Hayworth says story of him becoming Tea Party spokesman is ‘highly inaccurate’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth told The Daily Caller that a recent story breaking the news that he had been tapped to become a national Tea Party spokesman is wrong.

“It’s highly inaccurate,” said Hayworth, whom The Daily Caller briefly reached on his cell phone Monday afternoon.

Hayworth, a former congressman who lost to Republican Sen. John McCain in the Arizona primary this summer, said he’s unsure how the rumor evolved. “I think there are just alot of excited people who know that I share alot of the same goals as the Tea Party movement…but no, I don’t have any specific idea how the story may have gotten started.”

A former aide to Hayworth’s campaign did say Monday that Hayworth has been involved with several Tea Party groups since losing the primary.

The original story, which ran in The Hill, appeared dubious from the beginning: “The Tea Party is expected to announce that former Rep. JD Hayworth (R-Ariz.) will become a national spokesperson for the movement, a source close to the matter told The Hill.” Hayworth was not quoted in the story.

As many Tea Party activists point out, there is no singular “Tea Party” out there that could appoint someone to become a “spokesperson for the movement.” Instead, the highly decentralized movement is largely viewed as a loose affiliation of local and national groups who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement.

Of the well-known national organizations out there, representatives from Tea Party Express and Tea Party Nation said they had not designated Hayworth a spokesman. A spokesman for another group, the Tea Party Patriots, could not immediately be reached for comment.

But Hayworth also indicated that he might very well end up working in some fashion with Tea Party activists. “While there may be somethings that develop over the not-so-distant future, it would not–let me repeat–it would not be anything as presumptuous as THE national spokesman for THE Tea Party,” he said.

During his campaign this year, Hayworth—who said about 16 Tea Party groups endorsed him during his run—did not consolidate the support of all the local Tea Party groups across the state. Some activists criticized him for votes while in Congress, like the 2003 Medicare prescription-drug benefit.