is outlandish," Akins said. "That is probably the most preposterous and irresponsible statement I have heard from a person of responsibility within a campaign."
Gray's statement is "self-indicting," he said.
"Congressman Duncan is up for re-election and it is up to the Democrats to nominate and promote a candidate," Akins said.
But as the sole Democratic candidate, Greene has few ties to the party and has said he refuses to adopt the party's ideology.
Born in 1967 in Whitwell, Tenn., Greene is a married warehouse worker, a private nonpartisan Web site, http://www.congress.org, said. He holds a high school diploma, and has no previous political experience, the site said.
Greene ran against Duncan in 2002. He was handily defeated, conceding almost 80 percent of the vote. Now he is back and again lacks the endorsement of the Democratic Party of Knox County.
Greene has made no effort to contact the leaders of the Democratic Party of Knox County, Gray said.
"This is the second time this has happened," he said. "Nobody heard from him two years ago and nobody has heard from him this year."
The responsibility for the absolute lack of communication belongs to Gray, Greene said.
"He has my phone number and if he wants to call me, he can," he said.
Greene's locale and his low-key campaign could be indicative of foul play, Gray said. Greene lives outside of the contested district and his campaign lacks a Web site. The telephone number purportedly belonging to Greene is answered by a machine that solicits a message in a robotic voice. The machine mentions neither Greene nor his campaign.
Complicating matters, Greene said that, if elected, he would not be bound by the ideology of the Democratic party.
"I won't be controlled by any party," he said.
Greene said that his campaign is hindered by a lack of funds.
"I am running this campaign under $5,000," he said. "And I have not taken one penny of political action committee money."
If elected, Greene would have to move from Chattanooga to Knoxville.