Politics & Policy

Tea Party Express Hits the Road Again, Destined for Nevada

The Tea Party Express (TPX) is all set to set out on another cross-country bus tour. The national organization that endorsed and then actively helped Sharron Angle win the GOP Senate primary in Nevada announced in a press release Wednesday that the name of their fourth trip is ”Tea Party Express IV: Liberty At the Ballot Box.”

The bus trip will last about two weeks and end in Nevada on November 2.

The TPX launched its first bust tour last August with a trip that ended with a well-attended tea party rally in Washington D.C. The second tour occurred later in the fall and preceded the “Just Vote Them Out” March bus tour that featured a large rally in Nevada. The “Showdown in Searchlight” event was headlined by Sarah Palin and drew nearly 10,000 people to Harry Reid’s tiny hometown (population: 700):

After leaving Nevada, the TPX III tour crossed through the district of Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI), holding six tea party rallies in his district and launching a $250,000 “Defeat Bart Stupak” campaign which, in part, prompted Stupak to announce his retirement.

The Tea Party Express has donated over $2 million to conservative Republican candidates in the past year.

The well-organized group earned its wings this past spring when it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads to help Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown upset Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts’ special election for the seat formerly held by Senator Edward Kennedy. In Utah, the group contributed to Mike Lee’s win over Republican Senator Bob Bennett.

More recently, in Alaska, TPX gave new life to Joe Miller who defeated eight-year incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a close primary contest. And TPX helped long-shot conservative Senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell, win the GOP primary in Delaware over Michael Castle.

The organization’s stated mission is to help more Republicans get elected, but the TPX has not always gotten along swimmingly with the big fishes in the GOP establishment nor with Tea Party organizers in the states they target. Murkowski griped that the group tampered with local Alaska politics, and the same was said in Nevada by many Tea Party groups who did not back Sharron Angle and were upset with TPX interference.

Unlike the loose coalition of decentralized groups that make up the national Tea Party movement, TPX is a political action committee that began as Our Country Deserves Better and was formed in 2008 to oppose Barack Obama. 

TPX is unapologetic for its mission and successes.

“We’re a PAC because we believe that change comes from political action, not from sitting around and blogging on your computer or waving flags at a rally, even though blogging and rallies are part of the game,” said one of TPX founders, Sal Russo, to the Washington Times earlier this year.

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