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Jack Davis for Congress) Jack Davis for Congress)  

How alleged Tea Party fraud Jack Davis came to run as the ‘Tea Party’ candidate in NY’s 26th district special election

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

In the final week before the special election in New York’s 26th congressional district, conservative and Tea Party groups are swarming western New York to endorse the Republican candidate Jane Corwin and attack Jack Davis, the candidate for Congress running on the “Tea Party” ballot line, as a ‘fraud’ and a ‘phony.’ 

Rus Thompson of TEA New York, the most vocal of the Tea Party groups in the area, has already done both. Which begs the question: How did Jack Davis end up running as the “Tea Party” candidate in the first place?

First of all, New York’s election laws permit a candidate to establish and run on his or her own ballot line if he or she can obtain the requisite number of signatures. Davis did just that.

On one side of the Davis issue is the Tea Party Coalition, the group that recruited Davis to run on an independent line. The group is chaired by Allen Coniglio, and its members include James Ostrowski, Tony Matuszak, David DiPietro, and Roy Shearer.

On the other side of the debate is Thompson’s TEA New York.

Originally the groups were allied, but split in 2009 over disagreements about the direction of the movement.

“And the split’s never been healed,” said Tea Party Coalition’s Ostrowski. “It’s never going to be healed because too many nasty things have been said or done.”

On Thompson’s end, one of those nasty things is that they convinced Davis to run. Davis, as Thompson said, “has really thrown a wrench into things,” pulling so many votes away from Corwin that what was supposed to be an easy race for the Republicans became a very heated one.

For Davis’ supporters in the Tea Party Coalition, it is the other Tea Party groups that have abandoned their principles and allowed themselves to become synonymous with the Republican Party.

“The other part of the Tea Party up here – I don’t know if you even call them Tea Party anymore, they’re mainly Republicans,” said Coniglio.

“The Republicans have been trying to take it over and we are resisting,” he said. “The other group has pretty much already sold out.”

Thompson extended an invitation to Tea Party Express to come to the district to denounce Jack Davis and make clear that he is not a Tea Party candidate. The national Tea Party group held two press conferences Monday in support of Corwin.

But Coniglio called the group’s endorsement irrelevant.

“Tea Party Express is a Republican organization,” he said. “They’re funded by Republicans. The money they raise goes to the Republicans. I’m not impressed by anything they do.”

Coniglio and Ostrowski contend that Davis is a legitimate Tea Party candidate.

“There’s a massively false propaganda campaign against Jack Davis and the Tea Party,” said Ostrowski. “Almost everything they say about it him is false or taken out of context.”

“Jack Davis is somebody I’ve known for years,” said Ostrowski, who explained that he first met him at fundraiser in 2009.

“In comes Jack Davis,” he said. “He came in, he supported us.”

“Jane Corwin – she’s had no connection with us whatsoever,” he said, calling her a “machine Republican.”

“Now she claims she’s got a conservative record in the assembly. Well, the assembly doesn’t have any power,” he concluded.

  • Rickey Roma

    The Tea Party Coalition is now endorsing Ron Paul? Ugh, The Tea Party coalition is just a bunch of libertarians.  Ron Paul is unelectable because of his stance on drugs…. hardly a conservative position.  

    As far as the whole corwin debacle….the the tea Party coalition is right in saying that Corwin was just a Republican hack politician…but the time to argue and change that is in a primary..I know, I know the republicans picked Corwin behind closed doors and they got what they deserved..because they didnt listen to the people. So now we are stuck with a liberal like the Hokester…and we lost a republican seat in congress….So what can we learn in this?  The republicans and conservative parties better get their act together and listen to the people…we do not want back room deals, we do not want phoney conservative candidates…

    In the future…we need to come together during the primaries and get the best conservative candidate for the job..not the best connected to the party (look what happened to McCain and Dole and now Corwin).  Once we have a candidate we need to support that conservative… because a so- so conservative is still waaaaay better than a liberal any day (no matter how ‘nice’ Sandy Beach thinks she is).

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  • erisian

    Any Dem, with the voting history to match, claiming the TEA Party mantel over the established group is trying to pull a dirty operation. Those voters not totally aware (read 95% of those who go to the polls) will see TEA Party and think conservative movement.

    Bottom line, another Donk dirty trick to steal a lost election.

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  • ChickFight

    DAVIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN LIBERAL. PERIOD. Nothing else matters. That any Tea Party would endorse this nasty old lefty is incomprehensible, and frankly highly suspicious. I live in Western NY and Davis has always been a self centered, typical crusty politician. He’s not even a Republican for pete’s sake, let alone a Tea Party type. Give me a break. “false propaganda campaign against Jack Davis” MY ASS. The dude has a solid record of being a typical opportunist liberal Democrat! End of story. Real Tea Partiers generally don’t endorse old establishment guys – it’s pretty much what they’re against. If this liberal fossil wins because of a vague nod from this rogue ‘Tea Party’ group – that Tea Party group is the real fraud.

    Jane Corwin has always been on the right. See the difference?

  • gladius

    If anyone looks into Davis’s record you will see he voted for and contributed to Democrats. That tape of him hitting that guy with the camera and then laughing as his acquaintence pummels the guy even more is sure going to take him places. Right out of the race.

    • ChickFight

      Actually, Davis’ nut job people are blaming Corwin for that whole thing. The camera guy worked for Corwin, so apparently that’s Davis’ excuse to hit someone and sadistically smirk while doing it. I don’t know why they think that it’s relevant who it was getting beat on, as there was no provocation other than asking questions repeatedly [in a wimpy tone I might add]. But this is the same old slimy crap you get with any Democrat. Don’t be shocked if the SOB wins. People in Western NY are especially stupid and left leaning. This is Union & Welfare territory, and Davis is definitely a Union puppet.