Establishment over tea party in GOP leadership race
December 13th, 2011
05:08 PM ET
11 years ago

Establishment over tea party in GOP leadership race

Washington (CNN) - It was tea party vs. the establishment in a closely-watched race for an obscure Senate Republican leadership post - and the establishment won.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a former top leader in the House and long time presence on Capitol Hill, defeated tea party-backed Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin for the fifth-ranking Republican leadership position in the Senate Tuesday.

The race between the two freshman senators drew wide attention with tea party activists eager to see if Johnson could win a seat at the leadership table, where key decisions about legislative policies, tactics and strategies are hammered out daily.

"I think it is important to have an independent voice, an outside perspective at the leadership table. That's why I ran," Johnson said.

The votes were cast by secret ballot during a closed-door meeting of the Republican conference in the Capitol. By tradition, the final tally will be kept private, senators said.

"I'm sure this was a very close vote. We're getting close. We just need more allies," Johnson said. "I don't want people getting disgusted or discouraged. I want them energized. I want to make sure they're staying involved so we can bring more people here in 2012."

Blunt said he was "grateful" for the opportunity to serve his colleagues and hoped to help Republicans win back the majority in next year's election.

The leadership post became vacant after Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said he would not run to retain his third-ranking position next year. Other current members of the GOP leadership – Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming– moved up, leaving the fifth-ranking position as the only contested post.

Republicans will have to pick a new number two leader next year after Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona retires from the Senate and leaves his minority whip post vacant.

Filed under: Ron Johnson • Roy Blunt • Senate • Tea Party
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    There is hope. America is waking up. And I sit here cheering for the establishment GOPer. OMG.

    Reject the Tea America. Drink water and flush!!

    December 13, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. B

    The Tea Party is destroying the Republican Party and I say let them do it.

    Obama is smiling !

    December 13, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    Boy – there's a no-win proposition. I really don't like Blunt representing me, let alone being in a position of leadership. On the other hand, I like the Tea Partiers even less. Better the devil you know, I guess.

    December 13, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Johnson is a do nothing clown for the State of Wisconsin. An embarrassment who ran on jobs and has done nothing, like the rest of the Tea party....

    December 13, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Namejkane

    Even a dem would root for an establishment republican over these teabag exstremest loser clowns that are hurting our county and wreaking the Gop!!!

    December 13, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. Johnathan

    About time someone told the tea baggers to go back to hicksville.

    The GOP has a dreadful Malaria running through it. An infection. It is called the tea party, and it must work itself out and be expecorated by the GOP. They have the floor right now, which is why you don't see any sane, rational candidates, save for Huntsman, running in the primaries.

    Until this feverish malaise diminishes, the reasonable ones will keep their heads under their desks. I'm talking about the Danielsons, Pawlenty's, Christies' and the like, who will re-emerge as the voice of the GOP once the GOP realizes it has to take a collective tea party "dump".

    . Of course all of this will only take place... but only after Obama's second term Plenty of time for the dreadful infection to works it's way out of the body politic.

    December 13, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. NC

    tea party you were used to get votes and power in the house and senate. They don't care about you until 2012 ha ha.

    December 13, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Clwyd

    Ron Johnson has done nothing for Wisconsin so far except embarrass us!

    December 13, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. V in Chicago

    Can it be that the Republicans are finally realizing that the Tea Party is and will destroy them? Is it possible that we could actually boot these T-Clowns from Washington and get a working Congress again? Please pinch me. I think I'm dreaming!

    December 13, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. SiriusVH

    Why do GOPsters want to send to the White House someone who was kicked out of his Speaker position in the House by HIS OWN party? Does that show leadership? If you can't even lead your own 'troops', how can you expect to lead people who have no respect for you?

    December 13, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Food stamps for billionaires.

    Ron Johnson appears to be as worthless as our own senator Rubio, and congressman Mack.

