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Tea party winners take ambitious promises to DC; Profiles-some Victors in Senate, House, Governor’s Races

November 4, 2010

Tea party winners take ambitious promises to DC

 By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Wed Nov 3, 7:12 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Fervent tea party Republicans are headed to Congress carrying ambitious promises to overhaul taxes, spending and health care, with activists pressuring them to buck their own party if necessary to achieve their goals. “They are not in a mood for compromise,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler.

The activists promised to keep up the pressure on their favored lawmakers to fight a Washington establishment they say is broken and doesn’t work for the best interests of the American people. That could make trouble for congressional leaders who need compromise and dealmaking to get any work done.

Several tea party winners said in interviews that they were reaching out to one another in the wake of the election to form a coalition for their conservative principles. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., formed a tea party caucus this summer with a couple dozen members, and the freshmen said it’s unclear if they would join her group or start one of their own.

Rep.-elect Renee Ellmers in North Carolina said a tea party caucus will serve as sort of a watchdog on Capitol Hill and change the Republican Party for the better. She expects to agree mostly with Republican leaders on the issues but wants to ensure that they follow the core principles of the movement: limited government, reduced spending and a focus on the Constitution.

“What the job will be now is to keep those in Washington in line,” Ellmers said.

More than 3 dozen tea party candidates won election to Congress on Tuesday, according to an analysis by The Associated Press, enough to make their voices heard by Capitol Hill leaders if not numbers large enough to pass their conservative agenda.

“You can’t necessarily set the positive agenda that we want across the board, but you can stop a lot of bad things from happening, and that’s a step forward,” said Colin Hanna, president of tea party support group Let Freedom Ring.

Tim Scott AP – Tim Scott, along with Alan West of Florida were elected as the nation’s first black GOP congressman in seven years…

Tim Scott, elected to the House from South Carolina, said he’s not looking for a fight with Republicans but to help push the party toward the right.

“There’s no question the tea party has helped the Republican Party remember its conservative roots. And if we are going to govern well, we will govern from a conservative perspective,” Scott said.

Whether tea party candidates performed better than more moderate Republicans would have in an anti-Democratic climate is unclear. But it’s evident the movement injected a jolt of energy into an election year when Americans were disillusioned with government and may otherwise have turned away from participating.

Tea party victories in House races help fuel the Republican takeover of the lower chamber, while losses of candidates backed by the movement in the Colorado, Delaware and Nevada Senate races cost the GOP opportunities to pick up three new seats. Some didn’t take defeat graciously — Christine O’Donnell declared her Delaware Senate candidacy a success even though she lost by 16 percentage points, and New York gubernatorial loser Carl Paladino showed up to his concession speech wielding a baseball bat and stated in no uncertain terms that this won’t be the last you’ll hear of him.

Senate leaders will have three outspoken tea party favorites, along with a few others, to try to rein in: Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah. “The tea party is really an expression of a widespread sentiment in America that Washington is broken and that both parties are to blame,” Rubio said.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, planning to take over as speaker now that Republicans have won the House, said that over the next few months he’ll look at ways to work with his new tea party caucus to pass legislation they will oppose like increasing the debt limit. He didn’t offer specific solutions at this time but instead tried to focus on what they have in common.

“If we’re listening to the American people, I don’t see any problems incorporating members of the tea party along with our party in the quest that’s really the same,” Boehner said. “They want us to cut spending and focus on creating jobs in America.”

Ellmers said she suspects tea party lawmakers will usually agree with the Republican leadership but that she wants to make sure they don’t simply fall in line. She even said she’d be interested to see candidates other than Boehner for speaker, although none is running and he appears to have a lock on the job.

Meckler said tea party activists have a message for Boehner: “We want him to remember that the American people have spoken loud and clear and they’re not in a flexible mood.”

The Tea Party Patriots, a coalition of more than 2,800 local groups, plans to hold a conference for freshman lawmakers later this month to remind them to stay loyal to the movement’s values. Meckler said activists are looking beyond the next Congress and have come up with a 40-year plan to reform educational, political, judicial and cultural systems to elevate conservative values.

To this end Tea Party hero Rand Paul moved immediately to name an insider as chief of staff for his Senate office. Doug Stafford, a longtime GOP operative in Washington, has been his top political consultant and is vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and as a consultant to the Campaign for Liberty.

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Alan West For Congress

Lieutenant Colonel Alan West is running for the U.S. Congress in 2010. Alan is a resident of Broward County, where he settled after retiring from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service. Alan served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in Afghanistan.

You can read more about Alan at Alan West For Congress, but to really get a good “feel” for what Alan is all about, watch this YouTube video. This is a video of Alan speaking at the Revolution Nightclub in Fort Lauderdale during the American Freedom tour.

It almost impossible to watch this video and not get emotionally fired up. Alan is every bit as engaging a public speaker as Barack Obama — but he’s speaking from his heart — not from a teleprompter.

