April 8th, 2010
09:58 AM ET
11 years ago

Tea Party Express targets Stupak

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/22/art.stupak.gi.jpg caption ="The Tea Party Express is holding five events in Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak’s congressional district on Thursday."](CNN) - The Tea Party Express is predicting large crowds for its five events Thursday and Friday aimed at unseating Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan. The five events are being held in the Democratic congressman's large and rural district, which includes the entire upper peninsula of Michigan.

The rallies come as sources tell CNN that the top two House Democrats called Stupak to urge him to stay in Congress. A Stupak spokeswoman didn't confirm nor deny rumors that Stupak is considering retiring from Congress.

"Every two years, Congressman Stupak discusses with his family and his constituents whether to seek reelection. He believes that is what the people of the First District of Michigan deserve," said Stupak spokeswoman Michelle Begnoche.

Begnoche does tell CNN that Stupak's campaign plans are underway, and has already gathered the 1,000 signatures needed to formally file for re-election by Michigan's deadline, May 11th.

Three Democratic sources tell CNN that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have both called Stupak to urge him to stay in Congress.

One of the sources says that the top two House Democrats told Stupak that he's a valued and important member of the caucus, that there's still a lot more work to be done that will benefit Michigan and that the caucus will be there for him.

Despite the rumors and cryptic statement from Stupak's office, several Michigan Democrats who know Stupak tell CNN they do not think he will retire.

The socially conservative, anti-abortion rights Democrat gained national attention last month by helping deliver the remaining votes House Democrats needed to pass health care reform. Stupak cut a deal with the White House that he says ensures no taxpayer money will be used to fund abortions. The bill was signed into law last month by President Obama.

The Tea Party Express says it is targeting Stupak because of his health care vote. The group began what they call a $250,000 television and radio campaign against the nine term congressman. Tea Party Express organizers say that local coordinators are predicting crowds of what they describe as "historic proportions." But cold weather and snow in the area could keep the crowd size down.

"People are angry, they feel that Congressman Stupak betrayed them and they are determined to hold him accountable," says Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams.

Stupak is also now facing criticism from abortion rights groups who think he forced too many abortion restrictions into the health care bill. They are trying to raise money for his Democratic primary challenger, Connie Saltonstall.

Still, several Michigan political experts tell CNN they believe it would be hard to unseat Stupak. He is a popular figure in his district, and the anti-abortion, anti-gun Democrat still seems to fit the largely Catholic, socially conservative constituency.

And, so far, Stupak's potential challengers are unknown and not well funded.

"The idea that Stupak, who has been a congressman for 18 years can be beaten by somebody with no money – from left or right – with no constituency, is unlikely," said Bill Ballenger of Inside Politics Michigan, a political newsletter.

The five rallies are part of the Tea Party Express's third national bus tour, which is scheduled to end on April 15. The Tax Day event is expected to draw various tea party and conservative groups to the nation's capital.

The tour, with a slogan of "just vote them out," is highlighting the states and districts of lawmakers that Tea Party Express is working to defeat in this year's congressional elections.

The tour kicked off in Searchlight, Nevada, which is the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Tea Party Express organizers say that Reid and Stupak are their top two targets.

–CNN producer Evan Glass contributed to this report

Filed under: Bart Stupak • Michigan • Tea Party movement
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Please stay, so you can be fired in November.

    April 8, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. michael armstrong sr.

    Screw the democrats and republicans im voting for Lou Dobb's next election .

    April 8, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. not alone

    Hey TP'ers how about some Idea's instead of attacks? Be nice if you was working with everyone to improve this country and not destroy it.

    April 8, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Brig

    It will be ugly like most of the races this year. Hopefully he will leave or lose his seat but either way we need term limits. Eighteen years is too long to have been a Congressman I don't care what party you represent. In general the most offensive representatives that currently represent us have been there the longest.

    April 8, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. geecee

    This just goes to show you how insane these Teabaggers are! Not even Stupak is conservative enough for them. Nut cases, all of them! They need to seek mental health treatment on a daily basis, instead of getting their heads filled with trash by listening to Limpbag and Fox Noise Channel. They are gullible, stupid, ill-informed mentally-deranged, dangerous and violent.

    April 8, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. truth hurts

    Who are these people endorsing so I can make sure t ovote against that person

    April 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Ryan

    We need to target the the Tea Baggers for what they really are: insane racists.

    April 8, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    Who is the hell died and left the Tea Party in charge?????? This s really getting OLD and the Tea Party should mind their business and worry about their own districts.

    I truly hope Stupak's district get behind him and shut the holes in the faces of these Tea Party Movement folks who – in my opinion – have NOTHING else to do but go around and try to SPEAK for EVERYONE!! They DO NOT represent everybody!!!

    They LIE – they spread hatred and most of all, they are all one shade!!

    April 8, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    Not to worry Stupak, the traveling freak show known as the tea gaggers, do not have a vote within your state.

    They are nothing more than RVing racist.

