Tea Party leaders release list of targeted races at FreedomWorks summit

More than 60 Tea Party leaders from across the country — originating from more than two dozen states — gathered over the weekend in Washington, D.C., to develop 2010 midterm plans at a leadership summit hosted by former Republican Rep. Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks.

Bound by a passion for smaller government, and most recently their opposition to President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, some of the leaders are part of a well-oiled political action committee. Others merely run a Facebook page.

Tea Party activists from Florida spoke of defeating Gov. Charlie Crist, an “enemy of liberty” in his bid for the U.S. Senate. Bob Porto, an activist from Arkansas, said Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s “election year conservative will not work” in his state. He blamed her for her “60th vote” for Obama’s health-care bill.

Others praised “champions of freedom” like Republicans Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Rand Paul in Kentucky, running for Senate seats.

At the summit, FreedomWorks released their targeted list of 65 congressional races across the country. Matt Kibbe, president and chief executive of the group, said members aren’t just going after Democrats, they’re aiming to promote “better candidates” for the Republican primaries too.

They’ve labeled eight congressional races as “top-tier” targets. In Florida, they are gunning for Marco Rubio to win the Republican primary against Crist and in Nevada they want to take down Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. In Pennsylvania, Toomey is their man, as is Paul in Kentucky.

They’ve also targeted Rep. Bobby Bright in Alabama, Rep. Vic Snyder in Arkansas, Rep. Alan Grayson in Florida and Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio — all Democratic incumbents.

“We want to see tax and spend incumbents challenged in their districts,” Kibbe said.

Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots said these grassroots activists are more likely to be talking economics than any social or cultural topics that have dominated Republican politics in the past. When she’s asked why the Tea Party groups aren’t bigger proponents of cultural issues — for example, abortion or gay marriage — she said she politely says there are other “great groups” that do that.

Adam Brandon, spokesman for FreedomWorks, concurred, saying that “to be powerful, you have to unify both fiscal and social conservatives” but that “right now where the country is,” people are concerned with economic issues such as “the deficit and the economy.”

Critics of the Tea Party groups have accused the movement of being fabricated from the top down and the weekend’s tightly organized summit begs the question: Is the Tea Party movement a legitimate grassroots group or is it — as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs once said — Astroturf?

Brandon dismissed the notion of the movement being centrally led, saying the organization just views itself “as a service center” for grassroots groups across the country.

“There’s not one but thousands of leaders. I think they look to us because we provide them a service,” he said.

While the organization has put on training events throughout its 20-year history, Brandon said this “is the first leadership summit of the Tea Party era.”

“That’s our model, people come to us and ask for help and we help them with that,” he said.

This weekend’s FreedomWorks conference included workshops for the activists on effective television techniques, the mastering of social media and even “what you can and can’t say: how to stay out of jail this year.”

  • tomdoff

    The teabaggers, despite their disclaimers, are an offshoot of the democratic party. In fact, they are identical. These are the only two parties that have only leaders, no followers.

  • tomdoff

    The teabaggers, despite their disclaimers, are an offshoot of the republican party. In fact, they are identical. These are the only two parties that have no leaders.

  • richardhead

    I don’t mean to sound naive but what is the difference between the Tea Parties and the Tea Pary Patriots?

    And why is there no uproar about the resent SCOTUS ruling? Is it inline with Tea Party ideals?

  • tomdoff

    The Tea Partiers are targeting the White race and the Black race. They were thinking of targeting the Brown race, until one of their consultants came to her senses and realized the Brown race would be the majority by the time the next election rolls around, due to the holey fence.

  • oldguy5

    Subject: An idea whose time has come

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn’t pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being considered…in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States “.

    • hurtzallot

      1 in office.
      1 in PRISON!

  • sgtrelic

    The tea party movement is indeed a grassroots force. Although I have been part of it since the beginning, I don’t recognize any of these good folks as leaders. Disseminators of information perhaps, but leader connotes someone I have chosen to follow and that is not what is happening.

    Keep it simple. Keep it decentralized and put aside the egos, titles, and claims to foundership. Nobody founded this movement, although it could be said that Rick Santelli set it in motion. Our strength comes from giving the leftists no one to run Alinsky’s rule #11 against. “Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.”

  • luvathescissors

    in washington state, the newspapers still call us tea baggers. it really is classless. when the show a picture in the paper or on the news, they show a very small smattering of people at the fringe of the group not the whole group. you are there and you know how large the groups are and the really don’t show the trueth on the news. its disgusting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brendan-Foy/100000424348074 Brendan Foy

      Don’t worry, after what happened in Mass. the Tea Party will have to be taken seriously now. The media and liberals are running around in circles while pointing fingers at one another over that one. Brown was a major victory for the tea party movement so the newspapers will take us seriously now. Instead of marginalizing us, they will outright attack us and that kind of venom will only make us stronger.

  • shrinkthestate


  • thebigodoopedu2

    Funny how suddenly the Tea Party is taken seriously and most likely will NOT take any more insulting comments from our pin headed president. The Tea Party is a serious grass roots movement against RADICAL politics on both sides of our political red and blue spectrum. Only an idiot would continue to think the Tea Party movement consists of far right wing conservatives…the fact is they are both democrat and republican and independents and conservatives of all faiths that are demanding accountability and to abolish radicalism, far right and left politics. We should all be supporting this grassroots movement. If your not angry with out government there is something wrong with you.