TheDC Election Outlook: The latest buzz in the Tea Party races

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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October brings surprises for Jack Conway. A former NFL player says the Tea Party candidate in his race is a Democratic plant. The Tea Party Express is now opposing the token Democrat they once supported. And Tom Tancredo could become a governor.

Of the midterm races with interesting Tea Party components, here’s the latest buzz with just one week to go until Election Day:

Jack Conway’s October surprises

Did the ad stop Jack Conway’s momentum in the Kentucky U.S. Senate race?

If Conway doesn’t beat the Tea Party-backed Rand Paul next Tuesday, don’t be surprised if the post-mortems blame the backlash from his recent TV ad that attacks Paul over his college years and appears to question Paul’s religious faith.

As for whether the ad is turning off voters down in Kentucky, Politics Daily’s Walter Shapiro traveled to McKinley’s Deli in Shelbyville, Ky., where most voters he talked to said the ad was a turnoff. “The ad’s pushing me towards Rand Paul,” said Karen Crouch, a secretary for the local school system. “It’s such a personal attack and he did it because Rand Paul had a lead in this race. Conway’s desperate.”

The disgust appears to be backed up by the numbers. NBC published a poll commissioned by Paul’s campaign that says 70 percent of Kentucky voters think the “Aqua Buddha” ad went too far.

Another October surprise for Conway that surfaced this weekend was news that his brother — under investigation this summer for drugs — benefited from hearing about the secret investigation from law enforcement agents. In addition to being tipped off by two police officers, the story claims that when a source told Conway — the state’s top law enforcement official — that investigators were looking into whether his brother was involved with drug trafficking, he met with his brother and helped him find a lawyer.

Expect Conway to be asked about his involvement in warning his brother about the investigation when he and Paul face-off in a debate tonight.

Former NFL player trying to sack fake Tea Party candidate

In the tight New Jersey third district congressional race, former NFL player Jon Runyan, a Republican, is accusing the Democratic incumbent he’s challenging of putting up a fake independent Tea Party candidate.

Runyan suggests that freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler is behind independent candidate Peter DeStefano, alleged to be a plant meant to siphon votes from the Republican.

State Republicans filed an FEC complaint last week over it. “It appears that John Adler and his cronies have flouted the law in an attempt to defraud voters,” said Republican State Chairman Jay Webber. “So the federal authorities should step in and make John Adler finally answer questions that he’s been ducking for a week now.”

Tea Party Express finally backs Republican in Idaho race

The Tea Party Express (TPX) stirred up a lot of people earlier this year when they endorsed a Democrat, the moderate Rep. Walt Minnick, in Idaho. But Minnick later turned down the endorsement after a spokesman for the organization resigned from TPX after making racial remarks.

So now, the Tea Party Express is endorsing Minnick’s Republican rival, Raul Labrador.

Levi Russell, a spokesman for the group, explained that the group soured on Minnick because the Democrat has since “engaged in a pattern of behavior which shows he is more responsive to the Democrat Party’s establishment than he is the voters of Idaho.”

“The Tea Party Express has spent the past three month’s evaluating Congressman Minnick’s disappointing behavior, and in light of his errant actions we are announcing that we are joining the Boise Tea Party and endorsing Raul Labrador for Congress in the General Election,” he said.
Tancredo continues to surge in Colorado

As the Los Angeles Times reports, a “little more than a week out from election day, it’s possible to imagine a [Tom] Tancredo governorship.”

Tancredo, the former congressman who is becoming the de-facto GOP candidate in the race as Republicans ditch Dan Maes for him, is trailing the Democrat in the race by just four points, according to a poll last week. Tancredo is officially running as a candidate from the Constitution Party.

“Momentum is on our side,” Tancredo said. “That’s the most powerful thing in any campaign I’ve been involved in.”

Rick Scott bails on Palin

When Sarah Palin headlined a Florida GOP rally this weekend, the state’s GOP gubernatorial candidate was noticeably absent.

As the Miami Herald reported, Republican Rick Scott couldn’t make it, citing a previously scheduled barbeque in Jacksonville.

His opponent from the bitter GOP primary, Bill McCollum, did attend.

Polls show Scott running neck to neck with Democrat Alex Sink.

Judge orders release of Joe Miller docs

Joe Miller’s personnel files from when he worked at the Fairbanks North Star Borough will be released, an Alaska judge has ruled.

Several media outlets sued for the documents in hopes that they will shed more light on whether Miller, the Tea Party-backed attorney running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate, used the office’s equipment for campaign work.

Miller is locked in the Senate race with write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski. Polls show Democrat Scott McAdams trailing both.