News / USA

Tea Party Candidates Become Factor in US Mid-Term Elections

Across the United States, the influence of the Tea Party movement is changing the way candidates are reaching out to voters ahead of the mid-term elections November 2. Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul in Kentucky, the son of one time presidential candidate Ron Paul and a Tea Party favorite, is tied in some polls with his Democratic rival Jack Conway.

Tea Party candidate Rand Paul talks to attendees of the 'Red, White and Blue Picnic' in Owensboro, Kentucky
Tea Party candidate Rand Paul talks to attendees of the 'Red, White and Blue Picnic' in Owensboro, Kentucky

At Reid's Orchard on the outskirts of Owensboro, the fire of a barbeque pit sends the smell of hamburgers and beans into the warm evening air of Western Kentucky.

Free food and conversation draws voters from across the political spectrum to an election year tradition in this part of the country… the Red, White and Blue Picnic.

"This is a way that we bring the candidates out and let them meet the people - good ol' fashioned political stump speeches. That is what we're all about," said Owensboro Chamber of Commerce President Jody Wassmer, one of the organizers of the event.

Candidates running for offices ranging from local commission seats to the governor of Kentucky use the Red White and Blue Picnic as a platform to deliver their message directly to voters who will determine the outcome of mid-term elections November 2.

Wassmer says Kentucky has traditionally voted for Democratic candidates.

"It's a very conservative, Democrat state, and the Republicans have made a lot of inroads here in recent years," he said.

One such Republican is Senate candidate Rand Paul. Paul defeated a popular candidate supported by the national Republican Party in Kentucky's primary elections in May, by tapping into voter anger over bank and auto industry bailouts, and an expansion of health care coverage.

He has the support of the Tea Party, which would like to see less government and lower taxes, something Paul supports.

"I think a country grows by getting government out of the way," he said. "Government isn't the solution; government needs to get out of the way to let private business thrive.  Private business and industry is the solution."

Paul's primary election victory in May, fueled by the endorsement of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, reinforced the power of the Tea Party movement.

Across the country, Tea Party supported Senate candidates such as Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Joe Miller in Alaska, and Sharon Engle in Nevada have changed the face of the Republican Party by defeating more mainstream candidates.

But their victories have also raised questions about whether or not their message appeals to a broader voter base in the general election.  

Democrats are also looking at some of these candidates as a liability to the Republicans in their effort to regain a majority in the House and Senate.

"While the Tea Party movement has, at this point, quite substantial disdain for the Democrats, it has almost equal disdain for the Republicans," said Doug Schoen, author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking our Two-Party System."

Schoen says even though Tea Party voters generally do not support incumbents, regardless of party, he sees their influence helping the Republicans in November.

"I think it will be a pretty big victory this November and it is largely if not entirely being driven by the Tea Party movement, a movement that really 18, 19, 20 months ago, or certainly two years ago when President Obama was running, there was not a person in the world, certainly not in this town who was ever thinking that any movement like the Tea Party could come into existence, much less have the impact that it has," he said.

According to a September 10 CNN/Time magazine poll of registered voters in Kentucky, Rand Paul is tied with his Democratic rival Jack Conway.

Conway did not attend the Red White and Blue Picnic, but supporters campaigning on his behalf tried to paint Rand Paul as an extremist candidate unable to best represent Kentucky voters.

But Jody Wassmer thinks Paul's support of business in Western Kentucky, and his opposition to environmental legislation commonly referred to as "Cap and Trade," may give him the edge in this part of the country come November.

"This is coal country, and we have a lot of low cost coal powered plants, and 'cap and trade' is aimed squarely at those plants," he said. "Businesses that are struggling through this economy don't want to see their rates go up, that's an issue Rand Paul comes down very well on."

Conway and Paul have agreed to three debates throughout October, which will give each of the candidates a chance to further reach out to voters in the weeks leading up to the November election.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid