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Tea Party activists focused on November elections — not rallies

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

With Congress poised to pass another spending bill this week, there’s plenty for Tea Party activists to protest. But for activists from 14 states gathered here at the FreedomWorks Tea Party summit in Washington, it’s the upcoming elections — and not necessarily the next rally they can organize on the National Mall — that’s on their mind.

“I think what you’re going to see is some surprising and powerful results on November 2,” said Matt Kibbe, the president and CEO of FreedomWorks, during a pen and pad session with reporters Monday, after saying helping local activists win targeted elections is the group’s top priority.

The group on Monday released their most updated list of “Champions of Freedom,” or candidates their political action committee is supporting. For the Senate, they are backing nine candidates:

—    Ken Buck in Colorado
—    Marco Rubio in Florida
—    Rand Paul in Kentucky
—    Sharron Angle in Nevada
—    David Malpass in New York
—    Pat Toomey in Pennslyvania
—    Mike Lee in Utah
—    Dino Rossi in Washington State
—    Ron Johnson in Wisconsin

On Tuesday, primary contests are being held in Colorado, Connecticut and Minnesota. A run-off in Georgia is also set for tomorrow. Rob Jordan, FreedomWorks PAC Managing Director, said the group is focusing most on the Colorado Senate race, where they are actively supporting Buck over GOP primary challenger Jane Norton.

“We’re getting involved in that race specifically because we feel like Ken Buck is the kind of candidate who will stand strong against pressure, even within his own party,” Jordan said. “Whereas Jane Norton — we saw her buckle in that similar situation when she supported [Referendum] C as the lieutenant governor, which was in effect the largest tax hike in Colorado’s history.”

He compared the PAC’s involvement in the Colorado race to their campaigning for Republican Mike Lee in Utah, who went on to knock Sen. Bob Bennett off the ballot, as well as defeat primary challenger Tim Bridgewater.

As for tomorrow’s closely watched Senate race in Connecticut, Jordan said FreedomWorks PAC has not made an endorsement yet — although one could come after the election — because none of the candidates particularly stand out. “We survey the candidates pretty well, and none of them really leapt to that level where we felt we needed to jump in and show that kind of leadership.”

Kibbe, who runs the day to day operation of the organization chaired by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, downplayed recent rifts among Tea Party activists. In recent weeks, there’s been bad blood among some leaders, especially in the wake of the NAACP’s resolution that called for the Tea Party to condemn what it saw as racist elements in the movement, and as result of disagreements over whom to support in primary elections.

“There’s been a lot of talk in some wings of the press about the loss of energy in the Tea Party movement and some of the squabbling going on. I would suggest that these are not problems, but these are an indication of growing pains,” Kibbe said.

He added: “We come together on certain things, but we respect each other’s freedom to drive our own agendas…We can argue about primary candidates and have a spirited conversation, but still focus at the end of the day on getting results done.”

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  • gadsdengurl

    How many times must it be said that “FreedomWorks” is NOT the real tea party? The tea party is a movement, it does not endorse, nor does it collect money. FreedomWorks has been rejected by many state coalitions who do not want to be hijacked by the establishment republicans.

    FreedomWorks should stop saying it’s the tea party because it is NOT.

  • brettrow

    Younger americans (like myself) could not care less about social security. Unless your a product of a failed public school system, your 3rd grade mathematics education tells you SS will not be there 10 years from now, let alone 25. And unless your delusional, younger americans have no use for medicare either. Doctors all over the country have stopped taking medicare patients. These so called safety nets have led to states like California going bankrupt. Of course people in their 50s will want to take SS and medicare, why wouldnt they? They have been forced to pay into the damn mess. But the younger americans you speak of are hopefully smart enough to realize they are better off saving for their own retirement. Oh, and a poll from 16 days ago….. WASHINGTON — Young voters who had been enthralled by Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can” message are now saying “Maybe not” — and are backing away from the president in a worrisome new poll for the White House.
    Obama is losing in a match-up against a generic Republican challenger by 37 percent to 34 percent among voters in the 18-34 age group, according to a stunning Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday.

    • brettrow

      That poll from a column by Doug Powers at michelle malkin’s website.

  • teapartypatriot

    It’s interesting to note that Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund supports all eight of those named above running for Senate.
    Great minds think alike!

  • Major_Skidmark

    If you listen to the MSM they just don’t get that the Tea Parties are against RINOs too.

    • gadsdengurl

      They also don’t get that these are phony leaders that are NOT accepted as leaders by the movement.

      The ones doing the fighting in the media are self-appointed attention hounds and not legitimate.

      They can attempt to organize us all they want but they will continue to be rejected. They are not the real thing.

  • flips

    Glad the Tea Party is out there as the new face of the GOP.

    It shows how off-the-rails the conservative movement has become with a platform that calls for ending social security, medicare, and the EPA.

    Americans don’t vote for crazy.

    Keep on yelling Tea Baggers. The Dems appreciate the help.

    • rainmaker1145

      Crazy is giving our money to liberal thieves who continue to steal it and make us pay for benefits we’ll never get in their Ponzi schemes.

      Yeah, we’re angry and we’ll be seeing you in November. Get ready to get the fire beat out of you. Remember, you heard it here first. If I were you I’d be seriously thinking of emigrating to another country.

      • flips

        When you burn your social security and medicare cards in a public protest and when you quit driving on the interstate highway system our grandparents bought for you, we will believe you are against “socialism.”

        Until then, you are just talking right wing smack.

        And young Americans will keep laughing at you in your silly hats.

