The tea partiers who destroyed Scott Garrett

Most Tea Party members are good intentioned people who want to engage in political action to affect change.  Most hold generally conservative views.

Then there is the unacceptable face of the tea party.  These are the people who are there for the rage.  They show up to vent and to blame and they don't care about facts or ideology or consequences.

Republican Scott Garrett wasn't just the most conservative Congressman in New Jersey, he was the most conservative in the entire northeastern region of the country.  And he had a pretty safe seat too.  That is until he underwent the "death by a thousand cuts" treatment, courtesy of a few people who call themselves members of the tea party movement.

There are some people who will always find a reason to hate even the most consistently conservative elected official.  For them, if you have an A from the NRA or a 100 percent from AFP that simply means that the NRA or AFP is screwed up.  The reason for this is fairly straightforward:  These people want that elected official's job.  And it never occurs to them that they lack the qualifications or the skills or the support to achieve and hold it.  There are some people who look into a mirror and see, staring back at them, a congressman or a legislator.

There are some common elements.  Usually a recent financial or employment crisis has occurred -- a bankruptcy and loss of status -- as was the case with Mark Quick, when he began his jihad against Congressman Garrett seven years ago. 

Believe it or not, Mark Quick is a blue blood.  He claims his American ancestry goes back to the Mayflower.  But as Nathaniel Hawthorne observed, "Families are always rising and falling in America."  In Quick's case, they have been on a losing streak.  After serving a truncated stint with the Marine Corps, Quick went into business and farming.  Both ventures failed.  Then he tried his hand at politics.

Quick is a wildly optimistic opportunist of the "start at the top" variety.  His first attempt at public office was to run for Congress.  And it was not as a Republican, in a primary.  Quick went after Scott Garrett in a general election -- threatening the Congressman that he would "split his vote" and cause a Democrat to win.

Quick bad-mouthed and harassed anyone he thought connected with Garrett, including the women in his congressional staff.  Quick's behavior was so threatening that the police had to be brought into it.  His anger and frustration were evident too at a debate, where he appeared to be taking out his personal problems on the poor souls he was running against.

In that 2010 race, independent Mark Quick got 1,646 votes and came in behind the Green Party candidate with 2,347, the Democrat with 62,634, and Congressman Garrett with 124,030. 

The following year, Quick filed for bankruptcy and promptly announced his intention to run -- once again as an independent, not a Republican -- for the Assembly against Republicans John DiMaio and Erik Peterson of Legislative District 23.  Quick was deep into trashing these Republican incumbents with his usual rant, when the state redistricted Quick's hometown out of District 23 and into District 24. 

Quick didn't lose a beat.  He simply started saying the same things he was attacking DiMaio and Peterson about and applied it to Republicans Alison Littell McHose and Gary Chiusano of Legislative District 24.  It doesn't matter who holds the seat that Quick wants.  They all get the same trashing.  Quick came in last of six candidates, with 1,382 votes to top vote-getter Alison Littell McHose's 19,026. 

Others followed Quick's example, so that in the 2012 Republican primary, Congressman Garrett faced two minor candidates, each of which did their best to damage him.

Mark Quick ran in the general election that year -- once again as a third-party candidate -- but he dropped out to endorse a candidate in the Democrat Party primary.  The Democrat who Quick endorsed had the support of a special interest PAC run by Lyndon LaRouche, a notorious left winger and former head of the Marxist U.S. Labor Party.

In 2014, Quick was back at it again, proclaiming loudly that Scott Garrett wasn't conservative enough (even as Quick worked with Democrats to undermine him).  Running again as an independent, Quick siphoned a handful of votes away from Garrett, but not enough to throw the election to the Democrat.

Quick threatened runs for the Legislature, hinting strongly that he would hold off on running if he received a state job.  These threats were uniformly ignored, and an ever frustrated Quick became increasing violent in his language and actions.

In 2016, Congressman Garrett found himself facing his toughest challenge since winning the seat in 2002.  In the primary, two Quick-inspired candidates ripped at him and drove up the Congressman's negatives. 

Mark Quick drew distinctions between himself and Congressman Garrett, with Quick saying that he supported same-sex marriage while claiming to be the true conservative and Garrett an impostor.  The result was a terrible one for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement.  Quick greeted Garret's loss as a personal victory. 

During his career, Scott Garrett had a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 99.38%.  The next highest Republican has a rating of 69% and the lowest Republican 46%.  The best Democrat was 10.42% and the worst has 0%.  Now there is a liberal Clinton Democrat were once there was Scott Garrett.  We will probably not look on Congressman Garrett's like again.

And what about Mark Quick?  He announced today that he is running for Assembly against Republicans Parker Space and Hal Wirths.  This time Quick is running in a GOP primary as part of a ticket with Gail Phoebus and Dave Scapicchio.