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

    The Tea Party is truly frightening!

    February 10, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. duckbutter

    these two have both had there chances..... we need new ideas..new senatores.... the problem we have now is do to sen. like these ... stebenow has done nothing for michigan.... retire and go on a diet....

    February 10, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. Debbie

    Why do you people let the tea party come into your state and tell you who you can and can not vote for. They are not all that! Why can't you stand up to them like you stand up to Obama? You need to start a group of your own to counter everything they say and do. They're only as strong as you let them be. I bet they want go down south with that mess.

    February 10, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. rusty155

    The people of these state the Tea Party want too hit should stand up against them, all they do Is lie and spread hate and they are racist.American people better wake up be for the Koch Brother are running America.

    February 10, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    oh well if the so-called "angry" voters haven't learned their lesson from November's debacle maybe the Democrats next time will get off their lazy butts and go out and vote. By the time 2012 comes around hopefully more people will see that the GOP talks a good talk but has NO idea how to govern. Last year's election was bought and paid for by big money donors and the GOP taking advantage of a so-called angry voter population with fear and mis-information. Hopefully it won't happen again.

    February 10, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. Patricia

    Somebody please put the tea party people in their place. This is your state, S-T-A-N-D UP FOR YOURSELFS. They do not rule this country!

    February 10, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    The Tea Party is sending the WRONG message – We DO NOT want bipartisanship – We DO NOT want to compromise – It MUST be OUR WAY or NO WAY!!!!!!! Sorry, It will NEVER happen!!

    The election of 2010 was NOT ABOUT the TP
    It was about the "balance of Power" – it's about U – it's about ME
    And right now – TP – it's pretty well-BALANCED!!!
    So in 2012 – your ASH will be CHALLENGED!!!

    We need to support our current leader, President Obama, as he continue to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD for ALL – not a chosen FEW!!!

    No one DIED and left the TP in charge!! John Richter hit it right on the NOSE – Where were these people – meaning the TP – when BUSH was in office!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????

    February 10, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. duke

    I guess they think every representative from every state should be "constitutionally conservative"

    February 10, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Politics in Washington will be more combative and divisive after the Tea Party purge of GOP moderates. Do we need a third political party made up of moderates disenchanted with the two political parties?

    February 10, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. blake

    RINOS either need to:
    1) resign,
    2) formally align with the Democrats, who they have much more in common with, or
    3) expect to be targetted by conservatives.
    They have no place in the Republican party.

    February 10, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  11. Dan J

    Sure target a popular Republican in a state that votes democrat. Maybe they'll win the primary, but they have no shot in the general election. It is for the reason of pure tactical stupidity that I, as a republican, can never support the tea party movement.

    February 10, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  12. fayse

    My dear late father once told me back in the fifties, you cannot legislate morality. I have notice through the years that when a political party has no platform they resort to the "moral" issues. The ultra conservatives need to get out of our bedrooms and try to solve problems. They try to scare the elderly with threats of attacking social security and womens rights or gay rights. America dosent want to hear the same old thing time and time again. As for social security, this is NOT an entitlement. During our entire working life we have paid into the system. We had no choice, this was deducted before we ever saw our paycheck. If they are successful in destroying social security I firmly believe that every senior citizen should ban together and create a class action lawsuit. The politicians should stop using all of these issues as a political football. The "elected" officials are enjoying all of the benefits that they want to deny us. It is our tax dollars that pay their salaries.

    February 10, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. America fell asleep

    As a staunch Democrat, I will donate to Senator Olympia Snowe's campaign. She not only fights for women's issues, she is a moderate Republican, which is becoming extinct in the GOP party today.

    February 10, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    These teap party cry babies don't seem to remember that the GOP when it was in control spent money with abandon. If they had bothered to pay for the perscription part of the medicare expansion, then that wouldn't have added to the debt. Had they bothered to pay for the wars and not cut taxes, then there would be less of a problem. They don't see to get it, do they?

    February 10, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Edwin

    Funny how the tea party only wants to be fiscally conservative when a democrat is president...

    February 10, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. normajean

    I suggest that the Tea Partiers should be VERY CAREFUL whom they try to oust from office.! This determination could come back and bite them in the Aaaaaaa FOOT!!!!!

    February 10, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    What a joke this article calls her a moderate Republican. She sells her vote to the highest bidder. Olympia Snowe voted for Obamacare, TARP and the bailkouts. Her spokesperson is obviously lying.

    February 10, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  18. Geoff

    Well, if I lived in either of Maine or Michigan these two women would get my vote over a tea party mad-hatter any day!

    February 10, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  19. GP

    welcome to the end of the tea party

    February 10, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    IN the US senate we need more Olympia Snowe types not her own basic party trying to take her down.
    its ridiculous.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 10, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  21. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I can't wait to see these morons implode!

    February 10, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  22. Paul Willson

    Is the Tea Party Express the Republicans version of the Dixiecrats of 1948 ? That almost lost an election for the Democrats .
    And they are targeting BIG name GOP members this isn't how you become a 3rd party people

    February 10, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  23. video guy

    I guess you don't cross the Kosh Brothers do you

    February 11, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  24. Zip

    How much longer is this country going to put up with these kooks?

    February 11, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  25. The Teaparty is Nut's !

    I bet the sane republican's are regretting they ever allowed this Teaparty monstrosity out of it's cage ! They are going to keep this crap up until they cause a deep divide in the republican party that will undermine their chances of getting elected ! Just watch they will keep eating away at each other and people will turn on them if they haven't started to already !

    February 11, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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