Tags: candidates | drop | tea | party

Candidates Try to Shed Tea Party Label

Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 11:55 AM

By Dan Weil

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Many Republican congressional candidates did all they could to embrace the tea party in 2010, but some are working just as hard to break the embrace in 2012.

The tea party movement is still alive and well. But bipartisanship is a strong theme in this election, one emphasized repeatedly by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Thus many Republican candidates want to get on board that train.

Politico cites the case of Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg. He faced a tea party challenge in 2010 and quickly joined the House Tea Party Caucus after winning re-election.

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

But this year Rehberg is running for Senate. He plays up his bipartisanship, bragging that he opposed the Paul Ryan budget, cooperates with liberal Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, and supports expansion of a children’s health program. Rehberg doesn’t say anything about being a tea party member.

A similar dynamic is taking place in hotly-contested Senate and House races around the nation. Republicans who yearned for the tea party imprimatur in 2010 are keeping their distance this time around. Politio mentioned New York Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle and Nan Hayworth and Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek as other incumbents who have taken a similar tack.

But at least one true tea partyer is proving that staying true to the cause can pay off. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann raised $4.5 million for her campaign in the third quarter, in all likelihood the highest amount for any House candidate during that period.

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

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