Senate candidate Chris McDaniel speaks to supporters during a Tea Party Express gathering at Fairpark in Tupelo, Miss., Saturday, June 21, 2014. McDaniel faces incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in Tuesday's run-off for the GOP senate nomination.(AP Photo/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Adam Robison) MANDATORY CREDIT
CBS Poll: 47% Say Tea Party Challengers Good For GOP
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A new CBS News poll says nearly half of self-identified Republicans believe a challenge from a tea party candidate is good for the GOP.
The poll finds 47 percent like the notion, but 35 percent say it's a bad thing. Here in Western New York, the leader of Erie County's Conservative Party agrees. "I think it's a struggle over ideology," says chairman Ralph Lorigo. "What conservatives want to see is Republicans be true to their base, be true to their core values, be true to the traditional values that put them in power in times when they are in power." Lorigo says a challenge from the tea party keeps Republicans true to their base values, which he doesn't see as a problem. Lorigo does wish there were more cooperation across the aisles.
Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner agrees with that assessment. "Our voters and residents reject that divisive politics," says Zellner. "I think the tea party is an extremist side that's taking over the Republican Party". He believes gridlock and divisiveness are because people who think they were elected by the tea party wave and "not budging, not cooperating, not working across the aisle, and you're seeing some get 'primaried' by someone who thought they were cooperating too much."
He says tea party challengers are helping Democrats because "we seem to be a good idea to more conservative voters who see we mean business."
Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy did not return our calls for comment.