Last week, Charles Djou said he’s not a member of the Tea Party. Over the weekend, the national right-wing organization went ahead and endorsed him anyway.

The Tea Party Express announced its endorsement of Djou’s re-election bid in an e-mail blasted out to reporters Sunday. The endorsement comes with a $2,000 contribution to Djou’s campaign.

“We need Charles Djou in Congress if we are going to restore fiscal sanity to our country and put an end to the tax-spend-bailout policies of Nancy Pelosi,” said Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express, in the press release.

The New York Times included Djou on its list of Tea Party candidates as part of an Oct. 14 story about the nascent conservative political movement. Asked about the article, Djou told Civil Beat’s Chad Blair that he’s not a member of the Tea Party.

Djou stopped well short of embracing his endorsers, and his campaign said he did not seek the endorsement. But he certainly didn’t back away from the Tea Party Express, either.

“Congressman Djou has been a consistent and vocal advocate for fiscal responsibility and government accountability. As such, he has attracted support from many different individuals and groups with whom his message of ending spending as usual in Washington, D.C. resonates,” campaign spokesman Daniel Son said in an e-mail to Civil Beat when asked for Djou’s reaction.

“Charles is grateful and appreciative of the support he has received and will continue to fight for changing the direction of Congress.”

Djou hasn’t garnered support from every Tea Party leader. Earlier this month, Tea Party poster child Sarah Palin made a telephone endorsement of John Willoughby‘s candidacy in the 2nd Congressional District. She did not endorse Djou, and snubbed Civil Beat’s Katherine Poythress when she tried to ask why.

Djou has said he’ll be an independent voice in Congress, and points to issues on which he’s differed with his party: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and a moratorium on offshore oil drilling, to name two. It’s possible that an endorsement from Palin or others perceived to be hyper-conservative might do more harm than good in the historically liberal enclave of Hawaii, even in the current political climate.

About the Author