Tea Party keeps growing and growing
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the post-election reaction of the Tea Party here in New Jersey, and the importance of establishing a foothold in state and local races for 2011 and beyond.
Apparently, this is happening in other states as well:
With the November elections behind them, tea party activists are working to solidify their movement by pivoting quickly to state and local issues they think will allow them to show that theirs was not a one-time uprising tied to this year’s congressional contest.
A major focus will be Virginia – one of only four states to hold elections next November. They are also launching a political action committee to recruit, train and fund candidates, and help them drive a legislative agenda during January’s General Assembly session.
The groups see the state’s legislative contests as an opportunity to build a network of officials who someday can rise through the ranks and compete for statewide offices.
The new strategy represents something of a course correction for a movement that this year often promoted political newcomers.
FreedomWorks, a national tea party group led by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), and other national and local groups are working to ferment and expand their organizations in battleground states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida.
For the national groups, assisting activists with local elections helps sustain grass-roots enthusiasm with an eye toward the next round of congressional elections – and the presidential contest – in 2012.
And for the activists, local and state elections are opportunities to nurture candidates who share their political beliefs and to win offices the activists say hold the most influence over people’s lives. After all, they say, their movement is built on the premise that power should be concentrated locally instead of in Washington.
“The tea parties are growing momentum every day,” said Fran Telarico, a tea party organizer near Fort Collins, Colo., who is helping build a communications network among other local groups in Colorado to look ahead to 2012 as well as local races. “There are more people joining tea parties now than ever.”
As I alluded to in my earlier post, complacency is easy and contagious. It’s good to see the momentum and determination stay alive all throughout the country.