Democratic insiders hoped for tea party candidate victories during the primary season, and in a handful of cases, they got their wish. Now that Rand Paul of Kentucky, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, and other conservative outsiders have won Republican nominations in U.S. Senate races, Democrats can use claims of tea party extremism as a way to generate online signups and donations, and hopefully rally a somewhat disillusioned party base in support of Democrats when it comes time to vote in November.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for instance, is hoping people searching for information on O’Donnell will want to “Stop the Tea Party.”
Since Tuesday’s final round of primary elections, Christine O’Donnell’s name has grown in national prominence. The tea party candidate won Delaware’s Senate GOP primary election Tuesday in an upset victory, following earlier tea party wins for Republican Senate nominations.
The DSCC’s message is simple: sign up and donate to help the party organization stop tea party candidates from winning. Christine O’Donnell-related searches turn up ads that declare, “Stop the Tea Party.” The ads ask supporters to “Help the DSCC Stop the Tea Party From Invading the Senate.” They link to a petition suggesting that tea party candidates’ “mission is to obstruct and repeal, turning back the clock on President Obama’s agenda-from health care, to the economy, to education. In short, the Tea Partiers are the most extreme candidates the GOP has to offer.”
Once supporters have signed the DSCC’s online petition, a “thank you” page asks them for donations “to fund voter outreach, fight attack ads and get each and every Democrat to the polls on Election Day.”
The “Help stop the tea party machine” cry also greets first time visitors to the DSCC site, along with photos of conservative firebrand Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell.
Tea party hopefuls have won a handful of Republican Senate nominations this primary season, including Sharron Angle of Nevada, Joe Miller of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida. Early on during the primary season, some Democratic Party insiders hoped tea party candidates would get on ballots and win nominations. In their aim to stave off a Senate leadership turnover in November, Democrats aim to shine a spotlight on what some consider extremist viewpoints of tea party candidates in order to spur donations and other support for their Democratic opponents.
O’Donnell’s Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, is also running “Stop Christine O’Donnell” ads that link to a donation page.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using more recognizable Republican household names such as Karl Rove and Sarah Palin to generate donations for get-out-the-vote efforts, and solidify opposition to tea party principles. The committee sent an e-mail recently including an “urgent message from James Carville,” also posted to the organization’s homepage. “Not to be outdone by Sarah Palin’s road trip for all those radical tea party Republicans, Rove is hitting the road for the most extreme social-security-privatizing, health care repealing, drag-us-back-to-Bush Republicans running for Congress,” begins the message.
“The DCCC must raise $65,709 more by Midnight Tonight to fund get-out-the-vote organizers in every single one of those battleground races that Rove and Palin are drooling over,” the message continued, asking people to “Contribute $5, $10, or more” to the DCCC Voter Contact and Mobilization Fund.
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