From The Shark Tank, a Florida-based publication covering politics in the Sunshine State:

Florida Tea Party Spills its Tea

June 23, 2010 Florida Review No Comments

The Shadowy Florida ‘Political’ Tea Party is continuing their deceptive tactics by recruiting actual Tea Party or other ‘supporters’ to run for elected office.  The Shark Tank has been monitoring this group with a very close eye and we’ve written some about the confusion that they are causing (see “Tea Party Tempest“).  Much murkiness surrounds this political party, and the purpose they are serving is very dubious.

The Florida Tea Party Party was founded by Mr. Fred O’Neal, a registered Democrat, and it is heavily supported by  Orlando area consultant Doug Guetzloe.  Many tea party activists and politicos have been doubtful about Mr. O’Neal and company’s motives, and legitimate questions remain as to whether they are  working with the Democrat Party to help split the Republican vote in November’s election.

Guetzloe has come under fire lately by District 8 Congressional candidate Bruce O’Donoghue, when it revealed that ultra-liberal Congressman Alan Grayson was paying Guetzloe for ad space on his radioshow. (See “Republican Candidate Claims Florida Tea Party A ‘Sham’“)

“I will not stand for the way (incumbent Democrat) Alan Grayson is using this political party to further his own political career,” O’Donoghue said.  O’Neal wrote back to O’Donoghue and said the following:

“You’ve picked a fight that’s going to cost you. … I now have a grudge with you.”

O’Neal continued: “If you ever again in your lifetime decide to run for any other public office … I’m going to personally make sure there is a Tea Party nominee on the ballot opposing you.”

So we now have Mr. O’Neal on the record admitting that he would put up an candidate solely out of spite. Is this what is happening now with Tea Party candidate Peg Dunmire?   O’Donoghue is running in a contested Republican primary race with several other candidates and one actual Tea Party candidate, Dunmire.

The Florida GOP is also questioning the third party. State Senator and Florida GOP Boss John Thrasher commented on this issue the other day.

“The recent flurry of last minute filings by so –called “tea party candidates” looks awfully suspicious,” said GOP Chairman John Thrasher in a statement. “While a few tea-party candidates across the state do have ties to the tea party movement, in the majority of instances, it appears that the Democrats have coordinated a dishonest attempt to hide phony candidates behind the name “tea party” and to confuse voters who may be supportive of the tea party movement, effectively stealing votes from true conservative candidates and injuring the grassroots tea party movement as a whole.” (Full Story)

Does this political party have an ulterior motive?  It sure looks that way, as they continue to field candidates that they know will take votes away from Republicans.