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August 21st, 2010 2:32 pm
Third Place Tea Party Candidate Making Life Difficult for Republican Nominee

Former NFL player and third place U.S. Senate candidate Clint Didier isn’t ready to ask his fellow Tea Party members to back Republican nominee Dino Rossi.  After a closed door session with Rossi, Didier emerged unconvinced that Rossi – a two-time Washington gubernatorial runner-up – is committed to any specific policy positions.

One could make the argument that Didier’s explicit positions on spending, taxes and abortion contributed to his distant third place finish in the recently concluded primary.  It’s also conventional wisdom that Tea Party members are more likely to vote for a Republican than a Democrat if given the choice.

But that assumes that Tea Party members think that that must vote for either of the two remaining candidates; in this case Rossi or incumbent Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).  That’s a false assumption.  Many Tea Party members are active in the movement precisely because they think conventional Republicans like Rossi can’t be trusted.  If Rossi fails to woo a majority of Didier’s supporters, this November will be his third – and likely last – statewide defeat.  The Tea Party will just stay home.

As Didier points out, he’s not trying to back Rossi into a corner, but rather deliver him votes.  It’s time establishment Republicans realized that the Tea Party isn’t a slice of the electorate that can be ignored in favor of the ephemeral “middle” – it’s the conservative base.

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