Chamber of Commerce Spends Nearly $200,000 to Thwart "Tea Party" Candidate

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 1 2013 3:17 PM

Chamber of Commerce Spends Nearly $200,000 to Thwart "Tea Party" Candidate

The race for Alabama's 1st Congressional District, left open when its former occupant became a university administrator, is becoming a perfect Petri dish for the ballyhooed "establishment fightback." It's a safe seat, one that gave Mitt Romney 62 percent of the vote in 2012. Whoever wins a Republican runoff will win the general election. This gives Dean Young, who challenged the last congressman in the 2012 primary, his best shot at beating State Sen. Bradley Byrne.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

How electable is Young? He got 24 percent in the 2012 primary; he got 23 percent this year. But more important than the percentage was the vote total. Young won 21,308 votes last year, and only 12,011 to make it into this runoff. Byrne won the district when he ran for governor, but Republicans panic that Young,* whose moment of national fame came when he objected to "homosexuals pretending that they're married," could take a low-turnout November runoff. The sparse polling on the race suggests that it's tied up.

Advertisement

Enter: the Chamber of Commerce. According to the chamber's filings with the FEC, it's spent, so far, $199,402.43 on the Byrne race. The knock on Mike Bloomberg is that his group has dive-bombed the airwaves but not organized; the chamber has spent $8,000 on mailing lists. Its political director, Rob Engstrom, has tried to kindle a controversy by claiming that Young wanted the chamber endorsement—ha, ha, some Tea Partier!

*I use the scare quotes in my hed because Young's closest political ties are to religious conservatives, who obviously predate the Tea Party. 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.