Politics

‘Tea Party’ candidate in NY special election pays Democratic consulting firm to conduct survey

Jack Davis, who is running on the “Tea Party” ballot line in New York’s 26th District special election, paid Democratic consulting firm Zata|3 to conduct an automated push button survey for his campaign, according to FEC records.

Davis, who has run for the seat before on the Democratic ticket, has repeatedly insisted that he is not a Democrat, but a conservative who shares Tea Party values and who will caucus with Republicans if elected, despite Republican attempts to highlight his Democratic past.

But according to Zata|3’s website, Tea Party conservatives aren’t a clientele it usually serves.

“Zata|3,” says the website, “helps elect Democrats and advance progressive causes.” Former clients of the company include Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and President Barack Obama.

Republicans have been working hard to highlight Davis’ previous runs for the congressional seat as a Democrat and are showcasing statements he has made in support of President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The effort to brand Davis as a Democrat began in the past week or so, when polls showed Davis getting about a quarter of the vote, and taking votes away from the Republican candidate Jane Corwin.

Both American Crossroads and the National Republican Congressional Committee are currently running ads to that effect. Outside Tea Party groups have also entered the fray to attack Davis. Tea Party Express plans to endorse Corwin next week in order to stop Davis, whom they call a “fake Tea Party candidate,” from spoiling the race. FreedomWorks announced their endorsement of Corwin on Thursday. The local Tea Party group has already endorsed Corwin.

The disclosure of Davis’ involvement with Zata|3 seems likely to help the Republican effort to brand him as a Democrat.

A spokesperson for the Democratic candidate in the race, Kathy Hochul, however, said that the disclosure did not mean that he was a Democrat.

“The only thing I can speak to,” said Fabien Levy, “is he’s running on the Tea Party line. He registered Republican. Look at his record. Look at the first time he registered to vote … very clearly he registered as a Republican.”

Neither Zata|3 nor Jack Davis’ campaign responded to a request for comment.