On paper, you would think that the Tea Party in Brooklyn would support Brooklyn/Queens Rep. Bob Turner’s Senate candidacy, given that he’s the party’s hometown congressman. But over the weekend, the organization somewhat surprisingly instead decided to back Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.
In an interview, the head of the Brooklyn Tea Party, Joseph Hayon, said that while all three GOP Senate candidates had some support, the decision had in large part come down to the fact that Maragos decided to come speak to his organization, while neither of Maragos’ opponents, Turner or Wendy Long, had paid similar tribute.
“One of the biggest complaints Tea Parties have is that in general, elected officials take us for granted,” Hayon said. “[Maragos] was willing to humble himself to get Tea Party support.”
There is also an alternative theory floating around. Though Hayon was an early supporter of Turner’s congressional bid in 2011, Orthodox Pundit says that Hayon, who is a strident opponent of same-sex marriage, was disillusioned by Turner’s reluctance to campaign on the gay marriage issue during his 2011 congressional special election race, in the wake of the legalization of gay marriage in New York. (Turner did bring up the issue during his unsuccessful 2010 bid for Congress.)
Hayon says gay marriage did play a role in the Brooklyn Tea Party’s endorsement decision – because Maragos is the only candidate to publicly back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage – but insisted that no “payback” against Turner was involved.
As a side note, Hayon says he believes Maragos is likely to eventually get the backing of the National Organization for Marriage, as the only one of the three candidates who has publicly backed the idea of an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.
In an interview, Maragos said it would be “premature” to state that NOM was locked down, and said he would be publicly rolling out more endorsements in June.
In other Republican U.S. Senate primary news, Maragos says a debate has been scheduled for June 19th in Erie County, while the details of a planned NY1 debate are still being hammered out.
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