Sens. Stabenow, Snowe added to 'Tea Party Target List'
February 10th, 2011
09:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Sens. Stabenow, Snowe added to 'Tea Party Target List'

Washington (CNN) – Still swaggering after its recent electoral successes, the Tea Party movement appears to be growing more emboldened as it tries to blaze a path to power.

One new bold move: An activist group is publicly parading a list of lawmakers the group is determined to oust from office.

On Thursday, the Tea Party Express added two more names to its "2012 Tea Party Target List" - Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.

The language in a press release is emblematic of how Tea Party activists appear to be growing ever more audacious.

"Stabenow has been an advocate for the big government nanny state, forgetting that we the people tell the government what to do, not the other way around," Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said in the statement. Kremer added, "We think it's only appropriate that the Senate be more fair and balanced by replacing her with a constitutional conservative."

CNN contacted Stabenow's office but did not receive a response.

Tea Party activists have long worked against Democrats. What appears to be growing is a separate tactic: The movement's thumbing its nose at the GOP - the party that most ideologically identifies with the Tea Party.

Activists say moderate Republicans, that they believe are not bona fide fiscal conservatives, should be purged from the party. But some critics essentially accuse the Tea Party of the political equivalent of eating their own.

Case in point: the Express e-mail is especially harsh against Sen. Snowe.

"Olympia Snowe dishonors the notion that the Republican Party is supposed to be the fiscally conservative, constitutionalist political party in America," Kremer states.

The Express recently added Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson and Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar to its "Target List." And the group vows to reveal more names later this year.

But conservative activists may be hard-pressed to achieve their goals. Snowe, a moderate Republican, has been re-elected two times since winning the seat in 1994. Also, Maine has gone for a Democrat in every presidential election since 1988. And, despite his critics, Lugar is considered a respected voice on foreign policy and other issues.

Meanwhile, despite helping Republicans take back the House, the Tea Party movement lost three high-profile races that, arguably, it wanted to win the most: Sharron Angle lost to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada; Christine O'Donnell lost to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons in Delaware; and after a protracted battle in Alaska, the Tea Party-backed Joe Miller fell to Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

In a statement to CNN, Snowe's chief of staff harshly reacted to the charge that the senator is not a true fiscal conservative.

"The idea that Senator Snowe dishonors the notion that Republicans are the fiscally conservative party is absurd," John Richter said. "If they had supported her legislative trigger mechanism back in 2001, to preserve federal surpluses and pay down our debt, and to open a window of opportunity to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, we would not be in this situation today with our national debt.

Richter added: "If they had supported the constitutional balanced budget amendment she championed throughout her tenure, we would not be in this situation today. And if they had supported offsets as Senator Snowe did in 2003 when she thought it was prudent to do so, we would not be in the situation we're in today. So obviously, they are totally unfamiliar with her record on fiscal responsibility."

CNN, the Tea Party Express and other Tea Party groups are hosting a first-ever Tea Party debate for Republican candidates this fall.

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @shantravisCNN

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Charlie from the North

    Hey Sen Snowe,

    If the tea pardiots do manage to kick you out of the party they are ruining you should run as a Democrat. You'd have my vote. of course you would have to stop voting against Health-care but then........

    February 11, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  2. Unenrolled in Massachusetts

    This is good news for the Democrats in Maine. With the Tea Party's help, they should be able to send a Democrat to the senate.

    February 11, 2011 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  3. diridi

    Don't you ever and shouldn't you ever worry about GOP and Tea Party....They are going to lose like crazy dogs...o.k. True...I have already decided to vote for Obama 2012!!!! Period....let skies break loose....I am predicting a great victory for Democrats, because Nation is in right direction. o.k....All we know that GOP messed this nation like crazy and hell....true, true, and true......

    February 11, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  4. wgf

    The Tea Party shows just how crazy it is when it puts Richard Lugar on its target list. Richard Lugar is a serious and well respected politician with great insight, and would be a terrific Presidential candidate.

    February 11, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Stabenow losing reelection would be almost as sweet as when that nutjob Grayson lost.

    Be careful, Tea Party, of what you ask for when it comes to Snowe. It's true that's she's a RINO. The Senate is going to be CLOSE after the 2012 elections, and there would be nothing worse than the Republicans missing out on a majority because an unelectable Republican beat her in the primary (see Castle vs. O'Donnell).

    We're talking about Maine, after all.

    February 11, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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