Sorsaia "Endorsement" Continues to Roil Tea Parties Across State

HNN Staff
Sorsaia "Endorsement" Continues to Roil Tea Parties Across State

The State Tea Party organization's leadership has stubbed its toe with several local Tea Party groups in its endorsement of Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia for the Republican nomination for Governor.  As reported earlier in HNN, many local Tea Party groups were distressed at the decision by a few State Tea Party leaders. 

Local Tea Party groups have been following a strict policy of no endorsements for candidates, so as to protect their 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.  Instead, locals have been sponsoring candidate forums to help each candidate make their best pitch.

Concern about the State Tea Party's tax status has given way to the more fundamental issue of why certain State Tea Party leaders felt that they could make such an endorsement of Sorsaia without first checking in with local Tea Party groups.

"What you're running into here is a group of dedicated folks who just want their leaders to play by the rules they've established," said Jack Ellis, Senior Political Correspondent for HNN.  "Like every new group, there are going to be some who want to be the leaders, and they make the same mistakes Republican and Democratic party leaders makes sometime in going too far ahead of their members."

"The sad thing is that this puts Mark Sorsaia squarely in the middle of a controversy now, which nullifies whatever benefit he hoped to receive," said Ellis.  "Moreover, other Republican candidates may have felt put off by the announcement, though I understand the local Tea Party groups have assured them that they are still very welcome to their gatherings."

"Sometimes, an endorsement can backfire, especially if the endorsement doesn't reflect the will of the majority," said Ellis. "That's rather basic, don't you think?"

Meanwhile, a Clarksburg-area Tea Party group gathered to hear all of the Governor's candidates last night, except for Betty Ireland who wasn't in attendance.  At least at this local level, the Tea Partiers and their guests reportedly had a good time together.

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