The reputations of Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat have been harmed by the revelation that the two were involved in an extramarital affair and cover up.
The Tea Party may have suffered collateral damage, says Grassroots in Michigan editor Joan Fabiano. She says the party is vetting candidates to replace Courser and Gamrat.
"The opinion of a lot of people in the Tea Party is that they should resign," Fabiano said. "The credibility with their constituents is really damaged beyond repair, and the loss of public trust is immeasurable."
Fabiano says she thinks there will be some impact on the 2016 election, but it will be minimal. "These two people are only two people in the whole Tea Party movement. They are not the totality of the Michigan Tea Party," she said.
It's time to move forward and focus on Michigan's policy issues again, Fabiano says. The Michigan Republican Party's Sarah Anderson agrees. "This has become a distraction," she said.
Anderson says the two representatives are also becoming distracting from their duties to their constituents. "We need to get back to doing the business of those tax payers," she said. "They're not here, they're not doing that. They're dealing with this scandal."
Republican Senator Rick Jones says this situation is reflecting badly on all elected officials. "Some people, when they get elected, are like kids in the candy store, they think they can do anything and get away with it," Jones said. "They don't realize, as an elected official, you live in a glass box. Everybody knows everything you do."
CEO of public relations firm Truscott Rossman Kelly Rossman-McKinney says republicans have a decision to make in the wake of this scandal. "The challenge is do you help prop them up and help them repair their own damage, or are you so disgusted by their behavior that you shun them?" Rossman-McKinney said. For the Tea Party, she says not distancing itself from the two lawmakers could cause serious reputation problems.
"These are two of the most recognizable representatives carrying the party banner," she said. "For them to violate some of the fundamental standards that the tea party supports is the height of hypocrisy and does not serve the tea party well."
Anderson says she does not think the situations will not negatively impact the Republican Party during the next election. "I'm actually hoping that it unifies us," she said, "That we can get back to the issue here which is winning elections for Republicans and moving our state forward."