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Liz Lauber, a married, 43-year-old mother of one from Kirkwood, is challenging Todd Akin for the Republican nomination in CD 2 (West St. Louis County and St. Charles). She wants to offer Republicans a “clear choice” because he is not tea partyish enough.

Lauber, under the misapprehension that the term “tea party” refers to an occurrence in Boston in 1773 rather than to a meeting that Alice had with two insane but crafty animals in Wonderland, is pushing her t.p. bona fides by touting her contribution to the campaign of Doug Hoffman in NY 23. Hoffman is challenging the anointed Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, for a seat that has never gone to a Democrat–but that might possibly do so if Hoffman roils the waters enough. The New York tea partiers hate Scozzafava because she is soft on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and taxes.

Akin isn’t soft on any of those issues. In fact, he bragged at Cynthia Davis’s town hall last week that he voted against the bank bailout under Bush, not to mention Obama’s stimulus package, of course. Still, Lauber asserts that: “‘Todd Akin calls himself a “conservative with a soft edge,” and I consider myself ‘an edgy conservative.'” I suppose anyone who’s been in D.C. since 2000 is liable to face the same insider charges that Purgason is aiming at Blunt and that Sarah Steelman threw at Hulshof. But still. Soft? Akin is about as soft as a piece of cloven granite. It should be interesting to see what an edgier-than-Akin candidate believes.

And in the meantime, we can rest assured that since Akin has a challenger from his right flank, Missouri has achieved, in my colleague Michael Bersin’s phrase, “peak wingnut.”