Everyone knows Alan Grayson’s opinion of conservatives, and it’s not pretty. Heck, everyone knows Alan Grayson’s opinions about everything, and they’re deeply disturbing. But if Grayson wants to be re-elected this November, he must concern himself with his constituents’ opinion of him. And many are sick of their district being associated with this volatile, boorish, unhinged clown, and they want the sorry freak show to “die quickly.” Electorally speaking of course.
Things have been looking better for Grayson, however, since a mysterious third party has emerged and is busily recruiting candidates – like Peg Dunmire in Grayson’s race – to don phony Tea Party mantles and waylay enough conservative votes to secure Democrat victories statewide.
“Everyone understands the impact a Tea Party candidate could have in that race,” said Tom Tillison, an activist with the tea-party movement who has no connection to the formal political party. “It’s clear that Peg Dunmire’s candidacy stands to benefit Alan Grayson tremendously.”
Needless to say, Florida conservatives and traditional Tea Party activists are protesting, and their howls have gotten louder since connections have surfaced between this new Stepford Tea Party and Grayson himself. An especially blatant example is Grayson’s former pollster, Victoria Torres.
One of Rep. Alan Grayson’s pollsters is running for the state House in Florida as a Tea Party candidate, fueling Republican suspicions that the Democratic Congressman is using to a newly formed third party to boost his own re-election bid.
On Friday, Victoria Torres, 44, of Orlando qualified to run as a Tea Party candidate in state House district 51 in the last hours of the qualifying period.
A call to Torres was returned by Nick Egoroff, communications director for the Florida Tea Party, who described Torres as a “quasi-paralegal assistant who works in a law office.” But apparently, Torres is also a pollster.
According to records from the Florida Department of State office, Torres incorporated Public Opinion Strategies Inc. in December 2008. In the first quarter of this year, Grayson’s campaign made two payments to her firm, totaling $11,000, for polling and survey expenses.
Sounds farfetched, doesn’t it? Grayson-stein manufacturing fake tea-bagger zombies to soak up five to seven percent of the conservative vote and secure himself another two years at Capitol Hill? He would have to be nuts.
According to local Republicans, the whole situation is riddled with coincidences.
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.
It doesn’t stop with Grayson’s race. The Stepford Tea Party is recruiting candidates to ensure Democratic victories in a variety of races. Roll Call details the incestuous connections within this pool of would-be spoilers.
Darin Dunmire, whom Egoroff described as a relative of Peg Dunmire, is running in state House district 40. Nina Virone, a partner at Dunmire Consulting, is running as a Tea Party candidate against state Speaker-designate Dean Cannon (R). Another Tea Party candidate worked at the same radio station as Guetzloe.
Both Darin Dunmire and Virone contributed to Peg Dunmire’s Congressional campaign earlier this year. Peg and Darin Dunmire and Virone all list Peg Dunmire as their campaign’s treasurer and use the same address on their filings.
And yet, Grayson – a two-bit con artist who views his constituents as his latest mark – labels others vampires and whores. I hope the people of Florida see through all this and label him a one-term wonder.
Here is an investigative report from Orlando’s Local News 6, via the Right Scoop: