by Joel B. Pollak 5 May 2014, 5:59 AM PDT

Republican Art Moore's last-minute entry into the primary race against incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock in California's 4th congressional district is being widely perceived as an attempt to target the Tea Party, of which McClintock has been a key supporter during his three terms in Washington. Moore, a military veteran and businessman who has never voted before, is subtly portraying himself as a moderate Republican alternative.

Christopher Cadelago of the Sacramento Bee notes in a profile of Moore published Monday: "Although the challenger cast himself as every bit as conservative, he said voters are not so much looking for a representative whose every position they agree with as much as someone who gives them the best chance at a functional government. Moore said, unlike McClintock, he would not have voted last year to shut down the government."

McClintock's campaign has alleged that Moore is coordinating with Democrats, and that he persuaded several Democrats not to run, in order to give him a better chance of beating McClintock in one of California's last few Republican districts. The Moore campaign denies that accusation, but admits that Moore did meet with another candidate, independent Jeffrey Gerlach, in an effort to persuade him to pull out of the race, Cadelago reports.

Moore, in an effort to capture the anti-incumbent mood of the state, casts himself as a political outsider: "Who do you think the Founding Fathers would choose in this election, me or Tom McClintock? I think they would choose me," Cadelago quotes him as saying. The voters of the 4th district are the ones who will decide, and their choice will now be closely watched around the nation as an indication of the Tea Party's political strength.