When Election 2010 came and went, we thought the highest-profile losers – most of them Republican tea partyers – might fade quietly into oblivion. Not this group, for the most part. At least one is writing a book, a couple are launching political action committees, and one is already running for office again. One is under federal investigation, and another still isn’t completely finished contesting the 2010 race.
1. Christine O’Donnell
Ms. O’Donnell, who lost her Senate race in Delaware to New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D), is still not a witch. But she is reportedly under investigation by federal authorities for possible misuse of campaign funds. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported a criminal probe looking into whether she used campaign money to pay personal expenses.
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Late Wednesday, O’Donnell’s campaign called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and suggested a coordinated effort to crush O’Donnell politically. “We’ve been warned by multiple high-ranking Democrat insiders that the Delaware Democrat and Republican political establishment is jointly planning to pull out all the stops to ensure I would never again upset the apple cart,” O’Donnell said in her own statement.
O’Donnell has also started a political action committee, called Christine PAC, modeled after Sarah Palin’s Sarah PAC. O’Donnell has said she will use her PAC as a political home base from which to endorse and donate to candidates, pay for independent campaign ads, and lobby on issues.
In another Palin-esque move, O’Donnell has signed a book deal. According to her publisher, St. Martin’s Press, the book will “take the reader behind the scenes of her race for the Senate and embody O’Donnell’s identification with America’s frustrations and concerns with the current political climate.” Release is slated for August 2011.
2. Joe Miller
The Fairbanks, Alaska, attorney stunned the political world in August by defeating incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in the GOP primary. But Senator Murkowski leapt to action, taught voters how to spell her last name, more or less, and waged an apparently successful write-in campaign to defeat both Mr.Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Supreme Court confirmed Murkowski’s victory by more than 10,000 votes, clearing the way for her election to be certified and for her to be sworn in on Jan. 5 with the other new senators. But Miller is not completely giving up. Though he did not contest certification, so that seniority would not be affected, he is still fighting in federal court. Miller is claiming that state election officials awarded votes to Murkowski based on inaccurate spellings of her name – though a reasonable interpretation of “voter intent” has always been the standard, not perfect spelling. And even if all the misspelled ballots were tossed, Miller would still lose.
Some Republicans give Miller points for doggedness. But others tag him as a sore loser, and says he’s damaging his chances at a future run for office.
3. Sharron Angle
Ms. Angle, who lost to unpopular Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) in Nevada’s Senate race, has dropped hints she may run for office again – the House, the Senate, or something else – but has not announced anything yet.
In mid-December, she launched a new tea party group, called the Patriot Caucus, which will start by opening offices in several states key to the presidential nominating process – Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire – plus Florida. Offices in other battleground states will follow. The political action committee aims to help conservatives running for president, House, and Senate.
In announcing the group on her Facebook page Dec. 13, Angle declared that the only thing more depressing than the results of the 2010 elections (presumably her loss, not the GOP’s landslide victory in taking over the House) is “the thought of President Obama being re-elected in 2012.”
“To that end, The Patriot Caucus will serve as an organizing and educational hub for all those who are interested in being active in politics and government – and especially for those who wish to see a grass-roots conservative in the White House in January of 2013!” Angle writes.
4. Ken Buck
Having won an upset in the GOP primary, Mr. Buck seemed poised for victory against appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) of Colorado. But one gaffe after another – and a wild governor’s race that appeared to damage Republican prospects among Hispanics – sank the campaign of this district attorney from Weld County.
Since the election, Buck has been lying low. His name did appear in the news right before Christmas, when the Associated Press reported that a Weld County judge had ordered the destruction of tax documents connected with an investigation into identity theft by illegal immigrants. The investigation, which was led by Buck, had already been halted by the state Supreme Court. The AP reports that Buck’s probe marked the first time authorities had tried to use tax returns, which are confidential, to prosecute people suspected of being illegal immigrants.
5. Carl Paladino
By the time Mr. Paladino lost to Andrew Cuomo in New York’s gubernatorial race, he was well out of the running. A series of gaffes and displays of temperament unbecoming a governor destroyed his chances. On election night, after losing 61-34, the wealthy tea-party-backed businessman from Buffalo said “no more elections,” but vowed to remain a voice for change in New York.
Nearly two months after Election Day, Paladino has raised his head publicly a few times. First, he wrote a widely distributed letter to a New York TV host, Liz Benjamin, complaining that an interview she did with Mr. Cuomo wasn’t tough enough. Then he wrote a letter, also posted on his Facebook page, to the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation about the economic struggles of Buffalo, critical of local leaders for failing to bring Bass Pro Shop to the area. One might suspect Paladino is considering a run for mayor of Buffalo, but he did say the governor’s race would be his first and last campaign.
6. Alvin Greene
Mr. Greene isn’t a tea partyer or even a Republican, but we can’t resist reporting an update. The unemployed Army veteran who somehow won the Democratic nomination for Senate in South Carolina (and was soundly defeated by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in the general) is running again – this time for state representative.
Greene is competing in a special election to replace the late state Rep. Cathy Harvin. He faces two established Democrats in the Feb. 15 primary, and is considered the underdog. Greene paid his $165 filing fee on Dec. 24, according to the State newspaper. Greene lost his Senate race by more than 30 points.