The state’s Congressional delegation isn’t deaf to all the noise local Tea Party activists have been making lately. Quite the opposite, actually. Capitol Bureau reporter Michael McNutt reports that the delegation agrees the right-leaning Tea Party activists will noticeably impact Oklahoma elections this year:
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said he expects to see Tea Party supporters recruit candidates to run Republican congressional and state races. In November, they are more likely to support Republicans.
“If I were a Democrat, I would be very worried,” Cole said. “Republicans will deal with this probably mostly in the context of their primaries.
“The reality is it’s going to be pretty much in November an anti-Washington, anti-political establishment movement. It will just wrap itself overwhelmingly in favor of Republican candidates,” Cole said.
Cole’s comments came the same day that Tea Party leaders announced the formation of a political action committee that will raise money on behalf of about 15 to 20 Congressional candidates this year. Should be interesting to see if this new Tea Party PAC donates to any candidates in Oklahoma, which is already among the reddest of the red states.
Tea Party activists made their national arrival this summer during the now-infamous health care reform town hall meetings. The aggressive, vocal activism displayed in those meetings won them many fervent followers, but caused others to deride Tea Party activists as rude, immature and disrespectful.
Tea Party leaders have acknowledged lately that such a perception could harm their long-term goals, so they used used last week’s first-ever National Tea Party Convention to craft a more grown-up image as a well-organized and legitimate political movement. It’s no coincidence that the convention was used to unveil the new PAC, a move that shows the Tea Party folks are committed to putting money behind their message.
In politics, money talks.
Now it’s your turn to talk: How will Tea Party activism and its new PAC impact Oklahoma elections in 2010? Leave your thoughts as a comment. And please be nice.