Tea Party Patriots Agonistes

One of the subthemes of the 2014 election cycle has been the impact of the Tea Party in getting conservative candidates elected in Republican primaries. Widely looked at as having lost much of their influence during the early contests, the election of David Brat over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia allowed local Tea Parties in the Old Dominion to claim credit for the victory.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Tuesday’s runoff election between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and State Rep. Chris McDaniel is looked at as being the last major battleground in the 2014 primaries between the Tea Party and the Establishment factions of the GOP.

It’s also a big test for the Georgia-based Tea Party Patriots. Today, the Washington Post profiles the group and its founder, Woodstock’s Jenny Beth Martin:

Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator covering financial markets, gave his famous rant, asking viewers: “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

That resonated with Martin, as did Santelli’s use of the term “tea party.” “We were quite literally cleaning our neighbor’s house so they wouldn’t have to take care of us,” she says. Inspired, Martin and Amy Kremer, a former flight attendant also from a suburb of Atlanta, organized a conference call to talk about having such a tea party.

What started as about 20 people has grown into a network of thousands. The group has raised about $30 million this year if you combine their various fundraising apparatuses. But the growth of the organization didn’t come without pitfalls or drama.

We’ve had plenty of discussions about the Tea Party: Whether they are effective or not; whether they have helped the Republican Party move to the right or not; and whether they have themselves become part of the political establishment they rail against, or not.

The Post story does a good job of describing the journey of the Tea Party Patriots from its founding to today. The results of tomorrow’s runoff in Mississippi could have a lot to do with the organization’s future.


  1. saltycracker says:

    Bankruptcy, big bucks on contributions, sexual accusations, Republicans running on success getting Fed $$$……where’s the concern with big government, big debt, over leveraging from either side ? Where’s a politician with clean hands ?

    Back at the ranch the TP and Kingston need to seriously reconsider their attack ads sure to backfire.

  2. gcp says:

    Martin will make 450,000 this year for running her nonprofit tea-party group? This tea-party movement has degenerated into a bunch of money hungry, publicity seeking, self-serving individuals that offers nothing to those of us that actually want to decrease the size of government.

  3. rmarsden89 says:

    the Tea Party started off as a great thing that was about less government and personal accountability, they did push the party to the right and a lot of people were happy with them in the beginning, then they moved away from the less spending, less government mantra towards more social issues. I personally think they lost a lot of people in doing that. when you hear the Tea Party message is resonating with americans it is the original message that they seem to have move aways from slightly. Because of all this they have become less effective. A good way to see how effective they still are in this state is look around and ask how many tea party candidates won the primary or are doing well in the runoffs in the bigger elections such as the Ralston race, Governors race, and Senate race.

  4. Michael Silver says:

    Ann Coulter’s Cantor Loses By 11 Million article talked about the Tea Party.


    Here are two quotes that relate to this PP Thread:

    “As I have been warning you, the big, national tea party groups are mostly shysters and con-men raising money for their own self-aggrandizement.”

    “As Eric Hoffer said, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.””

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