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Tea House 2011

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While the Senate races of Sharron Angle and Rand Paul are steeped in national media attention, dozens of tea-party-associated House of Representatives candidates are operating out of the national spotlight this campaign season. With massive Republican gains in the House almost certain, the influence of this band of outsiders is sure to rise. These six, each of whom possesses some passionate perspectives on the Constitution, Social Security, President Obama, and even those ubiquitous, ecumenical co-exist bumper stickers, have a good chance of going to Washington.





Jeff Landry, businessman and attorney
Louisiana’s Third District
Just how tea-brained is he?
Landry told a state-politics blog that he believes “in the Constitution of the United States, as written!” Which is true, except for the parts he wants to change—repealing the Sixteenth Amendment (income taxes) and the Seventeenth Amendment (direct election of senators), and removing birthright citizenship from the Fourteenth Amendment.
Chances of joining our nation’s governing body:
Landry is favored to win his primary runoff on October 2, and the race is rated as “likely Republican” by the Cook Political Reportand “leans Republican” by the New York Times. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza says the Democrats’ chances of retaining the seat are “grim.”



Allen West, retired Army lieutenant colonel
Florida’s 22nd District
Just how tea-brained is he?
West has called out Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and his Democratic opponent’s campaign tracker—someone who films everything a candidate says in the hopes of catching something damaging—for their “Gestapo-type intimidation tactics.” In addition to telling audience members to “get your musket” and “fix your bayonet,” he’s said he wants to make his Democratic opponent “scared to come out of his house.” Also, he’s “incensed” by co-exist bumper stickers.
Chances of joining our nation’s governing body:
The Times and Cook say the race leans Democratic.



Todd Lally, pilot for UPS
Kentucky’s Third District
Just how tea-brained is he?
Told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Obama is so untrustworthy that he could not gain high-level security clearance if he weren’t president. He also said that health-care reform benefits “freeloaders.”
Chances of joining our nation’s governing body:
A SurveyUSA poll in early September found Lally within two points of his Democratic opponent among likely voters.



Todd Young, prosecutor and former Marine
Indiana’s Ninth District
Just how tea-brained is he?
Referred to Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”
Chances of joining our nation’s governing body:
Both the Times and Cook rate the race a toss-up.



Jesse Kelly, former Marine
Arizona’s Eighth District
Just how tea-brained is he?
During the primary campaign, Kelly said he “would love to eliminate” Social Security and eventually end Medicare. (Since winning his primary, he’s come to see the value in both programs.) He also wants to abolish the minimum wage.
Chances of joining our nation’s governing body:
A partisan poll in late August showed Kelly tied with his Democratic opponent.



Cory Gardner, Colorado state representative
Fourth District
Just how tea-brained is he?
According to his campaign manager, Gardner “finds it very curious” that Obama hasn’t released his “long-form birth certificate.” He supports the Personhood Amendment to the Constitution, which would recognize zygotes as people and therefore outlaw abortions, embryonic stem-cell research, and many forms of birth control.
Chances of joining our nation’s governing body:
Cook rates the race a toss-up; the Times thinks it leans GOP.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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