Tags: Tea Party | tea | party | backlash | Amash

Tea Party Districts: Signs of a 2014 Backlash

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 08:02 AM

By Elliot Jager

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It all depends on your perspective. Some look at the government shutdown and see the beginning of the end of the tea party. Others see just the beginning.

Liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne predicts a "slowly building revolt among Republicans" against the tea party as "appreciation for government rises when it's no longer there."

There are signs that of the 80 House members who signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner urging him to tie financing the government to defunding Obamacare, at least some will be facing a political backlash in their districts, according to The Washington Post.

Traditionally conservative West Michigan elected tea party activist Justin Amash to the House of Representatives, where he has vigorously led the campaign against Obamacare and for smaller government.

Some in the local business community say too vigorously. And their patience with Amash's style and ideological agenda is running low, according to the Post. Republicans there are divided, with some recruiting a challenger to take on Amash in the 2014 primary.

Parallel efforts are underway in several other tea party-held districts -- in Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee -- where the Republican establishment is backing primary challenges against tea party incumbents.

Traditional Republicans prefer to engage Democrats to find solutions rather than be confrontational.

In Oakland County, Mich., Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, who is associated with the tea party, can expect a primary challenge. And in Tennessee, tea-party-aligned Rep. Scott DesJarlais will also contend with a GOP primary opponent. So, too, in North Carolina, where Rep. Walter Jones will come up against a more moderate opponent, the Post reported.

Dave Mehney, an Amash supporter is unworried. "I know all the power brokers here in town, and some people might consider me one. They can put all the money they want into it and find somebody to run, but they won't beat Justin because he's got the grass roots."

Meanwhile, in the suburbs of Atlanta, another tea party aligned- congressman, Tom Graves, is getting a very different message from his constituents, The New York Times reported.

Jeff Epperson couldn't be happier with Graves and his efforts to defund Obamacare. Though his own business depends on visitors to a local national-heritage site, Epperson said the last thing he wants is for Graves to cave in now.

Republican elders may be warning of a voter backlash, but tea party congressmen could just as likely face challengers to their right if they waiver.

Constituent Tim Ferguson, a forklift operator, said Graves would be committing "political suicide by backing down." He also expects him to stand firm on the next fiscal deadline, raising the debt ceiling. "If [a default] has to happen for the American people to get what's best, defunding Obamacare, so be it," Ferguson told the Times.
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