The tea party movement’s activism may have helped tip the 2010 election cycle to Republicans, especially since dedicated volunteers helped Republicans win the U.S. House and close the gap in the U.S. Senate. So it’s no surprise that candidates—including the three major Republicans running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri—are trying to gather support from tea party organizations and political figures.
But one of the interesting aspects of the movement is its inherent decentralization—no one entity speaks for everybody. For instance, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman announced a few weeks ago an endorsement from Tea Party Express, a California-based group that touts itself as the “nation’s largest tea party political action committee.”
“One of Tea Party Express’ top priorities in 2012 is to elect a conservative majority to the U.S. Senate," stated Amy Kremer, the group's chairman, "and we are confident that Sarah Steelman is the candidate in Missouri best suited for the job.”
Almost immediately, a number of Missouri-based groups cried foul—arguing that Tea Party Express doesn’t speak for individual organizations scattered throughout the state. And Steelman's chief rivals have since picked up support from notable political figures within the movement.
Most recently, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, announced the support of U.S. Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN). The latter, of course, recently embarked on an unsuccessful presidential campaign.
“These dear friends and colleagues of mine are a few of the most staunch defenders of liberty,” Akin said in a statement. “I am proud to stand with them and I am very grateful for their support in this important race. We must take back the Senate in 2012 and change our current path before Obama and McCaskill shift all power to a central government and fully strip us of our freedoms.”
And as noted earlier, Frontenac businessman The Wisconsin Republican is seen as one of the best examples of how the tea party made a mark during the 2010 election cycle.
Not everyone is jumping into the tea party ring.
Caitlin Legacki, spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party, noted in a news release that the three candidates “continue to leapfrog over each other to appear most conservative to primary voters, showing reckless disregard for middle-class families.” In particular, she criticized the three candidate’s positions on taxes.
The Saint Louis Zoo made national news this past week when it was revealed that one of its baby penguins bit former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It happened as the presidential hopeful toured the zoo around the time of last weekend’s .
Gingrich—who is still in the race even though he is unlikely to catch former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney—has a well-known soft spot for animals. He even created a Web page that allowed supporters to post pictures of their furry friends, complete with a page with Gingrich in front of a baby polar bear.
The zoo, by the way, is not on Gingrich's list of favorites.
MORE CAUCUSES PLANNED
While the GOP Presidential primary is all but over, Missouri Republicans will still on Saturday. Information about caucusing locations in the state is available online.