All over the country, the Republican Party is running up against far-right "tea party" candidates, often to hilarious results. As I have pointed out, the GOP/Tea Party rift tends to divide the right side of the political spectrum, all to the benefit of the Left/Democrats.
It's no different here in North Carolina. The GOP is attacking the tea party's man who (if the GOP is correct) is kind of a loon:
North Carolina Republicans are circulating court documents that suggest a far-right Tea-Party-backed congressional candidate claimed to be the Messiah, tried to raise his stepfather from the dead, believed God would drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid as the New Jerusalem on Greenland, and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona.
Tim D'Annunzio also has written that he wants to abolish several key government departments, including the IRS. But there's more going on here than just another wacky conservative politician. The effort by GOP leaders to stop D'Annunzio at all costs offers an intriguing test case of their ability to keep control of the party in the face of challenges from the Tea Party wing. Or as D'Annunzio himself has put it: "The power brokers in Raleigh and in Washington are willing to go to any length and use any unscrupulous tactic to try to destroy somebody. They think that they're losing their control over the Republican party."
D'Annunzio is seeking the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) this fall. He was the leader in a primary earlier this month, but didn't win enough of the vote to avoid a runoff in June. The state and national party is backing his opponent, former T.V. sportscaster Harold Johnson. And how.
"I consider Mr. D'Annunzio unfit for public office at any level," Tom Fetzer, the North Carolina GOP chair, told reporters recently. "What he could do to the party as our nominee is secondary in my view to what he could do to the country if he got elected." And a spokesman for the NRCC said: "The issue is, do we give Democrats a candidate that they can absolutely tear apart in the general election? I don't think most Republicans want to see that happen."
To undermine D'Annunzio, the state GOP has been circulating records from his 1995 divorce and from a 1998 child support judgment. In the latter, as the Charlotte Observer reported Sunday, the judge called D'Annunzio "a self-described religious zealot," and wrote that D'Annunzio had "described the government as the 'Antichrist'."
In the divorce case, Anne D'Annunzio said her husband had told her that "God was going to drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid" on Greenland, and also that he had found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona, among other unusual beliefs.
In addition, a doctor wrote in the custody proceedings that D'Annunzio told him he had once received treatment for heroin dependence, and was jailed three times for offenses that included burglary and assaulting a police officer.
D'Annunzio says his personal problems are in all in the past. But the Born Again candidate still has some pretty extreme political ideas. On a blog he writes, entitled "Christ's War," D'Annunzio declared earlier this year that he wanted to "abolish the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Energy, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Transportation, Treasury, and Home Land Security," and the IRS, as well as "any appellate court that has shown an anti Constitutional activism." He also advocated giving control of Social Security and Medicare to the states.
I would love it if D'Annunzio won the GOP nomination. Sadly, I don't think it will happen.