And it happened again.
Another obscure individual unknown to active Tea Partiers forms a third party, calls it the official Tea Party of the state and then the accusations fly that the effort is nothing but a Democratic ploy to siphon votes away from Republicans.
Take Mark Steffek, who is leading the newly formed Tea Party in Michigan, as the most recent example. He’s running 23 candidates — none of whom appear well-known among the actual Tea Party community — in competitive races where a third party presence could affect the outcome.
So who is Steffek? The leader of the newly created third party, who has mostly shied away from the local media and won’t disclose the source of the party’s funding, is a retired UAW shop steward. Yes, the leader of the official Tea Party in Michigan is from a union.
In Florida, Fred O’Neal, founder of the Florida Tea Party, has been accused of running candidates to hurt Republicans, and Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson has been connected to “Tea Party” third party candidates in the state.
In Nevada, after Scott Ashjian announced his “Tea Party” candidacy, he was accused of being a fraud trying to help Democrat Sen. Harry Reid win reelection. The Tea Party Express, a national group, has run television commercials calling Ashjian a phony.
As for all the talk when the Tea Party movement burst onto the scene last year that the activists would form a third party, that just does not appear to be happening. Most activists with Tea Party support are running as Republicans, and with the exception of a small few, most third party Tea Party candidates are viewed as fakes.
“The Tea Party monicker is a misnomer,” Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia told The Daily Caller. “This is not a party but rather a faction of one party.”
“There are very, very few significant Tea Party candidates filing outside of GOP primaries,” he said.
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