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

Weigel
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 reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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 reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories to the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 22 2014 8:13 AM Good Teaching Is Not About Playing It Safe Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.