The founder of the Hampton Roads Tea Party Monday endorsed GOP's Ben Loyola for congress in a move that could test the new activists' political horsepower.
Karen Miner Hurd said Loyola best represents the principles of conservatives that Tea Partiers like her represent.
The Tea Party officials either know something about Loyola's strength at the polls that we don't, or Ms. Hurd is putting her neck on the line which in effect will test Tea Party strength in Tidewater.
Win or lose, the results will be interpreted as being for or against the Tea Party.
Either way June 8's primary is going to get real interesting.
Loyola was born in Cuba. His family fled the repressive communist government of Fidel Castro when he was a baby.
Loyola loathes socialism and Obama's brand of Obummerism. A self-made successful entrepreneur, Loyola is a patriot whose voice cracks and eyes begin to tear up as he talks of his love for America and the U.S. Constitution.
A grad of the U.S. Navy Academy, he is a retired Navy pilot who unflinchingly supports the military.
His beliefs, background, and campaign pushes all of the Tea Party's hot button.
His closest opponent pollsters believe is car dealer Scott Rigell, anointed as the GOP's establishment candidate.
Rigell has taken heat from hardcore right-wingers for a $1,000 contribution to Obama, support for 22% sales tax hike and a system of an regional government that would have given taxing power to an unelected.
Nevertheless Rigell has corralled a number of top Republican endorsements, nationally, statewide, and locally.
Even Gov. Bob McDonnell has endorsed Rigell in the primary race. This reporter has covered VA politics since 1966 and is unable to recall a single time a sitting governor has gotten involved in local politics openly before a nominee has been selected.
Asked if those kind of endorsement deviations are indicative of problems with Rigell campaign, a top official said, "The top is a little shaky." Asked if he'd ever known of a previous incident of a sitting governor getting involved in a local campaign, he replied, "Never."
Loyola and Rigell are in a 6-way race for the June 8 primary. Other candidates are Scott Taylor, Bert Mizusawa, Ed Maulbeck, and Jessica Sandlin.
The winner of that contest will not only face Democrat 1st term incumbent Glenn Nye, but Kenny Golden, former chairman of the local GOP, who because he felt the party deck had been stacked against him, dropped out of the primary to run as an independent.
He's yearning for a Rigell victory because he thinks he'll easily overwhelm both him and Nye.
A recent push poll for Rigell only included Loyola and Mizusawa among the questions asked about Rigell.
There's no question Rigell has party's national support, more than adequate funding, and is the recipient of professional party grooming and training.
The rank and file Republicans cover the spectrum. Many support Rigell, but just as many are opting for Loyola and Taylor, rebelling against what they feel is unnatural national and state party interference.
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