Tea Party Express: Nebraska will be focus of first 'surprise' endorsement
May 9th, 2011
02:07 PM ET
10 years ago

Tea Party Express: Nebraska will be focus of first 'surprise' endorsement

Washington (CNN) - Two days before The Tea Party Express reveals what it's called a major "surprise endorsement" for the 2012 races, the group has provided details to CNN.

On Monday, Tea Party Express National Spokesman Levi Russell said that its Senate endorsement – their first for the upcoming political cycle - will focus on Nebraska. The group will officially reveal the recipient of its endorsement at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Wednesday.

The Tea Party Express had already announced that the state's two-term Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is on its list of political targets.

"We are targeting Nelson for being one of the worst offenders and selling out his vote and his principles," Russell said.

The group's spokesman explained why it is making Nelson the target of its first major senate endorsement.

"Nelson is a well-established, long-time senator," Russell said. "And he has a lot of resources. And he has the ability to raise a lot of money. And what we want to do is bring this election to a national scale, just like [the Tea Party Express did] in Nevada or Alaska where we got involved and the candidate can get support from groups all across the U.S."

In the last senate races, the Tea Party Express endorsed Republicans Sharron Angle in Nevada and Joe Miller in Alaska – but both candidates lost their general elections despite deep financial support and manpower help from the group.

Currently, several Republicans are interested in replacing Nelson in Nebraska. State Attorney General Jon Bruning, former senate candidate Pat Flynn and state Treasurer Don Stenberg have officially entered the race, among others.

Nelson's campaign is downplaying the Tea Party Express' slams against the senator.

"It's old news, so it's not surprising," campaign manager Paul Johnson told CNN. "They've been railing against him for a few months now, saying they were going to target the race."

As for the group's Wednesday endorsement, Johnson said, "Ultimately people who vote in the primary - in the Republican primary and the Democratic party - will pick the nominee not…the Tea Party, per se, at the national level."

Johnson called claims that Nelson sells out his vote "poppy cock and political rhetoric."

"Sen. Nelson – both as governor and senator – has demonstrated time and again his willingness to work across party lines to accomplish good things for the people of Nebraska and our nation. And to use that kind of language is, I think, not only offensive to me – but I think to the people of Nebraska."

- Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: Ben Nelson • Nebraska • Tea Party Express
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. dcmisty

    I live in Nebraska and the Tea Party can keep their nose out of our politics. We don't need these fools to interfere in our races. We are adults and can vote for who we want in 2012. Why don't they go some place else and leave us alone..no one wants them here.

    May 9, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. David

    In a similar story, the KKK will be announcing a follow up endorsement of the same candidate.

    May 9, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. chill

    Hope that endorsement works as well in Nebraska as it did in Alaska and Nevada. Don't see any Senator Angles or Senator Millers in DC.

    May 9, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tea Party Express: I couldn't care less who your "May Surprise" will be. You are bought and paid for the Koch Brothers. Your philosophy is negative and erroneous ("Take Our Country Back" and "Lower Taxes"). You helped,by spreading misinformation, to re-elect the same group of people that unrepentantly put our country in dire straits, the RethugliKKKlans. They have made it their business not to move us forward but to stall, and tear down.

    So unless you've changed your tatic and seen the light, you can keep your surprise to yourselves because it will more than likely be another detractor and domestic terrorist we can ALL do without.

    May 9, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. obama victim

    a lot of dems in trouble in 2012.......even if Barry survives, he wll have a repub congress.......at least he won't be able to do any more damage to the country

    May 9, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Michael in Houston

    let me venture a guess...its a white male or female

    May 9, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. sammieb51

    Would Nebraska even be a state if it weren't for farm subsidies? And let's see the teabags go after that "entitlement"!

    May 9, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. kd


    The Tea Party was so 2010. They've burned out, thankfully. There might be some good folks involved but they never rose to the surface. All we saw and heard were nutjobs.

    May 9, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Bill

    Nelson really doesn't have anything to worry about. Bruning has embarressed himself in front of the US Surpreme court a couple times. And recently his campaing Financial Avisor, Dave Sokol, quite his cushy job at Berkshire Hathaway while pocketing millions from an inside trade. But AG Bruning has said he's done nothing wrong. But that's tea-party policits for you. Stenburg is a no-win has-been. Twice its been put to the ballot to eliminate the state Treasurer office, cause he does nothing.

    May 9, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. rosaadriana

    Who cares, The only surprise here would be if they endorse Nelson.

    May 9, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Nick

    Aaaawe how cute. The Tealiban still thinks it's relevant. Guess what folks... remember those "tea party" Republicans you got elected last year on the premise that they'd address fiscal problems? Yeah, turns out they want to bust unions, planned parenthood, NPR, grandma's heating subsidy, and give tax breaks to billionaires. Anybody surprised? Sorry, but the tea party's 15 minutes were over 20 minutes ago. You're not going to pull the same scam twice.

    May 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Jeff in Virginia

    nothing like a good old-fashioned astro-turf movement.

    see that bus? that's CORPORATE MONEY. They worship at the altar of the dollar, not the altar of freedom.

    May 9, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. ConservaFASCISTS

    Us democrats don't care too much for Sen. Nelson either. I'm all for getting those Blue Dog turncoats out of the party.

    May 9, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. MARTY

    The polling right now says that republicans will win the house and have 54 seats in the senate to gain control there in 2012.

    May 9, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. EddyL

    WHO CARES? All the tea bags that went to DC turned out to be total duds. LOL

    May 9, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. diridi

    with one truck, and a rocky flogger?????

    May 9, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Kurt

    Although I am not a Tea Partier, I would agree that Nelson sold out his vote and will have to pay for it come election time. I would like to see him go. He went against all of his constituents when he voted YES for the multiple bailouts that we were all opposed to. How about Health Care???

    May 9, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. rdarkchild

    Does anybody really care about TEA Parties endorsements?
    The represent about 14% of the really crazy Republicans.
    They claimed that they are concerned with deficit spending. But they spend most of their time repeating the same old Republicans lines.
    We are the moral police.
    We want to tell you how to live your private life.

    May 9, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Candy Taylor

    I would think being a target of the teaparty would ensure re-election. America has these looneys number!

    May 9, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Ozzie

    Lets hope the good people of Nebraska have the sense to toss the Tea Party outsides out on their keester.

    May 9, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. james miller, seymour,TX

    True "grass roots" movement cannot afford the expensive vehicles often seen with expensive logos. Evidently, the "grass roots" are largely the top 1-2% of the taxpayers.---- Yes sireeeeee !!!!!!

    May 9, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. j

    The picture tells it all. That bus is worth $250 K alone. --– BIG BUCKS somewhere.

    May 9, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Donna

    I hope that the people of Nebraska learned from the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey and support candidates that represent their interests instead of those who represent corporate and self serving wealthy-greedy individuals.

    May 9, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. aradayon

    OMG, i can't wait for this. please, please, please either Newt, Sarah, Bachmann and my favorite The Donald. i can't wait to solicit funds from bingo friends, god bless america.

    May 9, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Jake

    screw the Tea Party!

    May 9, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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