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August 05, 2010

Confirmed: Democrats Planting Fake Tea Party Candidates On Ballot To Ensure Own Victory

"Fake" sometimes, or real but very fringey.

My fear about the Tea Party has always come down to just this, and the impulse of many who have fringey views -- and feel, then, not included in regular major party politics -- to use the banner of the "Tea Party" as a flag of convenience to get their not-taken-very-seriously ideas greater exposure. And for this sort of person, the fact that their candidacy insures a Democratic victory doesn't matter; for the fringe, there really is no difference between the parties worth considering.

So here's your slate of "Tea Party" candidates, put on the ballots by the Democrats who you know have your best interests at heart.

[E]vidence of campaign tampering in at least two states is hard to dismiss. In Michigan, the party chairman in suburban Detroit’s Oakland County now concedes that one of his top aides played a role in helping nine tea party candidates get onto the ballot for various offices across the state — including the open 1st Congressional District and the 7th Congressional District, held by vulnerable freshman Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer.

...

Recruitment of so-called straw candidates or spoilers is a time-honored, if less than reputable, tradition in American politics. But in this case, some Democrats appear to be in cahoots with ideological adversaries whose ideas they hope to use as weapons against Republicans in the fall.

Now, seven House seats are the subject of controversies that are spawning threats of lawsuits and criminal complaints and even pitting conservative tea party activists against one another.

One of those activists is Jim Schneller, who is running to fill the suburban Philadelphia-based seat left vacant by Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

The seat is among the Republicans’ top targets this fall, and the contest between Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz and Republican Pat Meehan is viewed as a tossup. The entry of a third- party candidate, however, could scramble that balance — which prompted Meehan’s campaign to scrutinize Schneller’s credentials.

According to its analysis, 3,800 of the 4,200 voter signatures gathered to put Schneller on the ballot were collected by Democrats. And among those who helped the tea party candidate are Colleen Guiney, the chairwoman of the Swarthmore Democratic Party and a Lentz supporter, and Nicholas Allred, who works for the Swarthmore College Democrats.

Bryan Kendro, Meehan’s campaign manager, accused Lentz’s backers of trying to “split the conservative vote by using Jim Schneller as nothing more than a prop.”

In an interview with POLITICO, Schneller said he’s been disappointed by the Republican assault on his legitimacy. “My signatures were gathered by volunteers,” said Schneller. “We didn’t go around screening signatures or signors.”

Schneller, who once filed a lawsuit to force President Obama to present his birth certificate, said he jumped into the race because he believes he can win it.

“Being someone who believes in the American system, it was difficult to hear people say that I was conniving or actually colluding or even show some disdain for the fact that the vote [margin] could be changed by my candidacy,” he said.

I can't take it with this birth certificate crap anymore.

I say that because I am just guessing here that he thinks giving that "issue" exposure is far more important than actual electoral politics. And, of course, he'll have 5% of the public agreeing with him and pulling that lever.

And won't that be wonderful.

It gets worse:

Yet after the POLITICO interview, a reporter with PoliticsPA presented the Meehan evidence to Schneller, and he took a different tone, calling it “dreadful. I regret that there might be some appearance of badness either to me or the Democrats.”

The secretary of state still must certify the Schneller petitions, and a Meehan spokesman said the campaign is still mulling a challenge.

Challenges already are being lodged against some of the 23 candidates running as part of the newly minted Tea Party of Michigan.

Even before the candidate roster was released last month, the suspicions of tea party activists had been aroused when they learned that the founding father of the new state party is Mark Steffek, a retired United Auto Workers steward.

Among the candidates under scrutiny now are two currently vying for House seats.

One is Danny Davis, a former soldier and police officer, who is running in a race that features a rematch between Schauer and Tim Walberg, the former GOP congressman he defeated in 2008 by just 7,432 votes — one of the closest races in the nation that year.

The Michigan Tea Party’s other House candidate is Lonny Lee Snyder, who is running for the Republican-leaning district of retiring Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak, whose vote in support of health care reform angered his base and prompted his retirement.

The race to succeed him is expected to be tight, which means Snyder’s third-party candidacy could have an impact. But there is scant information about the elusive candidate.

Snyder doesn’t have a website, the Tea Party headquarters didn’t release biographical information about his candidacy, and grass-roots tea party activists say they have never heard of him. When POLITICO called his home number, a man who answered said Snyder wasn’t home.

The mystery surrounding Snyder and other Michigan Tea Party candidates prompted some conservatives to do some digging. Jason Gillman, a local blogger with campaign experience, requested copies from state election officials of the “Affidavit of Identity” of all 23 candidates nominated by the new Tea Party.

As he perused them, Gillman noticed that nine of the affidavits were notarized by a person named Jason Bauer. When Gillman searched the name on the Internet, he discovered that Bauer worked for the Oakland County Democratic Party — information he quickly disseminated to the local news media and the conservative think tank Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

As questions mushroomed, Steffek, the retired UAW steward, gave an interview to the local media, asserting that his new party and candidates are legitimate and his intentions pure. He said he joined the Tea Party ranks because of his disgust with big government and opposition to free-trade agreements.

Gillman isn’t buying it.

Neither am I.

Know who you're voting for. I'll tell ya that. Know who you're voting for. The "Tea Party" label means even less than the Republican Party label -- at least you know that actual Republicans incorporated the local Republican Party.

You don't know that about any of these so-called "Tea Party" parties popping up coincidentally enough to field candidates in districts where the Democrats are in trouble.

There's more at the article, too -- but I can't excerpt it all. In Florida and NJ too, candidates who until recently were registered Democrats are suddenly fired-up "Tea Party" candidates.


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posted by Ace at 05:17 PM

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