Alan talks about individual rights and freedoms — about individual responsibility and accountability. These are themes that our “leaders” in Washington seem to have forgotten. These are American themes. They define who we are and why America is exceptional among all of the nations on the Earth.

If we had a hundred men like Colonel West in Congress, we could take back this country and make it great once again.

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Which Tea Party Candidates Won?

Victors and Losers in Senate, House, Governor’s Races

Candidates backed by the Tea Party scored major victories in Tuesday’s mid-term elections even as a few of its most high profile candidates suffered upsets.

From South Carolina to Wisconsin, candidates endorsed by Tea Party groups defeated Democrats in unlikely states.

Nikki Haley became the first woman and Indian-American governor in South Carolina.

One of the biggest Tea Party wins was in Wisconsin, where Republican businessman Ron Johnson defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.

Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist-turned-politician in Kentucky and one of the first major Tea Party candidates, defeated his opponent Democrat Jack Conway.

Some of the Tea Party losses, however, were over magnified by the press especially in states that garnered the most attention.

Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell in Delaware lost to Chris Coons, her Democratic opponent.
Senate candidate Ken Buck in Colorado lost by a razor thin margin to incumbant Mike Bennet.
Sharron Angle, who won the prime spot to run against Senate majority leader Harry Reid, ultimately lost the election to Dirty Harry’s Dirty Campaign, even as voters expressed discontent with the economy and the incumbent himself.

One widely discussed effect of public disenchantment this year was the rise of the Tea Party political movement. In preliminary exit poll results, 41 percent of voters described themselves as supporters of this movement; 21 percent supported it strongly. Thirty-one percent said they opposed the movement; the rest, 24 percent, were “neutral” about it.

23 percent said they voted specifically to send a message in favor of the Tea Party movement, versus 18 percent against it; In nine Senate exit polls where voters were asked whether they were trying to send a pro-Tea Party message with their vote, no more than about one in four voters said they were. Kentucky and Missouri were at the top of that list.

U.S. Senate Victories

Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint, South Carolina

U.S. Senator from South Carolina Opponent: Alvin Greene (D)

Endorsed by Sarah Palin

Leader in Tea Party movement who has endorsed conservative Republican candidates in races nationwide

Jim DeMint won re-election as the Senator from South Carolina by a large margin, defeating Democratic nominee, Alvin Greene, an unemployed former member of the military. Greene’s win of the primary was considered a fluke as he lacks a website and held no campaign events. DeMint is a leader in the Tea Party movement, endorsing many conservative candidates. He stands for returning education policymaking to state and local levels, reductions in taxation and government spending, and increased veterans’ benefits. He also is anti-abortion and opposed to legal residency for illegal aliens.

WATCH DeMint’s interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

CEO of PACUR, LLC Opponent: Sen. Russ Feingold (D – incumbent)

Ron Johnson defeated Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold in the Wisconsin Senate race. Johnson has no prior political experience, but will use the knowledge he has gained as an accountant and manufacturer. Feingold criticized Johnson during a debate for his lack of experience, to which Johnson replied that he would be the only manufacturer in the Senate, which would give him the small-business perspective that longer-tenured politicians lack. Johnson supports cutting taxes and reducing government spending, as well as cracking down on illegal immigration through employer sanctions and tighter border security. He also has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

Mike Lee

Mike Lee, Utah

Lawyer for Howrey LLP Opponent: Sam Granato, businessman (D)

Mike Lee, a lawyer and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, defeated Democrat Sam Granato, a businessman, in the Utah Senate race. Lee was the favorite to win the race, after winning the primary. The Incumbent, Bob Bennett, was ousted at the Republican convention in May in a wave of anti-incumbency. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=10987658 Lee wants to balance the federal budget by cutting spending. He also supports a flat tax and the repeal of health care reform. He opposes abortion, and a path to legal residency for illegal immigrants.

WATCH Lee’s Tax Day speech.

Rand Paul

Rand Paul, Kentucky

Ophthalmologist Opponent: Jack Conway, state attorney general (D)

Endorsed by Sarah Palin

After one of the nastiest races in the country, Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, won the Kentucky Senate election, defeating Jack Conway, state attorney general. An ABC News exit poll shows he won by 23 point margin. Paul had the first major Tea party win of the night. The race was so contentious, that after a debate filled with personal attacks, Paul refused to shake Conway’s hand. The Conway campaign relentlessly ran controversial ads against Paul. Mr Paul stands for lower taxes and a dramatic reduction in government spending. He opposes big government and bailouts of private businesses, as well as a path to legal residency for “illegal” immigrants.

WATCH Paul on “Good Morning America.”

