Texas Tea, A Bitter Cup of Defeat

Though one can't discount the fact the Deborah Medina, the Texas businesswoman turned Tea Party candidate for Governor, received over 272,000 votes, good enough for a 19 percent share, in yesterday's election, there were other races in which the Tea Partiers fielded candidates. The "Take Back America" crowd got left behind at the polls. None fared especially well.

Over in the Texas 12th Congressional District that encompasses Fort Worth, Congresswoman Kay Granger, a seven-term incumbent, had drawn two primary challengers both claiming to have Tea Party support. When all was said and done, Congresswoman Granger defeated anti-abortion candidate Mike Brasovan and north Fort Worth wholesale grocer Matthew Kelly by winning 70 percent of the vote.

Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram sheds light on a Tea Party candidate who imploded in a race for the Texas legislature.

The Tea Parties' best chance for a victory was in Burleson, where candidate Darren Yancy was supposed to walk into the Texas Senate after incumbent state Sen. Kip Averitt came down sick and couldn't campaign. Yet Yancy self-destructed.

Voters learned he was suspended as an "untrustworthy" real estate agent by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

He had to explain suing Burleson and a local youth league for $500,000 over a baseball scrap.

He told radio listeners that ACORN wanted to defeat him and that he expects to get "national attention."

He called for shooting illegal immigrants at the border but said he's pro-life.

Oh, and he consistently misspelled Waco's McLennan County as McClennan. Voters were choosing Averitt in early returns.

Looks like the Tea Parties got iced.

It was bitter cup of Texas Tea served yesterday. No incumbent GOP House member in the Texas delegation was seriously imperiled by any of their grassroots über-conservative Tea Party challengers. Their best effort came in the Texas Fourth Congressional District in the northeastern part of the state against the former Blue Dog Democrat turned Republican Ralph Hall where Congressman Hall eked out a 33 point margin win. From the Dallas Morning News

The North Texas congressional delegation held off challenges in Republican primaries, many beating back Tea Party opponents.

And 86-year-old U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, beat five contenders in his bid for a 16th term representing Rockwall County, part of Collin County and northeast Texas.

Hall’s closest challenger was Steve Clark of Heath, who spent more than $300,000 of his own money through mid-February. This was one of the closest primaries in recent years for Hall, who switched parties before the 2004 primary.

“The difference was, I’ve been on the floor of the House till midnight every night working against that health care bill,” Hall said. “I’ve had to be up there doing my job. I was afraid this time.”

Clark tried to appeal to Tea Party voters, as did another challenger, Jerry Ray Hall, who filed to run as “Jerry Ray (Tea) Hall.” Clark said he and Ralph Hall aligned on most issues. But he said it is time for Hall, the oldest member of the House, to step aside.

Rep. Pete Sessions, who leads Republicans’ congressional election efforts, trounced a Tea Party-identified candidate, financial analyst David Smith.

Smith billed himself as “the constitutional conservative candidate” and hammered Sessions on votes for the 2008 bank bailout and Sessions’ support of a moderate candidate in a New York special congressional election last year.

Dallas Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson now tells us that it wasn't about winning elections. “Our job is to educate people and to get people to the polls,” he said. “We tell everybody to look at the candidates. If the incumbent is the right person, then vote for him.”

Tags: Tea Party Nation, Texas primary, Texas politics (all tags)




Its a stretch to believe that any of the Tea Party candidates would win. The real question is whether they vote in the GE, and if so, for Republicans in strong majorities. If the answer is yes, and 90-10, its pretty bad news for Dems. What they are looking for is a populist message, and getting that down from 90-10 is going to be part of the Dems task in competitive GE's, because the Tea Party voters do represent a number of components that make up Independent voters-- not all of them (Nate Silver once had a terrific breakdown of Indy voters), but there are many who are up not sold on Republicans, and part of the strategy is making sure that they do not vote totally Republican in the GE.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-03 10:31AM | 0 recs
RE: stretch

This is like saying the Republicans need to become competitive among Iraq War protestors.  Tea Partiers are not swing voters, they are not some group of energized new voters who are in play for both sides.  They are, by no small coincidence, as loyally Republican as the viewership of Fox News.

Remember the 52 percent of Tea Party activists who initially identify as independent? It turns out that virtually all of them lean Republican. According to CNN, 88 percent of the activists identify or lean Republican, 6 percent identify or lean Democratic and only 5 percent fall into the pure independent category.

Remember that CNN pollster Holland reported that 87 percent of the Tea Party activists would vote Republican if there were no Tea Party-endorsed third-party candidate running? That makes perfect sense for a group that is 88 percent Republican.

Holland said that the 52 percent independent number is "slightly misleading." Sides said via e-mail that he considers it "highly misleading," since most independent leaners vote loyally for their party, even among the Tea Party activists identified in their survey. That "the Tea Party activists are mostly composed of Republicans, not independents," he writes, "combined with the relatively small number of activists, may hamper the electoral prospects of any Tea Party candidates."


by Steve M 2010-03-03 03:51PM | 0 recs
RE: stretch

Ah, what did I say Steve?  I said if it goes 90-10 against Dems, its bad nows. The goal would be to get below that number.

Holland's point has been made by others previously, that many Indy's lean. But, I do think that the number of Indy's that would go either way is also increasing.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-03 04:30PM | 0 recs
"Tea Partiers are unusually angry Republicans"

What part of that statement isn't true?  The danger to the Repubs is that they pull them too far to the Right.  My money is still with Perry in Texas, but in many states being that looney has real electoral consequences.  I'm not trying to be pollyannish, but this whole Tea Party thing seems blown enormously out of proportion.

by the mollusk 2010-03-03 11:04AM | 0 recs


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