California GOP Senate candidate Orly Taitz, a Moldovan-born immigrant, dentist and lawyer best known for her campaign to expose President Barack Obama's supposed Kenyan birthplace, could be headed for a shocking finish in the Golden State's primary on Tuesday.
Recent polling has shown her among the top contenders in a swollen field of 23 candidates vying for a chance to take on Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November. Some surveys have even placed her at the top of a pack that includes 14 Republicans. Thanks to California's revamped primary format, however, all she'll need is a second-place finish, as the top two primary finishers of any party are now guaranteed a spot on the ballot this fall.
Such an accomplishment would be a shock to the state's Republican party and broader electoral system, which was revised in hopes of producing moderate candidates, but now could instead provide the self-avowed queen of the birthers a chance to topple the 78-year-old Feinstein. State Republicans were quick to admit to the San Francisco Chronicle, however, that Taitz has little to no shot of actually winning a statewide election.
As John Avlon, a columnist who has debated Taitz on the birther issue, writes at the Daily Beast:
In other words, [she's] nut-balls. Orly Taitz as a candidate for U.S. Senate would make Christine O’Donnell look like Henry Clay. She would make Sharron Angle look like Daniel Webster. Donald Trump seems a model of restraint by comparison.
This is funny, but it’s also sad. This is what happens when you burn down the big tent. The sideshow takes over.
While it's easy to dismiss Taitz's entire candidacy as some sort of laughingstock concocted by a belligerent fringe candidate, her following is enthusiastic. Though she's managed to miss a filing deadline to submit her FEC reports by over a week and counting, on Tuesday her support expanded to include an endorsement from the Santa Barbara News-Press. And on Monday, she advertised her campaign platform, which withholds mention of birther beliefs until its twelfth and final plank. The rest of her initiatives look like typical Tea Party fodder, representing promises to fight taxes, spending and the EPA, as well as alleged election fraud and vote fixing.
However, just a day later, she posted a new video to the front page of her website. It's a 4-minute explainer, breaking down the conspiracy theories behind Obama's allegedly forged long-form birth certificate.
Voters will head to the polls across California on Tuesday, where polls are set to close at 11:00 p.m. EDT.