TEA Party Activists Get Serious, Take Over Party Establishments
In terms of serious, long-term change, this is the most important thing TEA Party rally activists can do:
First there was the “tea party” protester. Now, meet the Tea-publican.
Conservative activists who once protested the political establishment are now flooding the lowest level of the Republican Party apparatus hoping to take over the party they once scorned — one precinct at a time.
Across the country, tea party groups that had focused on planning rallies are now educating members on how to run for local GOP precinct representative positions. The representatives help elect county party leaders, who write the platform and, in some places, determine endorsements.
“That’s where it all starts. That’s where the process of picking candidates begins. It’s not from [GOP leader] Michael Steele’s office down. It’s from the ground up,” said Philip Glass, whose National Precinct Alliance is among the groups advocating the strategy. “The party is over for the old guard.”
In Arizona and Ohio, Republican Party officials report an increase in candidates running for precinct positions, which often sit open due to lack of interest. In South Carolina, a coalition of tea party groups has made a formal agreement with the state GOP to urge its members to get engaged at the precinct level. In Nevada, a group of “constitutional conservatives” working under the tea party banner has already taken control of the Republican Party in the Las Vegas area, gaining enough strength to elect six of the seven members of the county executive committee.
Glass’ group and others say their work is nonpartisan; their hope is that people will reshape both major political parties. But for most of the small-government conservatives of the tea party movement, the Republican Party is a more natural fit.
I could tell you a few Franklin County residents who are on the Republican Party central committee who, despite being staunch conservative themselves, are having MULTIPLE conservative challengers. These wards are cover a few blocks in area, but there is money about to be spent on central committee campaigns.
Central Committees, which have a rather ominous, Communist-sounding name, are where candidates are endorsed, appointments are made. Being on Central Committee is hard work (if done correctly) and a thankless job, but it is where grassroots activists can have the large impact on the direction of the Republican party and our country. It is fantastic to hear that county parties could have a lot of new blood from anti-tax activists in May.
And if you want to run, contact your board of elections and get your signatures immediately, as the filing deadline is this Thursday.