THE BLOG
06/24/2010 11:53 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Democratic 'Pollster' Doubles as Tea Party Candidate?

Well, here's a story you don't read every day: A pollster for Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is running as a Florida Tea Party candidate for the Florida legislature. Roll Call's Nathan Gonzales has the truth-is-stranger than fiction full story:

On Friday, Victoria Torres, 44, of Orlando qualified to run as a Tea Party candidate in state House district 51 in the last hours of the qualifying period.

A call to Torres was returned by Nick Egoroff, communications director for the Florida Tea Party, who described Torres as a "quasi-paralegal assistant who works in a law office." But apparently, Torres is also a pollster.

According to records from the Florida Department of State office, Torres incorporated Public Opinion Strategies Inc. in December 2008. In the first quarter of this year, Grayson's campaign made two payments to her firm, totaling $11,000, for polling and survey expenses.

The whole story is a bit murky but the gist of the conspiracy theory is that Democrats like Grayson want to assist the organization known as the Florida Tea Party field candidates in the fall elections, rather than in Republican primaries, in order to divide the Republican vote. You can judge for yourself by reading the full piece, but Gonzales has gathered evidence of a lot of odd coincidences.

As for candidate Torres' work as a pollster, Gonzales got a Grayson spokesman to confirm that the House candidate is the same person who did polling for Grayson as a "side business," but could find no further evidence that her company had done polling for anyone else. He also reports that Torres was one of three Grayson pollster, adding, "the use of multiple pollsters simultaneously in the same cycle is highly uncommon for a Congressional candidate."

Yes it is.

Also, as Gonzales explains, "Public Opinion Strategies" is also the name of one of the "largest and best known" DC-based Republican polling firms, led by Glen Bolger, Bill McInturff, Neil Newhouse and a long list of partners. His article includes what for us is easily the quote of the day:

"We definitely do not poll for Democrats, nor do we have an office in Orlando," said Glen Bolger of the Virginia-based POS. "However, we do wish Congressman Grayson the worst of luck in November."

It's a strange story that's definitely worth reading in full.