Rumors swirl over Tea support
Northumberland County Circuit Court Clerk candidate Toni Allison was surprised to hear on Saturday rumors flying throughout the region that she had been endorsed by the Tea Party.
“I don’t even know who’s in the Tea Party,” she said Monday. “If it’s endorsed me, nobody has told me about it.”
At the Farmers’ Market in Heathsville on Saturday several people in the local Democratic Committee’s booth said they’d heard it and wondered if it was so. Their party has not nominated anyone for the position but they were handing out literature for incumbent clerk Debbie Bingham.
Northumberland County’s GOP Committee Chairman Dean Sumner said his organization had nominated Tom Tomlin for the position and Tomlin is running as a Republican. Indeed, Tomlin’s personal booth at the Farmers’ Market was set up next to the local GOP booth.
Sumner said he couldn’t figure out where the Tea Party issue could have started. Northumberland County doesn’t even have a Tea Party, he said. There is, however, a Montross Tea Party and a 99th District Tea Party but none in the county.
Sumner noted that while some members of his committee were also members of Tea Party groups, so far as he knew his committee was solidly behind Tomlin.
“They nominated him unanimously,” he said.
The idea may have started because the Northumberland Political Caucus is backing Allison.
That it would somehow be mistaken for the Tea Party is almost funny, one of the caucus’s leaders, Patrick O’Brien said Monday.
“We are the traditional conservatives,” he said. “The county Republican Committee is the local Tea Party.”
The caucus is made up of largely of Northumberland County Republicans who have differences with the balance of the GOP committee.
O’Brien himself resigned as chairman of the county’s Republican committee over the differences.
Bemused by the rumor, Allison said she had never been an active partisan and welcomes the votes of Tea Party members and anybody else.
“It’s not a political office,” she said of the clerk of court’s responsibilities.
Ellen Douglas is also running for the job.