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Plenty of hype, but a bad night for Orly Taitz and other birthers

In the end, the hype took birther attorney Orly Taitz to a decisive 49-point defeat in the race for the GOP nomination for California secretary of state. Mainstream Republican candidate Damon Dunn, who got into that race earlier and raised seven times as much money, carried every county and won more than 1 million votes; Taitz will end up with around 370,000 votes.

That's less than some people expected, but for a fringe candidate who had only 21 donors, it's fairly impressive. By contrast, the much-covered stunt campaign of former (and future?) blogger and author Mickey Kaus racked up only 94,000 votes in the primary against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.). Taitz outpolled both of the losers in the GOP's U.S. Senate primary, former congressman Tom Campbell and assemblyman Chuck DeVore. David Freddoso was one of several conservatives who lashed out at liberals for speculating that Taitz ever had a chance, and called Politico one of the outlets that was "unjustifiably bullish" about her chances. But the point of the pre-election speculation was that no one knew how votes would break down in an under-reported race like this. In the end her total looks more like the first polling numbers we saw on belief in the "Obama was born abroad conspiracy" -- disturbingly high, but nowhere close to a majority.

Still, there was a less colorful defeat for believers in that conspiracy over in South Dakota. Chris Nelson, the GOP secretary of state, had speculated that Obama's citizenship might be a scam. He watched a huge early advantage crumble and lost handily to State Rep. Kristi Noem.

By David Weigel  |  June 9, 2010; 8:57 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Fringe  
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