The Tea Partier Who Wasn’t
Jack Davis is a disgruntled businessman, not a committed conservative.


“My reasons for leaving the Republican party,” he explained, “were: I am anti-globalization, anti-free-trade, anti–offshoring of jobs, and anti-illegal-immigration. They were not.”

That year, he spent $2.25 million, and came within four percentage points of the incumbent Republican. But he lost.

Still, he kept smiling. “They can call me a kook or crazy or anything else,” Davis said, “but the results of my run for Congress did a lot of good” — that is, it forced Republicans to divert money from other races.

Committed to his new team, Davis ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, endorsed then-senator Barack Obama for president, and accepted $5,000 from Obama’s political action committee. But primary voters rejected Davis in favor of lawyer Alice Kryzan.

Now, Davis’s name sits on the ballot line marked “Tea Party” — a line he fabricated with the help of a petition-signature-gathering firm. Sure, Davis professes belief in low taxes, but he tosses the social-conservative agenda to the wind, and he views foreign policy through the eyes of a mercantilist. And on his signature issue, his hobbyhorse, his idée fixe — protectionism — he is just plain wrong.

— Brian Bolduc is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.