Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tea Party looks to 2014 revival

New groups are forming as top races take shape

Following the 2012 elections, it was unclear how much momentum was left in the Tea Party movement, both nationally and in Minnesota. Political analysts blamed the conservative faction for several embarrassing Republican losses in high-profile campaigns, while overall public opinion seemed to have soured on the concept. Nationwide exit polling found 21 percent of voters had a positive opinion of the Tea Party movement, about half of the 41 percent support found in 2010 exit polls.

Locally, a number of Tea Party-aligned politicians who helped the GOP take control of the Legislature in 2010 were defeated. Perhaps worst of all, U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills, who won the party endorsement thanks to organizing by Tea Party and pro-Ron Paul elements, won only 30 percent of the statewide vote in November.

But if the last few months are any indication, the party’s not over. Energized by watching a full legislative session of DFL control and continued inaction in the federal government, new branches of the Tea Party have been springing up throughout the metro area. From April through the end of this month, five new suburban Tea Party groups will have held inaugural events.

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