The President of the Louisville Tea Party organization wants Republican gubernatorial hopeful David Williams to stop claiming that he has "substantive tea party support" as the Williams-Farmer campaign is touting on its website.
In a WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll released on April 16, the Williams-Farmer ticket garnered the support of 53 percent of likely Republican voters who have a favorable view of the Tea Party. The ticket of self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate Phil Moffett and State Representative Mike Harmon got only 16 percent support among Tea Party supporters. Bobbie Holsclaw and running mate Bill Vermillion grabbed ten percent support.
Yet, in an open letter to Williams, Wendy Caswell reiterates that the "Louisville Tea Party Board and its members have unanimously and consistently affirmed their support of Phil Moffett & Mike Harmon in this race, having formally endorsed their campaign on March 29th in its weekly newsletter."
Caswell also cites the Moffett endorsements by the Bowling Green Southern Kentucky Tea Party, the Western Representation PAC, a news conference with several Tea Party groups that affirmed support for Moffett and straw polls which also sided with Moffett.
"I find it interesting that a campaign which has attempted to make claims of bullying against David Williams is now, in fact, bullying and smearing other Tea Party members who have the audacity to disagree with them," replied Williams-Farmer campaign manager Scott Jennings in a statement.
Jennings pointed to the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll as a sign that "people know David Williams is a proven conservative with a record of cutting taxes, fighting against irresponsible government spending, and trying to get our state’s finances in order."
Caswell, meanwhile, warns of frustration among the Tea Party base and suggests that Williams' Tea Party claims "could have grave implications for a conservative victory in the general election."
"We are running an inclusive, positive campaign designed to unite conservative Republicans, Tea Partiers, Democrats, Independents, and anyone else who wants to dump Beshear in favor of a better governor with a conservative agenda for the future," Jennings said.