Chris Good at The Atlantic has penned an interesting piece about the Tea Party Express. On balance, it’s a pretty fair account of the organization I spent three weeks with, touring the country for 21 days, hitting 26 states and Washington DC, participating in 47 Tea Party rallies, and meeting thousands of concerned Americans along the way.
“By the end of the tour, Tea Party Express would generate valuable coverage on Fox News and other cable outlets, and it would cement its position as one of the most influential organizations attached to the Tea Party movement–a conduit for energy, money, and support that can make or break candidates for federal office.”
Good writes that the Tea Party Express has become one of the nation’s most influential Tea Party groups.
“It is the only national Tea Party group to endorse political candidates in both primaries and general elections and spend on their behalf; consequently, it has accrued an enormous amount of influence.”
The group has raised $2.3 million in 2010, mostly from small donors who gave under $200, thanks in large part to a robust online fundraising operation.”
No one outside of Nevada had really heard of Angle at the time. She received just 5% support among Republicans polled by Mason-Dixon April 5-7, as former Nevada GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden led the pack with 45% as the clear frontrunner. Lowden’s nearest challenger, Danny Tarkanian, took 27%.Angle rose quickly in the polls, thanks to Tea Party Express, which has spent $411,000 on her behalf, after already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose Reid, before it even made its endorsement. The group aired TV ads telling self-professed Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian, who had mounted a third-party bid despite facing felony charges, to “get lost,” and it has run TV, radio, and direct mail in support of Angle, in its trademark simple, low-budget recipe for TV ads–the same recipe that worked so well in Massachusetts. Angle now leads Lowden by more than 10 percentage points in recent polls by Suffolk and Daily Kos/Research 2000, having jumped 17% in the multi-way race since TPE endorsed her.
When Nevada Republicans go to the polls today, it is likely they will choose Angle as the Republican Party’s candidate to unseat the vulnerable Reid, whose seat they have been drooling over for at least a year.
If they do, Angle will largely have Tea Party Express to thank, and the group will have proven that it is a serious contender in electoral politics–the contender, when money is concerned, to emerge from the Tea Party movement. Simply put, it will have made a Senate candidate. It will be a legitimate player, not just in the Tea Party, but in the broader political scene.
It’s worth getting to know this group as it ascends on the national scene. And there’s plenty to know.
Good explores the controversial comments Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams made about the planned mosque to be built at Ground Zero. But he gives Williams the opportunity to explain why he said:
“The animals of allah for whom any day is a great day for a massacre are drooling over the positive response that they are getting from New York City officials over a proposal to build a 13 story monument to the 9/11 Muslims who hijacked those 4 airliners.
The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of their monkey-god and a “cultural center” for to propagandize for the extermination of all things not approved by their cult.”
Good’s piece is a decent read, one that brings to light a lot of background about the Tea Party Express, a project (the main project) of the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which was formed by the Sacramento-based Republican consulting firm Russo Marsh + Associates, the firm of longtime GOP strategist Sal Russo.