The tea party is starting to flex its muscle in the run-up to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, USA Today reported Friday.
Two of its most prominent congressional backers are flirting with running for the party’s presidential nod: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
Bachmann announced Thursday that she’s forming an exploratory committee to investigate a run for the president. Paul said that either he or his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, would most likely jump into the race, but that he wouldn’t run if his father did.
The tea party helped Republicans recapture the House in the 2010 and midterm elections and increase the number of senators. What the tea party, which is a loose conglomerate of groups with no central leader, has yet to show is whether they help a candidate win a national election.
Tea party activists are certain they will be a force in the upcoming election, influencing GOP candidates.
"A high-profile tea party candidate will push everyone on the campaign trail in the direction of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets," said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.
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