- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Freak lightning storm kills 1, injures many on California beach
- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
New party brings its own ‘tea’ to election
Question of the Day
Is the Nevada Tea Party and its newly minted third-party status for real?
Critics say the party, which already has a candidate for Senate, doesn’t have any connection to the state’s “tea party” movement and looks like an attempt to draw votes from Republicans, thereby aiding embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his re-election bid.
The party filed a constitution, bylaws and list of officers Jan. 28 with the Nevada secretary of state’s office. The party also has collected the 250 signatures necessary to place Jon Ashjian on the November ballot as a candidate for the seat now held by Mr. Reid, said Nevada secretary of state spokeswoman Pam duPre.
All this came as a shock to Frank Ricotta, a Las Vegas pharmacist and one of the founding members of the state’s tea party movement. Not only was he unaware of any plans to form a third party, he also didn’t know any of the 10 people on the party’s executive committee.
“I talked to some of our people in the north, and none of us recognized any of the names on the filing,” said Mr. Ricotta, whose group Nevada Patriots is part of the Nevada Leaders Coalition, a tea party movement umbrella group.
“We never heard anything about it and the names are totally foreign to everyone I’ve spoken to, and I probably know everyone involved in the tea party in Nevada, and certainly in Clark County,” said Mr. Ricotta. “So we are very concerned about what this Tea Party is, who’s behind it, and what is their purpose.”
Republicans have their own theory about the party’s purpose: to boost Mr. Reid’s chances in November by drawing votes from the Republican candidate who emerges from its June primary.
Polls show Mr. Reid, a Democrat, trailing the leading Republican candidates, former state Sen. Sue Lowden and small-business owner Danny Tarkanian, by about 10 percentage points in head-to-head matchups. Only about a third of Nevada voters view the four-term incumbent favorably, while more than half view him unfavorably, according to a recent Research 2000 survey.
Even so, Mr. Reid is known as a scrappy campaigner who’s all but certain to have the financial edge. In a tight contest, a Tea Party candidate who wins even 3 percent to 4 percent of the vote could tip the race to the Democrat.
“I think this is just an attempt, a blatant attempt, to split up the tea party [movement] vote, and if they really believe these people are that stupid, good luck,” said Bob Ruckman, Clark County Republican Party chairman.
Lowden campaign manager Robert Uithoven said that, based on his candidate’s experience at tea party functions, he found it impossible to imagine a genuine activist doing anything that could benefit Mr. Reid.
“I can say, having attended many tea party [movement] events, that this completely contradicts everything we’ve heard at every tea party function, which is to get rid of Harry Reid,” said Mr. Uithoven. “This makes a huge difference, having a group on the ballot that can take votes from the eventual Republican nominee.”
The Tea Party of Nevada isn’t easy to reach. The party didn’t issue a press release at its launch and appears to have no Web site. The sole phone number listed in its filing is for Las Vegas lawyer Barry Levinson, named as the party’s secretary, but a receptionist at his office said, “He’s not making any comments at this time.”
The only reporter with access to the party appears to be Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston, who broke the story of the party’s filing. Asked whether the TPN was a legitimate party, Mr. Levinson told the Sun, “It’s real,” and “Harry Reid had nothing to do with it.”
The Reid campaign did not return a phone call from a reporter.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Westerners call for oversight to combat federal land managers
- Protesters rally in Colorado to support Israel's fight with Hamas
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's trial to test definitions of political corruption
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq