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Tea Party Leader Runs for Senate in Arkansas

By Dave Eberhart   |   Tuesday, 16 Jun 2009 03:19 PM

“I’m Tom Cox and I plan on winning this next U.S. Senate election!”

That was the opening rhetorical salvo from Arkansas Tea Party president Tom Cox as he announced at a gathering of his group in downtown Little Rock his plans to run in the Republican primary.

Cox will become the first leader of the grassroots anti-tax movement to run for federal office, according to a report in Politico. His aim is to take over the Senate seat presently occupied by Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

The political novice will face two or possibly three others in the race to capture the GOP nod: Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman and state Sen. Kim Hendren have tossed their hats in the ring. GOP State Sen. Chris Bequette is said to be mulling a run, according to Politico.

“I’m not going to have an exploratory committee, Cox said, standing alone on a stage dominated by a huge American flag. “In my world, you are either in or out -- I’m in for the duration…

“I’ve been very careful with the Tea Party to keep social issues out; it’s all about the stimulus… But candidate Tom Cox wants to tell everyone here I am pro life. It’s funny that everybody is for abortion has already been born…

“I believe that the Good Lord intended for a husband and wife to be married… Marriage is intended to be between a man and a woman,” he added to applause and cheers.

The Arkansas Tea Party website announces that it is for “limited government, conservative fiscal policy, and accountable elected officials.”

Cox, a local businessman who manufactures pontoon boats under trade name “Aloha,” has not previously run for any elected office, according to Politico.

He says he became intrigued with the Tea Party movement after watching CNBC host Rick Santelli criticize the federal stimulus program last February. By March he was committed to holding his own rally in Little Rock.


The Arkansas Tea Party president would like to permanently banish from the memories of the electorate a run-in with Federal authorities he had last summer.

The feds raided his North Little Rock boat manufacturing facility taking into custody, thirteen alleged illegal aliens. The workers had labored there for seven years and had displayed fake work papers when originally hired.

At the time of the arrests, Cox told the Associated Press he had “every reason to believe [the workers] were legal and they were wonderful employees.”

Cox has never been charged by the feds for the incident.

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