    April 8, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. Stacie

    Leave this man alone! He is clearly someone who makes decisions after serious reflection, and follows his religious and moral beliefs. Just because you don't like his decision one time, doesn't mean you should attack him! Really, who won't the tea party attack?!?!

    April 8, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. James

    You tea party people are fools. Express is headed by Dick Armey, a former congressman and a lobbyist who makes $750,000 a year.

    April 8, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Independent

    Stupak stand your ground don't let these radical people run you away

    April 8, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Fitz In Texas

    Sure wish I could be there!

    April 8, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. Jay

    If the lily-white, racist, homophobic, gun-tottin', fat, toothless, ignorant, birther, reactionary, wingnut, Day-Trippin' Teabaggers (by the way, T-baggers, show us YOUR birth certificates so we know you're actually REAL Americans and not some nasty, infiltratin', Nazi-lovers from an obscure eastern European country tryin' to destroy our democracy - are you listening Mr. Beck?) are against him, I'm all for him, even though I know absolutely nothing about him. Did I mention that I really don't like T-baggers?

    April 8, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Wisconsonite - Repeal & Replace the Republican Party!

    I hope he loses. Not to a TP candidate of course, (since I HAVE a brain), but to a more progressive Democrat. Natually, I don't hold out much hope that will happen . . . but one can still hope. Stupak put his religious beliefs BEFORE his constitutional obligation as a duly elected Congressman and that is wrong. Period.

    Plus, he's connected with the C Street Cult and that is going to land him in a big pile of doo-doo because there's a whole bunch that's going to hit the fan about the C Street Cult . . . . mark my words.

    April 8, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. crew, md

    please DO NOT RETIRE congressman Stupak.
    from a doctor who admires your courage to do the right thing, even if it isn't the easiest thing to do.

    thank you for your service!

    April 8, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Minnesotan

    The Tea Party Circus just left Minneapolis.... and nobody noticed. The only thing these guys are competent at is being pathetic, anti-intellectual and funny as all get out with their 'Teabonics' and ridiculous mis-spelled signs.

    April 8, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  18. Dave

    Don't these people realize that Stupak is the biggest reason why the health care bill is as favorable as it is towards the Pro-Life movement? Trying to vote him out over this vote... shouldn't they be focusing on any of the other 218 reps who also voted for the bill but wouldn't have brokered such an anti-abortion deal? I guess the Tea Partiers aren't known for intelligence though.

    April 8, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Dano

    Since these folks have the time and money to travel around the country harassing politicians I can only assume they are wealthy and retired. I wonder how many of them are enjoying the benefits of big government programs like SSI and medicare? I think they are more for lower taxes (on their investment income) than they are for smaller government.

    April 8, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    I'm not a fan of Stupak, but he and all other politicians need to stand up to these teabaggers.

    This whole "movement" is bought and paid for by Roger Ailes and Fox and is nothing but a front for all the greedy corporate interests that are taking our country down the tubes.

    If the teabaggers really want to make a statement about their feelings towards government, they should all take their elderly, white behinds off Medicare, Social Security and any other government program they are benefitting from.

    While they're at it, they should also stop using the interstate highway system to get to their rallies and relying on local police to ensure they are safe when they spew their ignorant hate.

    If their houses should catch on fire, they need to pay the fire department up front before a single drop of water is sprayed.

    And if any of them were educated in the public school system, they need to write a check to reimburse the government for providing it.

    In other words, start walking your talk. Either that or SHUT UP!

    April 8, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. Sarah the baby seal basher

    His neck of the woods is even more frightning than east Texas.

    April 8, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Captain Crunch

    "People are angry, they feel that Congressman Stupak betrayed them and they are determined to hold him accountable," says Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams.

    I really wish someone would tell people like this TPE Chairman that not everyone is angry. I find it beyond annoying that these people get up and speak as if they are the voice of the entire American populace. They are not!

    April 8, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. CitizenJP

    By voting 'yes', Mr. Stupak voted in favor of life and living and not against it. As a result millions of lives will continue to experience life. If the Tea Partiers are truly in favor of "life" and not about some pretence, they would be supporting Mr. Stupak and not opposing him.

    April 8, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. conniesz

    I may not agree with Congressman Stupak, but I recognize him as a man of integrity and principle. His constituents are exactly the type of people who will benefit from the health reform bill, and educating them should be job one for the Democrats. There are few enough people of principle in congress these days – it would be a shame for one of them to pack up and leave at this point. Please stay.

    April 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Curtis

    I live in the lower peninsula, which is basically the Michigan that everyone knows, and it is common knowledge that the U.P. doesn't like change. The odds of Stupak becoming unseated are very low, and I would put my money on a more logical choice: these tea partiers are going to freeze outside; become sick off of eating too much of the U.P.'s fudge; and create some notion that all of Michigan is like the U.P (which is grotesquely untrue)...
    As much as I would favour the more liberal candidate, Saltonstall, I know that Stupak will remain in the House, which is far better than other possibilities...

    April 8, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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