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Florida Rep. Alan Grayson and the tea party

If you missed it, Roll Call's Nathan Gonzales has a must-read story on connections between Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and the Florida Tea Party, the third party with multiple candidates on the November ballot that has been called a sham by Republicans and tea party activists alike. There's a lot of innuendo, but there's also this connection:

The Florida Tea Party was founded in August by attorney Fred O’Neal. Egoroff later signed on as communications director, and the party (including Dunmire’s Congressional candidacy) is promoted by Orlando political consultant Doug Guetzloe. Guetzloe and Egoroff were suspended by the Florida Republican Party late last year, but there are differences of opinion about why that happened.

An extensive June 14 Orlando Sentinel article detailed multiple connections between Grayson and Guetzloe. The Congressman appointed Guetzloe to a small-business advisory panel, and Guetzloe’s son interned in Grayson’s Congressional office. In addition, Republicans note that the two men have a financial connection since Grayson is running campaign ads on Guetzloe’s conservative radio show.

Now, it shouldn't be a surprise that Grayson does work with conservatives. That's not a sham. He worked with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) to pass the "audit the Fed" amendment in the House, and according to Paul staffers, worked hard to ingratiate himself with Paul. Grayson offered to speak at 2009 tea parties in Florida and was denied. But Grayson stands to benefit if conservatives vote for the Tea Party candidate, Peg Dunmire, in his district. And GOP-supporting tea partyers -- that is, most tea partyers -- have been tenacious in their attacks on third party candidates who appear to ease the path to re-election for Democrats. Look at Scott Ashjian in Nevada, whose poll numbers plunged after the Tea Party Express ran ads calling him a fraud.

By David Weigel  |  June 22, 2010; 4:44 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Tea Party  
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