The George Allen for U.S. Senate campaign issued a press release on November 22 claiming the endorsement of over 100 Tea Party activists and leaders throughout the Commonwealth. The release also stated that the "Virginia Tea Party Patriots" endorsed George Allen for election to the Senate. (See release here: http://www.georgeallen.com/2011/11/6732/)
We have confirmed that a number of people identified in the release did not give an endorsement to George Allen. Among this group were two members of the JATP. Because each person's name had the name its Tea Party affiliation printed beneath it, we are concerned this could be misinterpreted as our direct or de-facto endorsement of George Allen. The JATP does not endorse political candidates.
Also, the press release was titled "Virginia Tea Party Patriots Endorse George Allen for U.S. Senate". The name the Allen campaign gave to the collective group is highly coincidental because it is name of the Virginia federation to which the JATP and over 40 other Tea Party groups belong as members. That federation is the Virginia Tea Party Patriots.
Numerous and repeated efforts by the JATP to get a retraction and a public apology from the George Allen campaign have failed to yield results. While the JATP name and the names of our two members have been deleted from the current online version of the release (still posted on the Allen campaign web site), this internal action by itself is unacceptable.
The JATP calls for a statement from the Allen campaign to include a retraction of all incorrect endorsements, a clarification about the Virginia Tea Party Patriots, and a public apology to our group and all others that have been adversely affected by this incident.
The JATP maintains its firm policy to not issue candidate endorsements. Instead, we choose to empower the voter with information about our core principles, provide education about the issues and access to the candidates, and encourage the voter to formulate his or her own opinion. We are justifiably dismayed at the confusion caused by the George Allen for U.S. Senate campaign, and we expect full and immediate action by them to set the record straight.
Carole Thorpe, Chairwoman of the Jefferson Area Tea Party