    December 13, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. cnnwhynow

    I said this in 2004. The Republican party is dying, and the democratic party is dying. What we have is an Oligarchy which has the same agenda. The big bankers have financed every major war for 200 years, and they were behind assiassinations, and 9/11. JFK, lincoln, and Hitler all made the same mistake. They denouced the Federal reserve and attempted to print their own monies. Guess what happened to them? OOPS by risk by little ole me to say this publically.

    December 13, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Max

    Down with the tea party. Americans are now realizing they only have a racist agenda. What a bunch of bigots?

    December 13, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. cnnwhynow

    The tea party was hijacked by the Koch brothers, and 9/11 had electromagnetic pulses from the planes destroy all of the electronics prior to the so called crashes into the bldgs. It was molten metal bubbling down the sides of the trade centers which was why it smoldered so long without first responders able to go in and try and recover bodies. That's why a Chinese comp[any was contracted to discard all of the debris so a formal investigation would be stumped. The commissions were hand picked and they were all affiliated to large international powers to be. Any questions?

    December 13, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. vet in texas

    "they're what we thought they were" – Coach Denny Green.

    December 13, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. diridi

    Let Tea thugs be a biggest Menace to Republican idiots....because they are Idiots...good luck.

    December 13, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Poor Tea People , they were duped by big corporate interests .

    Cut there medicare and give them guns .

    Dick Armey / Louie Gohmert

    December 13, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. Valerie from Raleigh

    The once-proud Republican party needs to quickly reclaim the Party from the Tea Party crazies. As an Independent, I saw John Boehner try to work with the president on desperate issues but the Tea Party said no and the country about went off the edge again thus reinforcing my negative opinion of the Tea Party. As an Independent, I would consider voting for Republicans but if they are supporters of or associated with the Tea Party, they will never get my vote. The country needs two strong political parties run by educated statesmen who have the country's best interest at heart and not the blind hatred the Tea Party has for our first African American president. I will be proud to cast my vote for President Obama in the 2012 election.

    December 13, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Chris, Austin

    "I don't want people getting disgusted..."

    Too late.

    December 13, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Ken

    The only one to profit from the Tea Party was SarahPalin – and, boy!! did she profit at 125,000 dollars per speech!! – and then disappear!
    The Tea Party members are the most gullible fools that have hit the American political scene!! The only time politicians pay attention to these people is when they can "fleece the sheep" in order to line their own pockets.

    December 13, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. willie floyd

    What can I say?? WOW-and I'm not even from Wisconsin!! IMHO our country will never move forward until all the teabaggers are gone. In SC we only have 1 Dem. and he is in the House. Although I am retired and on SS (after working all my life and paying into it), I am sending what I can afford after paying my bills directly to Elizabeth Warren, in Mass. My thinking is if I can't unseat a Rep. in my own state, maybe I can help in another.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    December 13, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. willie floyd

    BTW, my SS statement was to avoid having some Rep. jump in and tell me to go to work or call me a left wing radical-I'm getting a little sick of those types of comments!!

    December 13, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. Lisa P

    Senator Zero is an embarrassment to the great State of Wisconsin. I only wish we could recall him like we're recalling the other embarrassments of the 2010 elections.

    December 13, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. WisconsinLover

    Ron Johnson has been in office since last January and has not shown his face in any of our small towns, and maybe once in Milw...but he hasn't had a listening session as our former Senator Russ Feingold had all the time. Russ cared what we thought, Johnson doesn't, but he has plenty of time to attend Koch-funded events at the American Heritage Foundation and ALEC meetings, where he gets his marching orders. Thank God he wasn't elected for this post, he's a puppet of huge corporations and the business he claims to have started was given to him by his father-in-law. When he was their accountant, they got thousands in federal funds, but later said he didn't know that. If their accountant didn't know it, who would? He's as bad as our governor, Scott Walker, both are funded by the same interests and both do exactly what they're paid to do, and that is not to represent the people of this state.

    December 13, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  25. clint

    To all obama lovers he had a chance to be great cut spending get this country back on track he didn't shame on him worst president ever

    December 13, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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