Despite Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s front-runner status, the tea party faithful have yet to settle on a front-runner and will be closely watching Thursday’s debate, which could go a long way toward determining who their standard-bearer will be in 2012.
Leaders of Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots, and FreedomWorks are all saying it is too soon to call Perry a front-runner who has won the movement’s support.
“It is still too early to tell and tonight should be very interesting,” Tea Party Express chairperson Amy Kremer tells Newsmax. “The field is still wide open and it is too early to count anyone out yet.”
Kremer points out that at this stage in the last cycle, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson were leading in polls. Arizona Sen. John McCain was polling in single digits, nearly ran out of money, fire his campaign staff – and then went on to become the GOP nominee. So it’s still too early to say which candidate is the grass-roots favorite.
“The bottom line is that Barack Obama is in big trouble, not only with the American people, but with the Democratic Party,” says Kremer. “All of these Republican candidates realize how serious this economic crisis is and know that we cannot spend our way out of debt or into prosperity. Each of these candidates would do a better job than our current President, but the tea party is looking for the strongest constitutional conservative to get us out of this mess.”
FreedomWorks chairman and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey stopped short of endorsing Perry, but suggested grass-roots conservatives are leaning in his direction.
“We like him because he knows what he stands for and he’s willing to make a commitment to that,” Armey told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview. “And we dare to believe that once he gets past the elections and sits in that office, that he’ll live by those commitments to constitutional limitations on big government.”
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