It was easy to tell what the Tea Party was against today. With signs and chants, they objected to President Obama and Richard Blumenthal, the man the president is trying to help elect to the U.S. Senate.
But translating that opposition into support for Republican Linda McMahon, who was, at best, their second choice in the GOP primary, is a tougher sell for some backers of the Tea Party movement.
“We’re done picking the least objectionable candidate,” said Deborah Stevenson of Roxbury, who wore a button with the message, “No Blumen Way.”
A few protesters waved McMahon signs outside the Stamford Marriott, where Obama hosted a fundraiser for Blumenthal. More plentiful were signs and buttons in opposition to Obama, Blumenthal any other congressional Democrat.
“There are folks who will come out and be vocal against Blumenthal, but not do much for Linda McMahon,” said Bob MacGuffie of Fairfield, the organizer of the protest. “That’s the way it is.”
A McMahon campaign worker wandered the crowd with a clipboard, asking if they wanted to sign up with the campaign. Some politely declined, turned off by McMahon’s stated willingness to reach across the aisle in Washington.
But Ronald E. Wilcox of Newtown, an organizer of a group called the Tea Party Patriots, told the worker, “I support Linda.”
Wilcox called himself a pragmatist, a conservative willing to vote for the best-available candidate, even if she fell short by some standards. With Blumenthal and McMahon, he said, the choice wasn’t hard.
“She’s not the ideal candidate,” said Wilcox, who supported Peter Schiff in the primary.
Wilcox said the only Republican primary winner with across-the-board support of Tea Party activists is Martha Dean, who is trying to succeed Blumenthal as attorney general.