Republicans for D’Ippolito: Real or Hype?
Fringe candidate Tamyra D’Ippolito, obviously enjoying her moment in the sun, is telling anyone who asks that she’ll turn in enough signatures to become the Indiana Democratic Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate. (She’s also informing anyone who asks that she’s got a tenuous grip on reality, accusing Democrats of a secret plot to junk the sure-thing Bayh candidacy for a bid by Rep. Baron Hill, a plot she calls “Indianagate.”)
But is she simply spinning everyone? And is there actually a Republican/conservative effort to help her on the ballot, as encouraged by Erick Erickson of RedState? The evidence is strong for the former and weak for the latter. For starters, D’Ippolito claimed last week that she was 1,000 signatures short of the 4,500 minimum — 500 per congressional district — for ballot access. Even if she’s barely over the hump now, any election guru will tell you that you need a serious cushion to make sure you really qualify for the ballot. And that’s especially true when, as here, there’s a bad-faith effort to help the struggling candidate.
Here’s a recent example. In 2006, Pennsylvania Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli was going nowhere in his quest to get on the ballot in the U.S. Senate race between Bob Casey and Rick Santorum. He got help from Republican Party volunteers and nabbed 94,544 signatures. But when Democrats challenged the signatures, they found 69,622 of them to be invalid, and Romanelli was kicked off the ballot.
It’s hard to know what D’Ippolito will actually turn in, because, simply put, she doesn’t tell the truth — she claims that she’s the first female U.S. Senate candidate in Indiana history (Jill Long Thompson was the first in 1986) and that there’s a conspiracy to stop her. But talking with Tea Party activists yesterday, I found a lot of awareness of the bad-faith campaign to get her on the ballot, but no one who was heading out into the snow to do it. One Indianapolis activist passed on the RedState alert email she’d gotten and said most of her friends considered it amusing — they had a tough time convincing themselves that they could compromise their principles to help a fringe left-wing candidate.
On her Twitter feed, D’Ippolito is embracing the support: