Republican candidates gearing up for Tea Party debate on Twitter

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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This isn’t your typical Jim Lehrer-moderated debate on PBS.

Next week seven Republican presidential candidates will take the virtual stage on Twitter, for what’s being billed as the first “Tea Party presidential debate.”

The website “TheTeaParty.net” says seven candidates for president have agreed to participate in its July 20 Twitter debate. The group will pose questions to the candidates on the social networking platform. The candidates are expected to respond in real-time.

Radio host S.E. Cupp will moderate the event, which viewers can watch live at www.140townhall.com.

“It’s about time the candidates started acknowledging the relevance of social networking,” Cupp said in an email. “Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are democratizing the media and changing the way we consume news. It was only a matter of time before someone thought to put the traditional debate format online.”

The group says Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will participate. (RON PAUL: We need to force GOP leaders to show backbone in debt limit fight)

Also scheduled to join in on the fun are businessman Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is also listed by the group as a participant; a campaign spokesman for Pawlenty has told Roll Call that Pawlenty is not yet confirmed.

There are a multitude of national Tea Party groups — including Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express — but TheTeaParty.net is not nearly as well known. According to its website, it is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit created in 2009, and a division of Stop This Insanity Inc.