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Rift Opens Between State and National Tea Party Groups

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, May 22, various Alabama Tea Party groups released an open letter to complain about National Tea Party groups throwing their considerable weight behind Dr. Chad Mathis in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District race.

The Alabama based Tea Party groups wrote, “We object to organizations and groups like yours selecting our candidate. As none of you are located in Alabama, you have neither the background nor the history at the grassroots level with the Tea Party and other conservative groups that reside here.  Alabama Grassroots Members overwhelmingly choose Scott Beason as the conservative Tea Party candidate for Alabama’s 6th Congressional District. Through our tireless “hand-to-hand” engagements we believe that WE are best equipped to choose the most qualified candidate and leader for the AL 6th Congressional District. We have worked closely with Scott for years and we are intimately familiar with the issues affecting our district and state.”

The letter was signed by Zan Green, Roger Hill, Dexter Bland, Danny B. Joyner, Ron Hei, Becky Gerritson, Mary Anne Cole, Brenda Bowen, and Jim Hall who are affiliated with Tea Party groups across Alabama literally from the DeKalb County Tea Party to the Dauphin Island Tea Party.

The signatories wrote that they reject the endorsements of the Tea Party Patriots Conservative Fund, FreedomWorks PAC, Club for Growth PAC Choice, Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks PAC, and Club for Growth PAC many of which are pouring dollars into advertising on behalf of Dr. Mathis.

The letter said that those national organizations, “Rely on the support and actions of local tea party groups across the nation to accomplish legislative and grassroots victories. The individuals you call members and activists are WE, the local people on the ground in our own beats, precincts and districts.”

The Alabama based Tea Party activists wrote, “Scott Beason has been in the trenches fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Alabama grassroots, even before the inception of the Tea Party. He has a trustworthy legislative voting record to prove it. During his time in the Alabama legislature he has lead the charge on many issues that were vitally important to us and our state sovereignty. This includes authoring the most comprehensive illegal immigration law in the nation, as well as authoring many robust bills to protect our Second Amendment rights. He fought hard to repeal Common Core and was called a “Tax Hawk” by a national paper in his fight against raising taxes.  Scott Beason was “Tea Party” before there was a Tea Party.  We, the signatory below, from the independent Alabama Tea Party and Conservative groups continue to appreciate the relationship with Scott Beason in our fight to uphold conservative values.”

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Red State has been staunchly opposed to Senator Beason’s candidacy.  Red State’s Dan Spencer wrote of Beason, “State Senator Scott Beason, has pitched himself as a true conservative and Tea Party voice. We need to be very wary of him, though. He’s another Dean Young, better at shock value rhetoric than anything that advances the conservative cause. His penchant for embarrassing us is so great that Ken Blackwell directly pointed him out in a recent op-ed, saying we should steer clear of this humiliation in waiting.”

Spencer said that, “Mathis has seen first-hand what ObamaCare is doing to our economy and health care system. Unlike most liberals, and probably his opponents, he’s read the monstrous so-called Affordable Care Act in full. And Mathis has made it crystal-clear that he won’t waver in his fight to send ObamaCare to the scrap heap.”  “In Congress, Chad Mathis’s voice will be a major asset to the Conservative movement. He’s one of us to be sure, and he won’t embarrass us either.”

Spencer in that same column: denounced Rep. Paul DeMarco as a, “Candidate with a litany of issues that makes him an albatross to Conservatives”; Gary Palmer as a ‘non-starter; and suggested that Will Brooke is in the pocket of the D.C. establishment.

To this point Dr. Mathis has been endorsed by: U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R) from Utah, the National Association for Gun Rights, Gun Owners of America, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Honorable Ken Blackwell, FreedomWorks PAC, the Madison Project, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, RedState, Club for Growth, the Alabama Orthopedic Society, Young Americans for Liberty’s PAC, Liberty Action Fund, the Alabama State Society of Anesthesiologists, Congressman Andy Harris (M.D.), the Club for Growth,  the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, Congressman Phil Roe (M.D.), Congressman Michael Burgess (M.D.), and Commander Kirk Lippold, U.S. Navy (Ret.).

The crowded District Six field includes: state Representative Paul DeMarco (R) from Homewood, prominent longtime Harbert executive Will Brooke, state Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale, the owner of Royal Mattress Manufacturing in Pelham mattress Tom Vigneulle, retired attorney Rob Shattuck, Indian Springs orthopedist Dr. Chad Mathis, and Alabama Policy Institute co-founder and longtime President Gary Palmer.

Longtime Sixth Congressional District incumbent Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia is not seeking re-election.  Rep. Bachus has served the Sixth District for 11 terms in the U.S. Congress.

The Republican Primary is June 3.

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The eventual Republican Party nominee will still have to face Democrat Avery Vice in the November General Election.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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