        • oldguy5

          Tell me, whats so wrong with collecting SS and medicare. I paid into them since their inception (I had no choice) I’ll stop collecting as soon as you idiot liberals give me my money and my employers share back to me WITH interest. I could easily support myself and buy medical coverage with what I paid into it.

          Until you do this, shut up about tearing up my cards. I paid for those benefits I now get.

          • flips

            Younger Americans just want to be able to participate in, and enjoy, the same social safety nets, and public investments (such as great state university systems) that your generation enjoyed due to the progressive thinking of FDR and other forward thinkers. Your entire lifetime has been blessed by the supports set up during the New Deal. Let’s not forget the generous programs of the GI Bill.

            But when conservative dogmatics and Tea Partiers attack those systems and call for them to be dismantled, it makes us believe there is a generational war going on, older Americans versus younger Americans. That is when we fight back, to protect our young families from greedy elders who want to shut the door behind them.

            Thus the resistance to the Tea Party agenda. It is viewed as hateful by your own grandkids.

        • theprofessor

          Stop pretending that you don’t know the difference between Social Security and Medicare versus welfare lines and forced universal healthcare. If you don’t , you’re too stupid to have this conversation.

  • brettrow

    It seems to me what was once regarded as a strength of the tea party (disorganization) is now a slight weakness. I would like to see one large tea party organization emerge. This would tamp down some of the bickering going on between factions. I would like them to be pragmatic by endorsing the most conservative candidates who can actually win. For Gods sake, endorse McMahon in Connecticut since she clearly has the money to win.

    • gadsdengurl

      You are looking at some chaser orgs, not the real movement which is hidden and working behind the scenes. THESE people are NOT legitimate..

  • anniebanannie

    “because the Republican Party has never been sophisticated enough or savvy enough to manage a campaign, sustain message discipline and analyze the nature of free-market economics. They just aren’t fast enough and smart enough, so we need to go right to the grass roots and that means the Tea Parties.”

    The next time the organizers from the local Tea Party call us at the office of the regional GOP asking for support, I’ll be sure to relay the message to them that apparently we aren’t “sophisticated” enough to help them out.

    • rainmaker1145

      My apologies. If they were sophisticated enough we wouldn’t have the Tea Parties and they would have already been working on this. I apologize for the seeming insult but look at the response to last week’s economic numbers. The GOP response was disjointed and failed to strike any chord with anyone.

      Having said, I understand your loyalty to your party. I was a loyal Republican for 30 years and voted straight ticket, but will never vote for one again or give them my money. I’ve been played enough.

      • anniebanannie

        It’s not “loyalty to your party” that I’m talking about. I’m talking about the fact that even if you elect all the Tea Party candidates that you have, you will still have a mega majority by the dems and I can guarantee you that by the next election, there will be NO Tea Party because the dems will destroy them. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but YOUR “Tea party” candidates are running on republican tickets, taking republican financing and using fellow republicans for support.

        So, how about working from within someplace to fix some problems instead of beating everybody over the head with a ball bat and broad-brushing all republicans as crooks? As far as the GOP response, you are going by what you hear in the news. Remember, the senators and congressmen that are truly working don’t have their faces in the media 24/7.

      • anniebanannie

        One more thing, rainmaker, I’ve only been a Republican since Clinton’s second term; then the light came on. If you can’t see the difference between Al Franken and Thadeus McCotter, or Steve King and Maxine Waters, or Bobby Jindal and Ed Rendell, then you must be blind and deaf.

  • rainmaker1145

    We have an unprecedented opportunity to destroy the modern liberal-progressive movement that is personified by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, Waxman, Frank and company. They have abandoned their record of failures in favor of undertaking an election campaign based upon trying to win a popularity contest against a man who is not even on the ballot – George Bush.

    This means they have conceded their policies have failed and this creates an opportunity to force the liberal-progressives to destroy their own coalition of voters on a scale that approaches those results achieved with the Swift Boat advertisements just 6 years ago. Remember, the Swift Boat advertisements destroyed John Kerry’s presidential campaign and the total amount invested into the program was less than $250,000.

    $250,000 against more than $500 million put up for the 2004 Kerry Campaign and the $250,000 ad campaign redefined the race and killed any chance Kerry had of winning.

    Why? What does it show us?

    It demonstrates the principles that a good message is one that is based upon the words and actions of the opponent and not your own. These are magnified by positioning the advertisements and resulting responses so as to take advantage of what the known responses will be. These known responses will cause the opponent’s coalition to fracture as they blame each other and seek to save their own political fortunes by trying to appeal to the voters who are not completely alienated. This is why Swift Boat Veterans For Truth destroyed Kerry.

    And now the same thing presents itself in these mid-term elections for the benefit of the Tea Parties. I say the Tea Parties because the Republican Party has never been sophisticated enough or savvy enough to manage a campaign, sustain message discipline and analyze the nature of free-market economics. They just aren’t fast enough and smart enough, so we need to go right to the grass roots and that means the Tea Parties.

    This opportunity will work because the Democrats will use their typical three-step response to try and deal with the emerging electoral/political crisis: (i) they will demand an apology; then (ii) they will try to blame Bush/GOP; then (iii) they will play the race card to try and end the debate.

    Knowing these will be the responses allows us to contrive both the message and the responses so that we only have to run the initial advertisement for two weeks and then the resulting internal debate will keep the media in the cycle until the Democratic coalition further fractures. This will force the Democrats to spend money on heretofore safe districts and thus reduce the funding available to those districts that are contested. The result will likely be a margin of greater than 45 seats won.

    The message is ready, the campaign will likely cost less than $1 million and the commercial itself can be ready in a week. We should launch this just after Labor Day.

    Can it be done?