Although Tea Party candidates were shut in last night's primaries except for Anna Little, who is holding on to the slimmest of leads in the 12th congressional district GOP primary, they made more than a respectable showing. Particularly impressive was Dave Corsi's near upset of heavily favored, well financed, establishment candidate Scott Sipprelle in the 6th congressional district.
Corsi spent virtually no money. Incredibly, he got 46% of the vote using volunteers and the power of his message, shrinking the size and scope of the federal government. Justin Murphy spent a few thousand dollars in the 3rd congressional district and had a spirited race garnering 40% against the heavily favored Jon Runyan, the GOP establishment anointed candidate.
Incumbent Leonard Lance ran against three challengers carrying the mantle of the Tea Party in the 7th CD and won with only 56% of the vote. Would the race have turned out any differently if the tea partiers had rallied around one candidate is hard to know, but the fact that Lance could not get at least 60% of the vote could make him vulnerable in the fall. And if he is reelected the tea partiers could rally around a strong candidate like David Larsen who received 31% of the vote if Lance's voting record for the next two years leaves much to be desired, i.e., he votes for bills that increases spending and taxes and imposes unnecessary environmental regulations on the business sector.
In the 4th CD, 30 year incumbent Chris Smith easily defeated fiscal conservative Alan Bateman, 69% to 31%. Smith gets elected as a Republican even though he is big government guy. As a pro lifer with massive labor union support, Smith has become an institution in southern New Jersey. He won his seat in 1980 unseating a long time incumbent in the general election. Maybe now Smith will vote like a fiscal conservative during the next two years to avoid a challenge from a potential Tea Party candidate in 2012. His reelection in November is virtually assured.
Tuesday's results reveal that in a two-way race, many insurgents did not need a lot of money to be competitive. And when there are many challengers the incumbent wins relatively easily. However, to defeat a long time incumbent like Chris Smith does take more resources than Bateman was able to muster to get his message out.
All in all, it was a good night for the "movement." In other parts of the country, Tea Party candidates are winning in spite of the opposition from party hacks and GOP insiders.
The handwriting is on the wall. The unsustainable welfare state is awakening the American people out of its long slumber. The political elites and their media sycophants have been feeding the masses ongoing lies, namely, that redistributing income and wealth have no long term negative consequences for the economy, that the federal government can run (plan) the economy, that massive federal government debt is benign, that printing money is necessary for prosperity and that enlightened regulations will prevent financial bubbles and environmental degradation.
In short, Tea Party candidates do not have to "win" to drive the agenda home. Incumbents are getting the message: freedom needs to be restored and statism needs to shrink.
Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for governor in 1997 and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and 2008. Check www.MurraySabrin.com for more of his writings.