Dave Brat’s stunning upset over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District has spawned some tea party infighting.
Brat was backed heavily (and vocally) by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who has taken exception to certain organizations that have celebrated Cantor’s demise. During an appearance on Fox News earlier this month, Ingraham called out the “professional” tea party groups for ignoring Brat. She even called out one leader by name.
“So people, understand this: The national Tea Party Network, Tea Party Patriots, FreedomWorks — I don’t believe any of these organizations did anything for Dave Brat. Dave Brat couldn’t get Jenny Beth Martin, who is the head of the Tea Party Patriots, the largest tea party organization in the country — he couldn’t get her on the phone,” Ingraham said.
That doesn’t sit too well with Martin, who trumpeted Brat’s victory in an op-ed for The Daily Caller published the day after the primary.
“People who earn their living trying to divine the meaning of elections will invariably default to the simplistic horse race of politics; which group supported who and who played what role in the outcome,” Martin wrote. “It’s a fools errand that fails to understand a simple fact; activists who belong to a variety of tea party groups coalesced behind a strong candidate and carried him to victory. It is with them that Brat shares the credit.”
Martin and her communications director, Kevin Broughton, told the Washington Post that although their group didn’t put any money into Brat’s campaign, they don’t appreciate Ingraham’s criticisms.
“She didn’t know, she never talked to me,” Martin says after an elderly man shouts from his window to just leave whatever she was handing out by the door. “She was misinformed.”
A few nights earlier, Martin’s communications director, Kevin Broughton, over Coors Light and vodka shots, had been more emphatic.
“When did Laura Ingraham become Chris Matthews?” he asked, smoking a cigarette in one of the last bars in Jackson that allow it. “When did she love to hear the sound of her own voice so much?”