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Leaders of the largest tea party organization in Western New York have called on Jack Davis to exit the 26th district special election.
Davis, who has previously run for the seat as a Democrat, was passed over for the Republican ballot line and is instead running on the Tea Party line, which he came up with to get on the ballot. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin was selected as the Republican nominee by county GOP chairmen, and she is the favorite in the special election for the seat vacated by former Rep. Chris Lee (R).
The danger for Republicans is a split ticket that could provide a Democratic route to victory in the Republican-leaning district. TEA New York organizers Rus and Jul Thompson argued in an email to the media that the tea party is a movement — not a party — and should not be used as a third-party route to office.
“We are now in the midst of a real problem,” the Thompsons wrote. “We have no personal issues with Jack and feel everyone has the right to run for office. The main problem here is that there is NO primary, and we must consider the problems created by ‘splitting the line.’”
Roll Call reported earlier this week that Davis' campaign manager, Curtis Ellis, had previously been critical of the tea party. He said he believes the movement has matured since he first made those comments.
“I respectfully ask Jack to get out of this race as now it is too late to change the name,” they continued. “His advisors and campaign manager are trying to pull a power play for self aggrandizement and power. This will not be tolerated by the people involved in the TEA Party movement.”