Alan Grayson and the Florida Tea Party

By Tom Tillison
Orlando Political Press

The possible connection between Representative Alan Grayson (D) and the Florida Tea Party political party continues to garner attention.  

In a story in today’s Orlando Sentinel, the reporter, Mark Schlueb, draws attention to several connections between Grayson and Doug Guetzloe, who is rumored to be the man behind the curtain for the FTP.  Those connections even include Guetzloe’s son interning for the Congressman.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-grayson-tea-party-spoiler-20100614,0,6036375.story

Schlueb goes on to report that Grayson has been running campaign ads on Guetzloe’s radio show, which caters to a conservative audience on 810 AM, WEUS.  Station owner Carl Como said Guetzloe handles ads on his own show and acted as an advertising buyer to place Grayson’s spots on other shows the station broadcasts.

For clarification, it’s important to understand that there are two entities at play here.  There is the ‘tea party movement’ and the Florida Tea Party political party.  The political party was formed by individuals with questionable ties to the tea party movement, and, does not have the support or involvement of any the recognized tea party leaders in the state.

A further developement today on this story was a press release from the Bruce O’Donoghue campaign, which stated:

 “Alan Grayson’s fingerprints are all over the creation of this so-called “party,” and he insults the intelligence of voters by claiming he had nothing to do with it. Grayson has brought Central Florida politics to an all time low and he is playing fast and loose with federal election law. Grayson must immediately answer questions about his relationship with his media buyer and whether he had anything to do with the creation of this sham ‘party.'”

O’Donoghue is one of seven Republican candidates looking to take on Alan Grayson in November, and this is not his first attempt at going after Grayson.  There were several press releases last week calling attention to questionable ties between earmarks Grayson has secured and labor unions that support Grayson’s campaign.

What is certain here is that the FTP candidate will only draw a small percentage of the votes in November, and these votes will more than likely be conservatives who would have otherwise voted for the Republican candidate.  What is also certain is that this will be a tight race, not because of Alan Grayson’s appeal so much as the amount of money he will pour into it. 

Yet, there are still more questions than answers.  Will that small percentage be enough to tip the race in Grayson’s favor?  And, does the old adage ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ come into play here?  More to the point, exactly what is Alan Grayson’s role in this “so called” party?

 

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Tom Tillison

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