October 3rd, 2010
12:01 PM ET
12 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. Ames F. Tiedeman

    What the Republican Party should actually do is go back to its Conservative roots and embrace the Tea Party and become the Tea Party!

    October 3, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Oodoodanoo

    Thune ran on a promise to keep Ellsworth AFB open, even though the non-partisan BRAC commission decided it should be shut down. In other words, he ran on a position of keeping pork flowing to South Dakota.

    In that sense, he's a great candidate for the Tea Party: Do as I say, not as I do!

    October 3, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. teabag

    It dont matter what they do. In the end they will get voted out after they ruin the country.

    October 3, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. ST

    Though the statement of Thune is quite astonishing, but at the same time it energises the Dems. Dems need to fight even harder to defend what they have accomplished so far. I am optimistic they are going to make it.

    October 3, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Right-wing extremists deserve their own party. If there is a 3rd party, it would need to be more neutral or centrist. Otherwise it makes no sense to have wing-nuts split to form their own groups.

    October 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Dale

    Steve wrote "A third party has never flourished in America" but he assumes that the two parties in the two party system are and always will be Dems and Republicans. In the old days, voters really had little choice but to vote based on party since there wasn't much information available to the average voter. Nowdays, every voter can google search candidates and find out every last detail about them. Skeletons don't stay in closets any more, and blatant disinformation is quickly debunked. So the "party" system is in my opinion now obsolete. People, just ignore party affiliation and vote based on the person. Party means nothing, and partisanship is a disease for those who are too lazy to do their own thinking.

    October 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. LanceH

    The reason the Democrats HATE the Tea Party with such passion is because they see this as an ideological cleansing of the corrupt Republican establishment. The one thing they FEAR is real debates about the direction of the Country and the proper role of the Government. The Democrats WANT the go-along get-along Moderates running the Republican Party, NOT the Conservatives. Look how THEY (the Liberals) keep saying "This Tea Party is gonna spit the anti-Dem votes!" and "You Repubs don't want THAT!" which begs the question "Why the hell are the Dems all of sudden SO concerned with the integrity of the Republican Party? HUMMM???" Think about this folks!

    Just look at how briefly this Tea Party has been in existence (it doesn't even have a real platform as far as I know) and ALREADY there is this MASSIVE wall of hatred being thrown toward it by the Leftwing Establishment and the Left Media. They see the writing on the wall kids and they FEAR it to their bones....

    October 3, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. immigrant

    GOP, nothing good cannot come from you.GOP leader don't care, cares only for themselve and big business, works againt the poors, shame to GOP.

    October 3, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. LanceH

    The Tea Party rallies are mainly average middle class Moms and Dads who are tired of seeing their hard work being taken from them by a Federal State growing like a stage 4 cancer. It's absolutley stunning watching the Left trash the hell out of these people...

    October 3, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Nixonian

    Split away and thank God. As a once-proud 'Nixonian' republican, I can only hope that these over-simplistic hot air bags leave my party and take their fear-based obstructionist pouting techniques with them so that government can start working again....however cumbersomely. It would also be nice if the media could split their love affair with these babies and stop over inflating the coverage they get. A return to proper journalism would be the most beneficial way to put an end to extremists of all stripes.

    October 3, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. capnmike

    This bunch of arrogant nitwits who are led by ignorant lying losers like Palin SHOULD split off, and take their gang of wingnuts with them, thus effectively preventing another Repiglican government from ruining the economy and warmongering like the last gang did with Bush and his miserable greedy cohorts.

    October 3, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    The Tea Party – as a THIRD PARTY means NOthing!!!!! LQQK at the crowd!!! They DO NOT represent TODAY and they DO NOT represent TOMORROW!!

    October 3, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Paulie

    The Obama experiment is over so now its time to draw some conclusions – if we let Republicans back into power and there is a great deal of immediate growth and the economy rebounds within the first 6 months cant we then conclude that the last 20 months or so was a failed experiment? If not you still have the next couple of elections to decide. Who do you want governing you "liberals" whos name by definition mean to overdo things and be hasty and not thrifty to say the least or "conservatives" whos name by definition means savings and restraint in the fiscal sense? Dont we need real conservators in government not people who are way too liberal?

    October 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Matt

    The Tea Party splitting off from the RNC would pretty remarkable – would they pool all their Social Security checks to make up for not getting big $$$ from Republican orgs like FreedomWorks? It's also unclear to me how they'd continue to be relevant without constant donations of airtime and advertising from Fox News.

    October 3, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. vp

    totally disingenuous Republicans.

    silent on their views until Democrats took office.

    October 3, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Paul NYC

    This makes no logical sense so I have to conclude that this is Thune throwing some red meat at the Tea Partiers for support from that crowd. A third party made up by the most right wing of the Republican Party will spell doom for the GOP and a whimper rather than a bang for the Tea Party. I'm sorry if the reality doesn't fit the delusion but the Tea Party pretty much already has all the people that are going to support their brand of politics.

    October 3, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Matthew

    The tea party has been done before. They were called the Whig party. They saw four presidents elected, and they totally controlled both houses for a number of years. Once they had accomplished what they set out to do, then the people involved moved back to their old party the Democratic Republican party. We have had parties die in this country before, and it is high time that the democratic party died – and the tea party is ready to take their place. Ask Abraham Lincoln, he was a Whig before he was elected president.

    October 3, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Matthew

    End the fed, agreed. The Tea Party is not the GOP, and never has been. We oppose them as much as we did Bush. but we DO stand for the constitution and believe in strict interpretation.

    October 3, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Cafufle

    There IS a third party: The Greens.

    He says:if Republicans manage to take back the Congress next month, they will have to work quickly to deliver results to voters.
    Results? Aren't we living the results of their last 8 years?

    October 3, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. fuzzynormal

    Oh yes please. I'd love to see these guys actually try to do something. Talk about entertaining. It'll be hilarious. Plus, it'll fragment an entire voting block of people so they'll ultimately have less political clout. Which is fine by me.

    October 3, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Ross

    Depending on how many in Congress lose the election!!! If a lot of new faces win, the Democrats may have to go along with repeal of Health Care law before president Obama destroys the Democratic party like ex-President Bill Clinton did !!!!!

    October 3, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Darth Cheney

    Speaking as a very partisan liberal progressive Democrat, please do break off and form your own party. This will be the message the extremists need in reality therapy and that the GOP needs to return to some degree of sanity and moderation.

    October 3, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Rick

    absurd – the teabaggers own the gop and vice-versa. joined at the hip.

    October 3, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Kathy

    You say the Reps will have to work quickly and succeed to gain the pubic trust; if they are able to take back Congress; how stupid you are. They had Congress through the Bush years. No party can stop the crash of America; greed has destroyed her, and the attempted fix of the bail out is coming to an end; it was just postponing the crash. The economy is shutting down; there is no stopping it.

    October 3, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. John

    Lets have 4-5 parties to select from now. No more.....just two choices in this country.

    October 3, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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