June 15th, 2009
07:40 PM ET
13 years ago

Tea Party organizer launches Senate bid

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Tea Party movement appears to have produced its first official candidate for national office.

Tom Cox, the founder and chairman of the Arkansas Tea Party organization, announced at a rally on Monday that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Blanche Lincoln.

Cox, who owns Aloha Pontoon Boats in North Little Rock, has never sought elected office before. But after organizing a large Tea Party protest against the administration's fiscal policies in April, Cox said a number of local activists approached him about entering the 2010 race.

"I just believe there is a growing movement across the United States to find candidates that are different, that are more business-minded and so forth because they are tired of our tax dollars beying wasted," he told CNN in a phone interview.

Cox brushed aside doubts about whether Tea Party fervor can be successfully harnessed by a political campaign. He said that unlike in other states, the Arkansas Tea Party effort is "very organized" and "not just anti-Obama." He also argued that because the Tea Party movement is "center of the road" on social issues and is primarily concerned with fiscal responsibility, his campaign will be primed to appeal to Democrats and independents.

"I'm sure I will be considered a long shot and a fringe candidate, but I can tell you, my family business has been in business for approximately 50 years," he said. "We will outwork anybody from Washington, D.C., and we will beat them at the grassroots effort in this state."

Before Cox can face Lincoln, he'll have to survive a Republican primary: State Sen. Kim Hendren has already declared he will seek the GOP nomination.

Filed under: Arkansas • Blanche Lincoln
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. DRB

    For the first time, I'm getting out my wallet to help build the war chest up for those who take a stand for upholding the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Freedoms and Liberty of America. I'm sure there will be millions more who join me for the first time and we will see a political uprising against big government and tyranny. It is about time we return the power to folks who are serving the people not themselves their office.

    June 15, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown

    This is SO EXCITING!!!!! Snore...

    June 15, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    Out with Obama and the Democrats, and all those who apologize for America. In with fiscal responsibility and pride in America.

    June 15, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. Mitch

    I certainly hope there isn't a movement for highly unqualified candidates to run the federal government. Palin is bad enough. People like Cox can only do great harm and damage in the name of a tea bag.

    June 15, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. kd

    Another joker trying to benefit from a gimmick. Hope the people in Arkansas can see through the smoke and lies.

    June 15, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  6. Terry

    The free-lunch bunch wants government services, they just don't want to pay for them. They don't like potholes in their streets, but they don't want to pay to have them repaired. They want good public schools for their kids but they vote against school bond issues. They want a strong army to defend them from terrorists but they don't want to increase the salaries of soldiers – and they don't want to join the army themselves either.

    June 16, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  7. Peter E

    The Tea Party was nothing but partisan hypocrisy! Where were these people when Bush Jr. doubled the national debt and hence the tax burden on future generations? Oh, right, they were asking for tax cuts for themselves, hence burdening future generations with debt! They want tax cuts AND not have to pay back the loan! Sorry, math doesn't work that way!

    June 16, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Over 90% of your taxdollars go to Medicare, Social Security, national defense, and interest on the national debt. (which has doubled under Reagan and Bush Jr. each!) These are items nobody touches. People argue over less than 10% of the budget! And these Tea Partiers were nowhere when the republicans were running up record deficits! Hypocrites!

    June 16, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  9. Heather in Seattle

    This is exactly the type of person that we do not need in the senate! There are already enough people in the senate who only say no and do not have any new ideas to solve the serious problems that our nation is facing. It's all nice to say that our elected officials (that's right our ELECTED officials) shouldn't be doing this or that but there is not an alternative solution given.

    June 16, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. Joe Bullins - Vancouver, WA

    Oh Lord ::rolls eyes::

    You cant please everyone...he assumes he is far more business savvy than the other guy...but what he may consider smart policy others will consider stupid...welcome to politics TP Cox.

    June 16, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  11. renea

    All this group wants is a tax cut for the rich. As long as the money is benefiting them its ok. Always complaning about government spending too much money but the republicans dont complain about how the government is taking care of them by paying for their healthcare and etc. What would happen if the government didnt provide AFDC, foodstamps unemployement, financial aide and other things that low income families need what would it be like?

    June 16, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |