Jillian Bandes

Crazy old Alan Grayson is enjoying the spoils of a third party candidate who insists that she’s not a third party candidate.

Peg Dunmire is running for Congress under the name of a political organization called the TEA Party. Under this designation, Dunmire is winning six percent of the vote in Florida’s eighth Congressional district against Democrat Alan Grayson and Republican Daniel Webster, according to a recent poll. Florida political operatives say she could win as much as ten percent on Election Day simply because Florida conservatives will see the word “TEA” on the ballot and vote for her.

Whether it’s six or ten percent, Dunmire is squarely within striking distance of Republican Dan Webster. After all, Dunmire’s supporters are conservatives — people who will choose to vote for her instead of Webster. Democrat Alan Grayson can simply sit back, relax, and let the Republican base divide itself.

Dunmire, a 63-year old grandmother and consultant, is resentful at the suggestion that she might be dividing the base, or that she is the member of a subversive third party. This is in sharp contrast to most third party candidates who will typically be frank about simply trying to push certain issues or influence a major party candidate in a given contest.

“You’re repeating exactly what the Republican mantra is: going to siphon off the votes, you’re going to be a spoiler,’” she said in an interview, when asked about the possibility of her splitting the vote. “That’s Republican jargon, that’s their view.”

Dunmire claims that the Republican Party is more intimidated by a third party called the TEA Party than they are of Democrat Alan Grayson winning re-election.

“This two-party system is only about power — not about solving our country’s problems. It is power, power, power,” said Dunmire. “What I talk about is taking power away from the legislators and giving it back to the people. And that is absolutely not what the Republican Party wants to do.”

Lew Oliver, Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party in the 8th District, is incredulous that Dunmire is so opposed to a two-party system, because she ran in the GOP primary there until it became clear that she was going to lose.

“This apparent revelation (that the two-party system is about power) only struck her when it became clear that she was going to lose miserably within the two party system. So she effectively took her marbles — the tiny few of them she had — and went home,” said Oliver.

“She is a miserable failure as a candidate, and her ego has driven her to a third party, so she can remain relevant. She has no chance of winning.”

Webster puts it a little more simply.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com