A challenge to Republican Governor John Kasich by the Tea Party was over before it even began. Southwest Ohio Tea Party activist Ted Stevenot decided not to run after it was discovered that his potential running mate, Brenda Mack, had tax issues, debt and other financial problems. The Tea Party says it still plans to put up another candidate to challenge Kasich, but Jo Ingles with the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau says the situation underscores the loss of political clout for the Tea Party.
Gov. Kasich is going to be tough to beat due to his ability to fundraise through the existing support of the Republican Party, according to Ingles. She says Stevenot's decision not to run highlights weakness within the party and in order to make the election competitive "[the Tea Party is] going to have to come up with a whole lot of money and they're going to have to have a whole lot of organization and they haven't been able to come up with that."
Moving forward, Ingles says the question will be whether or not the Tea Party will separate from the GOP, following the model of the liberal Green Party. If that happens, Ingles notes that it could then take votes away from Gov. Kasich, but that could also tip the scale in favor of the Democrats.
"The Tea Party is at a place right now where they need to make some hard decisions as to where to they go from here," says Ingles.