News Story

Jackson Activist Asks Third-Party Tea Party ‘Interloper’ to ‘Cease and Desist’

Dan Davis, a candidate for the newly formed Tea Party, reached out Tuesday to the Jackson grassroots Tea Party organization.

In an e-mail, Davis asked a Jackson Tea Party official:

Any plans for a meeting in Jackson?

Davis is a 50-year-old from Riga who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives 7th District, which is expected to be one of the most watched races in the state, pitting the GOP's Tim Walberg against Democrat incumbent Mark Schauer.

Ron Acton, communications director for the Jackson Tea Party group, didn't mince words in his response.

No one in the National or Michigan Tea Party Movement can or will recognize you as legitimate," Acton responded in his e-mail. "You are considered an opportunist, interloper, inauthentic, illegal, fraud, fake, etc. Please cease and desist using the Tea Party name and run as an Independent Candidate.

Acton said after talking to Davis he believes he shares many of the same Tea Party values, but believes Davis is making a big mistake by joining the third-party Tea Party.

The Tea Party is believed by many to be part of a Democratic plan to siphon votes from Republicans by getting the third party on the ballot. Traverse City Tea Party activist Jason Gillman discovered that Oakland County Democratic Party Political Director Jason Bauer had signed off on many of the Tea Party candidates' affidavits. Bauer didn't sign Davis' affidavit.

Davis said that he started in March as an independent but was shut out by various grassroots Tea Party groups. He said he chose the start-up Tea Party because the grassroots Tea Party leaders shut him out of the debates.

"I do support the grassroots Tea Party movement completely," Davis said. "I'm probably the most conservative guy you ever are going to meet."

Davis said he can defeat Walberg and Schauer. He said he has "very little" money raised at this point, but thinks he can get the millions necessary to compete with established parties.

He doesn't buy in to the idea that his candidacy will siphon votes away from the Republican.

"I believe I have the ability to siphon Democrat votes," Davis said. "I don't think all Democrats are hard-core liberals. ... I can win because I have a message that resonates with people."

Davis was asked: If the Tea Party was not a ruse to confuse voters, then why was a Democrat party official signing off on candidate affidavits?

"I don't have an answer for that," he said.

But he does say that the only people complaining are Tea Party movement leaders, not the everyday citizens.

"You got people pushing Republicans in the leadership of the Tea Party movement - they are the ones screaming the loudest," Davis said. "It's not the normal hard-working Jane or Joe that are complaining."

Joan Fabiano, founder of the tea party group Grass Roots in Michigan, said she thought it was disgruntlement that led Davis to the Tea Party political party.

"There are a lot of neophytes that have been attracted to the tea party movement who have ideas how things should be done that are not practical or beneficial to the movement," Fabiano said. "When those ideas are rejected, then they become disgruntled and susceptible to people who have an agenda against the Tea Party movement that will help them implement what they think are these great ideas."

"When you are disgruntled it makes you susceptible," Fabiano said. "I'm getting this vision of Satan slithering up to Eve in the garden, 'Well, we think your ideas are wonderful. Let us help you.' "

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.