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, Florida

Lawyer, former Speaker, State House of Representatives Opponents: Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), Gov. Charlie Crist (I)

Marco Rubio won the three-way Florida Senate race, defeating Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek and Independent Gov. Charlie Crist. Meek had been trailing in the polls. Crist became an Independent to avoid facing Rubio in the primary. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants. He now supports Arizona’s new illegal immigration law since its scope has been narrowed. He also stands for balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, gun rights and a repeal of the health care reform law.

WATCH Rubio on “Nightline.”

Pat Toomey

Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania

Former U.S. Representative Opponent: Rep. Joe Sestak (D)

Pat Toomey won the Pennsylvania Senate contest, defeating Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak. Sestak defeated incumbent Arlen Specter in the primary, but was behind Toomey in the polls. Toomey is the head of the anti-tax group Club for Growth, and has tied Sestak to Obama’s agenda. Toomey is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. He opposes the stimulus, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage.

WATCH Toomey explains his platform.

U.S. HOUSE VICTORIES

Sandy Adams, FL-24, Justin Amash, MI-03, Rep. Michele Bachmann, MN-06, Dan Benishek, MI-01, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, TN-07, Steve Chabot, OH-01, Rick Crawford, AR-01, Scott DesJarlais, TN-04, Robert Dold, IL-10, Sean Duffy, WI-07, Jeff Duncan, SC-03, Renee Ellmers, NC-02, Bill Flores, TX-17, Christopher Gibson, NY-20, Frank Giunta, NH-01, Tom Graves, GA-09, Tim Griffin, AR-02, Michael Grimm, NY-13, Paul Gosar, AZ-01, Trey Gowdy, SC-04, Rep. Joe Wilson, SC-02, Vicky Hartzler, MO-04, Nan Hayworth, NY-19, Joe Heck, NV-03, Randy Hultgren, IL-14, Bill Johnson, OH-06, Adam Kinzinger, IL-11, Raul Labrador, ID-01, Jeff Landry, LA-03, Rep. Tom McClintock, CA-04, David McKinley, WV-01, Mick Mulvaney, SC-05, Rep. Mike Pence ,IN-06, Rep. Tom Price, GA-06, Jim Renacci, OH-16, Reid Ribble, WI-08, David Schweikert, AZ-5, Robert Schilling, IL-17, Tim Scott, SC-01, Steve Southerland, FL-02, Steven Stivers, OH-15, Marlin Stutzman, IN-03, Scott Tipton, CO-03, Todd Young, IN-09, Tim Walberg, MI-07, Allen West, FL-22.

Outcome Not Yet Determined:

Ann Marie Buerkle, NY-25 (Leading), Randy Altschuler, NY-1 (Leading), Blake Farenthold, TX-27, Keith Fimian, VA-11, David Harmer, CA-11, Jesse Kelly, AZ-08, John Koster, WA-02, Joe Walsh, IL-08.

GOVERNORSHIP VICTORIES

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, South Carolina

State senator Opponent: State Sen. Vince Sheheen (D)

Endorsed by Sarah Palin

State Rep. Nikki Haley won the South Carolina gubernatorial contest, defeating state Sen. Vincent Sheheen in a landslide victory. The political newcomer, who will serve as the state’s first Indian-American governor, was endorsed by Sarah Palin in the GOP primary. A proponent of gun rights, and a staunch opponent of abortion rights, she has called for eliminating the corporate income tax, and imposing term limits on state legislators.

WATCH Haley accepts the GOP nomination for governor.

Paul LePage

Paul LePage, Maine

Mayor of Waterville, Maine Opponent: Elizabeth Mitchell, state senator (D)

Waterville Mayor Paul LePage defeated Mitchell and Independent Eliot Cutler. LePage has pledged to cut income and automobile taxes, and expand private health care options. He opposes legalized abortion and same-sex marriage.

WATCH LePage discusses his background in a campaign video.

Rick Perry

Rick Perry, Texas

Governor of Texas Opponent: Bill White, former Mayor of Houston, Texas

Endorsed by Sarah Palin

Texas Governor Rick Perry earned a third term in Austin, holding off former Houston Mayor Bill White after a race in which Democrats poured a record amount of money into their candidate’s campaign. Endorsed by Sarah Palin, Perry supports cutting taxes on individuals and businesses, reducing state spending, enhancing border security, tort reform, and increasing enrollment in state colleges and universities. He opposes abortion rights, the health care reform law, and is a strong proponent of states rights.

WATCH Perry’s victory speech in GOP gubernatorial primary.

TBD

Tom Emmer

Tom Emmer, Minnesota

State congressman Opponent: Mark Dayton, former U.S. Senator (DLP)

Endorsed by Sarah Palin

The outcome of the Minnesota gubernatorial race has yet to be determined. Endorsed by Sarah Palin, Emmer was the choice of the state Republican Party over former Rep. Marty Seifert, who later bowed out of the race, and threw his support to his former foe. Emmer is a staunch opponent of health insurance mandates, the minimum wage, same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

WATCH Emmer explains why he’s running for governor here.

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