With the success of the biggest fundraiser of the year at stake, Chattanooga democrats are divided over how to deal with controversial chairman Paul Smith.
By now, you've probably heard that Smith printed a joke in a party publication that ends with the line: "just don't let the four women know about each other."
It's caused a major split in the local party, with many calling on Smith to step down.
STUART JAMES, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN "I think he's just flat-ass wrong, I probably shouldn't say that word on TV, but I think he is and that's the best way to describe it."
Chairman Paul Smith tells WDEF News 12 by phone that he has no plans at present to resign his position, and doesn't feel he should say anything about the simmering controversy over what some call a"sexist" joke at a party meeting.
But some long-time leaders are demanding that he step down before the annual Kefauver dinner in October.
CHRIS ANDERSON, CANDIDATE FOR CITY COUNCIL "I was rightfully offended like a lot of people. I'm not going to the dinner..what I'm going to do is donate the amount of two tickets to a female house candidate instead."
Anderson picked up papers at the election headquarters to run against Manny Rico in district 7 next March.
JODA THONGNOPNUA, BOARD MEMBER "I think it is disappointing that's supposed to be championing the values of equality..not standing up for those same values."
Sandy Lusk, who deals with women's issues, doesn't see any reason for the party schism.
SANDY LUSK, DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADER " I didn't find it sexist, and I call out sexism on just about everything." "I know Paul did not intend to hurt anybody or to slam women."
STUART JAMES "All he had to do, in my political experience, is to do one thing-- say I'm sorry, I know its wrong, here's what I really think."
As for the Kefauver Dinner, Sandy Lusk says the controversy is not hurting fund raising.
SANDY LUSK, BOARD MEMBER "Oh, no, we're making more money than we had at this time last year...we have a good crowd coming."
Paul Smith hinted to us that there may be a meeting called before the dinner to discuss the matter.
No board member we spoke with knew anything about that.