October 3rd, 2010
12:01 PM ET
4 years ago

Thune: Tea Party could form splinter group by 2012

(CNN) – If Republicans neglect the concerns of Tea Party activists, the group could break off to form a third party as early as 2012, warned Republican Senator John Thune.

Thune, who is considering a presidential run, said if Republicans manage to take back the Congress next month, they will have to work quickly to deliver results to voters.

"If we do not govern according to our principles and if we don't follow through on the things that we say we're going to do, I think the Tea Party–I think there will be a third party in this country," Thune said on C-SPAN Newsmakers.


He applauded Tea Party candidates running for office this year as energetic and driven and said their concerns coincide "with what many of us who are there want to see done."

But the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee said the Senate would be very different considering "many of the candidates that are running on both sides this year are people who maybe don't have long resumes or experience in politics or government ... but are very motivated."

"We're going to have a lot of new people. And a lot of the people who got to the Senate in many cases ran campaigns that were about a very–a very distinct agenda," Thune said. "There are going to be a lot of new faces and probably some pretty strongly-held views. And we'll see how that works."

He tamped down expectations for a Republican wave election in November, saying Democrats are fighting hard.

"I do think that you can get expectations really high, and I hope that those expectations can be met," he said. "I think it's a longer shot in the Senate."

Thune hinted he would decide about a presidential run by early 2011 and said the results of the midterm elections could affect the political landscape for his party.


Filed under: 2010 • John Thune • Tea Party movement
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    A splintered splinter group. Won't that be good enough to start a good camp fire? This TEA party, which was embraced by John Cornyn of Texas, was in effect at the forefront of the TEA party in Texas. Debra Medina , the TEA party candidate of choice, soundly thumped Perry, the Governor and Hutchison, the Senator who ran for the Governorship. Will this new splinter group wear R2D2 outfits and talk like "Mork"? I used to vote "Southern Democrat", turned Republican and now Independent; so I'll watch closely and see how this new splintered splinter looks. I've got some old glad rags i'd like to wear one more time.

    October 3, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. ralph

    The Republican party was dead after eight years of Bush and the party being run for the benefit of the party and not the people. It is the Tea Parties that have energized the political process and are helping to throw out the bums that have gotten us into the fiscal mess we face.

    October 3, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. FedUpRepublican

    Great, then let the tea party form a third party. Though it appears they’ve been successful in gutting and co-opting the Republican Party so I’m not sure why they’d need to form a separate political entity. Instead, I’d much rather see a viable third party formed for moderates, where progress, sanity and common sense will once again prevail, and where moderate Republicans, Democrats and Independents will finally have a strong united voice in our government. The current two-party system has been co-opted by extremists who don’t even begin to represent or care about the vast majority of Americans. If moderates could unite to form a strong third party, I guarantee it would not only dwarf, but would also greatly diminish the power and influence of the Democrats and Republicans, including the tea party. Both political parties have proven to be abject failures, and a tea party influenced Republican majority is only going to create more political, social and economic division, where the end result will be prolonging the suffering of an already struggling lower and middle class.

    October 3, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Ditherer

    Tea Party fervor has crested. Their message, however, will continue to mobilize a backlash from sensible, long-term Democrats and, to a degree, remobilize the new liberal voters of Obama's by November 2. Cumulatively, the Dems will prevent the predicted routing.

    October 3, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Bob

    If they form their own party they will gaurantee an Obama re-election victory in 2012 because the conservative vote will be split. So to you Democrats who are so obsessed with the tea party and your hate toward Sarah Palin should thank you're lucky stars if this happens. BTW, I'm a conservative!!!

    October 3, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. dwight

    thinkagain may want to think again. Armstrong landed on the moon when Nixon was president and he was a republican.

    October 3, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Rich

    Real conservative republicans did the followings
    1) took care of hard working middle class and poor
    2) took care of minorities
    3) understand and took care immigrants
    4) respects family values but don’t criticizes others

    On what planet was this? Certainly not ours...

    October 3, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. biggeorge22

    vic, Nashville TN – Wow, a Republican I actually agree with. vic is right, this Republican party is so out of touch. All they care about is Big Business. That's why they stalled on campaign finance reform, because they, like the Democrat's too but more so, are in big corporations pockets. End the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy 2%, keep them for the rest. Fix the Health Care Reform. It was a good start but need tweaking and get people working again.

    October 3, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. Zed Bleich

    I agree with most of these comments. The reality is that these TP'ers are nothing more then ill-informed, bigoted, ignorant, angry people who we would never hear of if we currently had a white, conservative, ignorant president – like our last one. Notice how they are all bent out of shape on government spending. Never mind the previous administration ran up the bill we are having to deal with now. To me the press should simply ignore them as the inconsequential movement they are.

    October 3, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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