Tea Party Express underscores Simac’s extremist bona fides
Perhaps 100 people or a few less showed up in Merrill last Sunday for the visit of the Tea Party Express. The bus is a Sacramento-based enterprise of GOP political consulting firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers. Stumping for Kim Simac, Tea Party Express co-founder Howard Kaloogian admitted he had never met her and he spoke from a set of generic Republican talking points about how great things were going under the Walker regime here in Wisconsin.
Simac didn’t show up for the event, which may have been a smart move or may have simply been an extension of what appears to be her most consistent quality throughout the race for the 12th District Senate seat held by veteran Democratic legislator Jim Holperin: not showing up.
As for the Tea Party Express, it has a spotty record of success that is primarily on the ultra-conservative end of the spectrum. They backed Joe Miller in Alaska, a fellow who took out incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary and then subsequently lost to her as a write-in candidate because Miller was too red for even that conservative state. Murkowski’s “unwillingness to adopt the shortsighted, scorched-earth approach of one wing of her party cost her the primary election,” said the Anchorage Daily News, as it endorsed her write-in candidacy.
Another Tea Party Express pick was Sharon Angle, in Nevada, who ran unsuccesfully against Sen. Harry Reid, despite last year’s GOP tsunami: (“I’m tired of some people calling me wacky.”) Then there was Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, who opened her campaign for the general election to the state’s U.S. Senate with an ad that informed voters she was not a witch. (That’s nice to know, I guess.)
Michele Bachmann, winner of the weekend’s GOP presidential straw poll in Iowa, has appeared with the Tea Party Express as her backdrop and it’s a great way to appeal to those ‘short-sighted, scorched earth’ extremists who tend to play a big role Republican primaries.
Unfortunately for Simac, this is the general election and having extremists on your side against a flaming moderate like Jim Holperin may be something that reasonable people, who fall somewhere in the middle of the road to the right or left of center, might find a bit disconcerting.
Simac’s campaign has been working hard to scrub the web of some of her many intemperate quotes over the past few years. Despite that, the founder of the Northwoods Patriots tea party group, who led the effort to collect the recall signatures for the race in which is now running, still has some difficulty dodging the “extremist” label. There’s a reason for that and it is the very same reason that the Tea Party Express rolled into the Northwoods last week to support Simac’s candidacy. She’s an extremist.
The Hill: Tea Party’s heyday may be coming to an end: