Trouble brewing between the Tea Party movement and the GOP?
Members of the Tea Party movement say they are not beholden to the GOP.
(Page 10 of 12)
"There are those who believe in bigger, more costly and more intrusive government," he said. "That's not what this country was intended to be. The Tea Party movement cuts across party lines, as there's more uniting us than separating us."Skip to next paragraph
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According to the Ipsos/Reuters poll, while 49 percent of Republicans said they identify with the Tea Party movement only 11 percent of Democrats said the same.
While there appear to be Tea Party-inspired candidates running as Republicans across the country, there is not yet a clear picture of just how many are out there.
"We've heard from a lot of them from around the country, but I don't think anyone has counted them yet," said JB Williams, who runs conservative web site www.freedomforce.us. "But we'll see more of them as the year goes on."
"This is a movement that is determined to enact change peacefully," he added. "But if someone tries to stop them, don't be surprised if they resort to other means."
Many others are getting involved in local politics to push fiscal conservatism, including at the precinct delegate level. Called a number of different things in different states, this is the lowest elected unit in both political parties. The average precinct represents 1,100 voters. They get out the vote and can influence candidate selection.
Selected in primaries, few people vote in these races.
"In some counties up to 60 percent of these slots are vacant," said Philip Glass, a commercial mortgage banker and national director of the National Precinct Alliance. This volunteer group is mapping the rules nationwide for becoming a precinct delegate to aid conservatives take these seats. "The tools for taking over both parties are just lying there waiting to be picked up," he said.
In Connecticut both parties use a town committee system. As a registered Republican, Tanya Bachand went to her Republican town committee and asked how to run. She was told three of the committee's 12 spots were vacant and was asked to take a seat.
"We have heard the same story many times from across the state," she said. "This is the way to take over the Republican party from the ground up."
Tea party conservatives are also paying attention to key races in other states. "Any race in the country can become a national race," said Tea Party Patriots' Meckler.
The movement has its sights set on a number of RINOs in this year's Senate races. They are backing Marco Rubio against Charlie Crist in Florida, Rand Paul (the son of Republican Congressman Ron Paul) against Trey Grayson in Kentucky, Mike Lee in Utah against incumbent Robert Bennett, Chuck DeVore against former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in California and, last but not least, J.D. Hayworth against McCain.