Rep. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.) successful Illinois Senate primary campaign against a truly weak field of GOP candidates is being interpreted as a blow to the “Tea Party movement.” I don’t think it is — it’s clear that Kirk headed off conservative anger by flip-flopping on cap-and-trade (he voted for it then spoke out against it) and swinging hard to the right, loudly asking for an endorsement from Sarah Palin.
The minor embarrassment for Tea Partiers was the campaign of Adam Andrzejewski, a first-time politician who spoke at an April 15, 2009 Tea Party and sold himself, explicitly, as that movement’s candidate.
In the final week of the campaign, he got the same sort of full-court-press boost from online conservatives that Scott Brown did in Massachusetts. RedState claimed that Andrzejewski’s internal polling showed him 2 points down, in striking distance for the win. Gateway Pundit, among other bloggers, scorched the media for not covering Andrzejewski’s 11th-hour endorsement from former Polish president Lech Walesa. On election night, HotAir illustrated its Illinois primary thread with a picture of Andrzejewski, making it clear that he was the movement’s candidate.
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Andrzejewski wound up in fifth place out of seven candidates, with 14.4 percent of the vote. Somehow, Illinois voters were able to resist this.
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