John Adler of
A controversy arose when the Adler camp released a poll last week that showed him defeating Runyon by double digits, while “Tea Party” candidate Pete DeStefano took a significant 12 point share of the vote; mainly from Runyon. NJPoliticker.com reported on this after the Courier-Post broke the story earlier in the week; it appears Mr. DeStefano’s identification with the Tea Party requires some clarification.
The Runyon camp denies the validity of the controversial poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in October of 2009, in which then Gov. Jon Corzine (D) was winning by three points, with independent Chris Daggett securing 14 points. To be fair, most of the polling done in NJ (right up to Election Day) had Daggett receiving double digit support.
The poll also showed that only 3 percent of the voters were undecided; a curiously low level of indecision that is inconsistent with the nature of House races and the amount of time before the election.
But was more than DeStefano’s polling performance that was disconcerting for
DeStefano’s petition to get him on the November ballot (consisting of fewer than 240 signatures) includes high profile and long-time Adler supporters and donors.
According to reports, DeStefano acted inappropriately and aggressively in a closed door meeting of the West Jersey Tea Party, which prompted the group to disavow any association with DeStefano. The Examiner reported that his attacks on Runyon “violated decorum.” When asked to remain behind for consultation, DeStefano declined.
The group’s founder, Bill Haney, called DeStefano “a shill.” Haney neglected to speculate as to whom DeStefano is “a shill” for.
This could all be written off as a 2010 anomaly if it was not supported by similar incidents in other parts of the country.
The “Florida Tea Party,” to which Grayson’s pollster, Victoria Torres, is linked has enough connections to previously registered Democrats or very recently registered Republicans to raise red flags. Conservative Florida activists have been claiming that the “Florida Tea Party” is a subversive group for months.
Such a development would certainly benefit the Democratic Party, but
While there is no “smoking gun” that would indict any campaign on charges of stacking the election in favor of the Democratic incumbent (even if there were there is nothing illegal about such behavior) there is enough circumstance to merit further investigation. Some good journalism has been done in
It behooves national media outlets, in between racially-charged “gotcha” stories whose impact on national politics likely to be negligible, to investigate what appears to be a national trend. If “Trojan Horse Tea Partiers” are becoming a national phenomenon, it is unlikely that it will be attributable to a spontaneous, grassroots movement devoid of national direction.
Noah Rothman is the online editor at C&E. Email him at email@example.com