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Government and Politics

Ohio's tea party faces the realities of money and name recognition
Both hurt Dave Joyce's tea party challenger, but political scientist Cohen says the faction isn't done yet -- if it thinks small

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M.L. Schultze
Dave Joyce had money and name recognition on his side in the GOP congressional primary.
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Pundits are calling Congressman David Joyce’s victory in Tuesday’s Republican Party primary a sign of the end of the tea party’s power. But WKSU’s M.L. Schultze says the numbers underlying that win may tell a different story.

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One-term incumbent Joyce beat tea party challenger Matt Lynch by about 10 percentage points.

That statistic is more than respectable -- until, says University of Akron political scientist David Cohen – you consider another one: Joyce had a roughly 15-1 advantage when it came to campaign spending – mirroring other GOP matchups in Tuesday primaries.

“Mainstream candidates just had a lot more money. And the tea party candidates, they just were seriously outspent. And to a great extent it was about name recognition, and they just couldn’t get over the top.”

But Cohen says he wouldn’t write off the tea party in Ohio, especially if it carries through on plans to focus on local races – school boards, township trustees and city councils – next year.

“If you want to be a serious force in politics, you start from the ground up, and those local races are much less expensive to run. … If they’re serious about doing it they could capture a lot of those smaller offices and work their way up.”

Joyce had been a county prosecutor. He won his first term in Congress when Steve LaTourette retired. LaTourette – who has started a group supporting moderate Republicans – was one of Joyce’s biggest backers. 

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