In NY-26, Jack Davis Scuffles With Cameraman, and AP IDs Him As a 'Tea Party Candidate'; He's Not

Can someone call himself a Tea Party candidate even though he has no visible support from local Tea Party groups and has been asked by one of them not to run? The Associated Press's Carolyn Thompson apparently thinks so.

Thompson's 3:03 p.m. report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes no mention of congressional candidate Jack Davis's lack of Tea Party group support. The AP reporter also waited until the final paragraph of her 17-paragraph report to tell readers that Davis is "a wealthy Republican businessman" who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- as a Democrat.

The large body of evidence that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Party candidate consists of at least the following:

  • On April 6, William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection asserted that "Davis is a spoiler, does not represent the Tea Party movement or conservatives, and his campaign is being run a self-described progressive operative."
  • On March 24, Moe Lane at RedState writes that the campaign manager, Curt Ellis, is a former diarist at Talking Points Memo, a leftist site, and quotes Ellis as saying the following about the Tea Party: "They fancy themselves the vanguard of a revolution, when in fact they are typical self-absorbed, privileged children used to having their way — now – and uninhibited about complaining loudly when they don’t. It’s the same demographic Spiro Agnew called 'an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.'"
  • On March 25, Roll Call reported that "Leaders of the largest tea party organization in Western New York have called on Jack Davis to exit the 26th district special election," alleging that "his advisors and campaign manager are trying to pull a power play for self aggrandizement and power."
  • On April 6, Sam Foster at Left Coast Rebel in a post entitled "Months after Tea Partiers were Protesting, Jack Davis was supporting progressive politicians," documented mid-2009 contributions of $1,000 to the following Democrats --Dan Maffei on June 30; $1,000 to Brian Higgins on June 25; $1,000 to Eric Massa on June 30; $1,000 to Louise “demon pass” Slaughter July 1; and Steven Kagen on August 4.

Thompson's report addresses a YouTube-posted incident (also embedded at Hot Air, where Jazz Shaw's post is headlined "Fake Tea Party Candidate Assaults Cameraman") which occurred on Wednesday. What follows are the first seven paragraphs from Thompson's report, with her "oh by the way" final paragraph added at the end:

A 15-second video shows a tea party congressional candidate in New York scuffling with a Republican Party volunteer who questioned his absence from a debate.

 

The video posted on YouTube shows candidate Jack Davis asking the volunteer Wednesday whether he wants to "punch it out" after a campaign event in Greece, outside Rochester.

 

Davis was responding to the man's repeated calls for him to explain why he backed out of a debate held Thursday in Buffalo.

 

Davis announced Wednesday he'd changed his mind about participating in the debate with the two major party candidates in the May 24 special election for the 26th District seat. Instead, he said he'd speak to voters directly via an electronic town hall meeting May 21.

 

In the video, the 78-year-old candidate steps toward the volunteer, who was holding a camera and asking, "Why did you back out of the debate? Why did you back out of the debate?"

 

"Do you want to punch it out?" Davis asks before swiping at the camera with his right hand.

 

Davis then laughs as he walks to his car while a man who appears to be a Davis campaign aide approaches the cameraman. As the camera shakes, the cameraman groans out of view as if he has been struck and then resumes asking Davis, "Why did you back out of the debate?"

 

... Davis, a wealthy Republican businessman, ran for the congressional seat as a Democrat in 2004, 2006 and 2008. A late April Siena poll showed him at 23 percent in the Republican-leaning western New York district. The poll showed 36 percent of likely voters supporting Corwin and 31 percent favoring Hochul. Green Party candidate Ian Murphy trailed with 5 percent.

By ignoring clear evidence that is several weeks old that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Partier -- up to and including contributions to political candidates whose philosophies are diametrically opposed to the Tea Party's Constitution-based, sensible conservatism -- and by saving the inconvenient truth about Davis's Democratic Party candidacies until the final paragraph, Thompson's work comes across as an opportunistic attempt to smear legitimate Tea Party activists as supporters of an unhinged candidate prone to thuggishness. If not, Carolyn, why did you write your report as you did, and why did you ignore the volumes of evidence discrediting Jack Davis's legitimacy?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.