Evidence Mounts That Michigan Tea Party Is Democratic Front

As state officials in Michigan review a proposed Tea Party‘s petition to appear on the November ballot, evidence is mounting that the party is a front for Democratic supporters hoping to rescue embattled Democrats this fall.

Earlier this week, the party submitted the names of 23 candidates it wants to place on ballots across the state this fall. Though several are for statewide offices, most are running in districts where Republicans are threatening incumbent Democrats. The Detroit Free Press reports today that a local Democratic party official had a role in helping some of the candidates become members of the Tea Party. Combine that with previous reporting showing the nearly 60,000 signatures the party gathered to earn a place on the ballot having been collected by a Democratic firm called Progressive Campaigns, Inc., and you’ve got a recipe for some serious skepticism about the party’s legitimacy.

Democratic party figures in Michigan continue to deny any connection with the Tea Party, just as tea party movement figures in the state continue to claim the party is in no way connected with them, either.From today’s Free Press:

Affidavits filed by more than half of the 23 candidates from Michigan’s mysterious Tea Party were notarized by the political director of the Oakland County Democratic Party, elections records show … [Jason] Bauer is the county party’s operations director and, according to his Facebook page, a committed Democrat.

Bauer’s name “appeared on affidavits for 12 of 23 candidates nominated” by the Tea Party, according to the paper.

And then there’s the candidates themselves. As the AP reported today, at least some of them have some problems:

Thirteenth District Senate candidate Thomas Murdock of Troy and 15th District Senate candidate Heather Sartorius of New Hudson were both born in 1990 and won’t be 21 by Jan. 1, 2011, the date they’d take office if they won.

That violates the state constitution. A secretary of state spokeswoman says they’re ineligible to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Critics of the Michigan Tea Party are still hoping to keep it off the ballot, despite the tens of thousands of signatures it turned in to state officials. The final decision on whether those signatures are counted is expected to come around Aug. 13.