In an election when America needed everyone to subdue personal ambition for the greater good, two egomaniacs ran against Ed Martin. These selfish people put themselves and their egos above the country. They are not American patriots; they’re weasels.However, it seems to me that the election results tell a very clear story. In the Republican primary, corrupt Republican insider Ed Martin was running against a true grassroots conservative named John Wayne Tucker. However, the AstroTurf St. Louis tea party was in the bag for Martin from the beginning, blacklisting Tucker from their events and even personally attacked him. Dana Loesch, who's husband's business Shock City Studios was paid $5,000 by Ed Martin, went on a Twitter tirade against Tucker, despite never mentioning him previously while having Martin on as a guest multiple times.
Now for the interesting part: in the Republican primary, Ed Martin only won 63% of the vote, and John Wayne Tucker, despite being ignored by the St. Louis tea party, received 5,379 votes. Rusty Wallace, another Republican challenger, received 7478 votes. In that election, constitution party candidate Nicholas Ivanovich only received 277 votes, and Libertarian candidate Steven Hendrick only got 418. However, in the election yesterday, Hendrick got 5,757 votes and Ivanovich got 3,151.
In other words, it sure looks like the Tucker and Wallace supporters marginalized and insulted by the St. Louis Tea Party are precisely the people who decided that they would rather vote for a third party candidate than the Republican. Only 700 people voted for Ivanovich and Hendrick in the primary: nearly 9,000 voted for them over Ed Martin in the general election.
I think there are a couple of lessons to draw from this. First, the St. Louis tea party shot themselves in the foot by pretending to be a grassroots movement while supporting corrupt GOP operatives like Ed Martin and Roy Blunt. They turned off true conservatives by pretending to be one thing while actively working towards another. In a year where Russ Feingold and Ike Skelton lost, it's possible that a genuine conservative candidate would have outperformed sleaze-bag Martin at the polls. But the St. Louis tea party never let that happen, instead shutting down dissent in the primary.
Second, the tea party's personal attacks on anyone who disagreed with them likely pushed away voters who might otherwise have voted for the Republican candidate. Probably some people who were uncomfortable with Ed Martin's scandalous history might nevertheless have been willing to bite the bullet and vote for him, except for the fact that they were repeatedly insulted by the self-appointed leaders of the tea party. The tea party does not tolerate dissent, especially from other conservatives.
So in a wave election year where Republicans won races no one thought was possible, the St. Louis tea party really didn't accomplish anything. They lost to Congressman Carnahan. They lost to Charlie Dooley. And they lost their bid to protect puppy mill cruelty. Yet all they can do is scream and blame everyone else.