Members of the Missouri Tea Party movement are making it plain they haven’t endorsed Congressman Roy Blunt in the August Republican primary. A member tells the Missourinet they don’t endorse any candidates, period.
Confusion grew after the announcement that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a strong supporter of the Tea Party movement who founded the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, would help make calls at Roy Blunt’s St. Louis headquarters to raise money for his United States Senate campaign. The Blunt Campaign is inviting supporters to join Bachmann and Blunt as they call supporters to raise money. She will speak at a Blunt fund-raiser in the evening.
Eric Farris, director of the Branson Tea Party Coalition, tells the Missourinet the announcement took Tea Party members by surprise.
“And it was just a little bit puzzling that she would be coming in to the state to specifically (appear) on behalf of one candidate when as a Tea Party movement, we hold as a principle that we do not endorse any candidate in any race,” Farris says.
A coalition of Tea Party organizations issued a news release distancing the movement from the Bachmann appearance. In the statement, the organizations suggest that Bachmann might have been misled if she believes Blunt is the Tea Party candidate. The statement criticizes Blunt for his support of the $700 billion financial rescue package known as TARP and for the Obama Administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” program that provided financial incentives to trade in older cars for new models.
Farris says the Tea Party prizes its independence, holding steadfast to its principles, backing no particular candidate. Farris says the key to the success of the Tea Party in Branson is its focus, developing a mission statement and sticking to core values.
“So that keeps you from dancing around to hundreds of issues and hundreds of topics,” Farris says. “Our core values (are) fiscal responsibility, a constitutionally-limited government and free markets.”
Tea Party members have encouraged voters to check the records of the candidates; assess their positions, their voting records and their values before casting their ballots.