Republicans, once ecstatic about the energy generated by the 2009 anti-spending tea party uprising, are growing increasingly uneasy about the impact in 2012 of a movement that seems beyond the control of anyone, including its own leaders.
“The fact that the grass-roots movement is somewhat leaderless is one of its strengths, but it also makes the movement susceptible to individuals or groups co-opting the ‘tea party label in inappropriate and damaging ways, like we saw in the May 24 New York 26th [Congressional] District special election.”
In interviews with The Washington Times, Republicans said they see two problems ahead.
One is that Democrats benefit from fake tea party candidates siphoning crucial votes from a Republican candidate.
The other is the ongoing tendency of the Republican establishment to invite tea party rebellions by picking more-liberal candidates, such as Dede Scozzafava, who lost another Republican-leaning New York congressional district in a special election in 2009.
Millionaire Jack Davis drained votes from Mrs. Corwin by spending $3 million of his own money to gather enough petition signatures to get himself on the ballot identified as the “tea party” candidate, despite a history of running as a Democrat and his liberal stances on spending and other key tea party issues.
“The local Republican Party in that district should have reached out to tea party types to make sure Davis, who got 9 percent of the vote, didn’t get the traction he needed in order to get that 9 percent,” longtime Republican campaign consultant Kenny Klinge said.View Entire Story
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Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
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