The Tea Party Express has raised more than $50,000 over the past few days to target Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, whose last minute deal over abortion language in President Obama’s health-care bill allowed the legislation to pass, the Daily Caller has learned.
The group is in the production stage of developing ads for a major TV and radio blitz throughout Michigan starting April 6th. The group considers Stupak to be their No. 2 target, after Sen. Harry Reid.
“We expect to really juice up all these stops, and make ‘stupaking’ a household verb for putting a spotlight on a politician that sells out his own principles,” said a Tea Party Express staffer of the group’s bus trips across the country.
Stupak is facing both a primary challenge from a Democrat and several Republicans who are using his infamy among national conservatives to raise money. Most notable among the Republicans is Dan Benishek, a doctor who raised thousands in the hours after Stupak’s vote for the health-care bill. National Republicans say the nomination is Benishek’s to lose.
Stupak’s spokesman did not return a request for comment. But political experts have said actually defeating him in Michigan is unlikely.
“[Stupak] has an impeccable reputation with most Democrats in his district and is considered an institution in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” David Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, told CNN. Wasserman said the congressman will be able to use the attacks from Washington to “play into Stupak’s argument that the guns aimed at defeating him are from outside the district.”
The staffer admitted that Tea Partiers “don’t get involved in social issues,” but Stupak’s “vote represents a betrayal of the American people” and a vote for bigger government.
Tea Party Express spent $400,000 on advertising to help elect Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts earlier this year. “We have the ability to put a lot of attention on important issues, and right now we have a laser focus on Stupak.”
The Tea Party group kicked off their bus tour last weekend in Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, Nev., which featured a rally keynoted by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The Tea Party Express will hold 44 tea party rallies across the nation and the caravan’s final stop is in Washington, D.C. for the Tax Day Tea Party on April 15th.