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Tea Party activists still steamed about Bachmann stumping for Blunt

Despite the furor, some area Tea Party activists say they're not budging from their objections to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's decision to campaign here Saturday for U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt's bid for the U.S. Senate.

"Whenever she endorses, she's taking our name with her," said Jeannine Husky, with the Eureka Tea Party, referring to Bachmann's new "Tea Party Caucus" of members of Congress.

Husky's group was among more than two dozen Missouri Tea Party organizations who signed a letter objecting to Bachmann's visit, largely because they don't endorse any candidates. Since the news broke, Husky said she's gotten tons of supportive calls.

Bachmann will join Blunt at his phone bank operation in Sunset Hills on Saturday morning, then headline a fundraising event.

Blunt's staff downplays any Tea Party concerns.

"We are very pleased to have the support of Michele Bachmann. With less than 100 days until Election Day, she will be helping energize our volunteers and supporters at one of our weekend phone banks," said Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer.

Bachmann's campaign refer a press inquiry today to her official congressional office, which said it could not comment because her visit was a campaign activity.

State Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith says Tea Party activists are misunderstanding why Bachmann is helping Blunt. "I think Michele Bachmann and Roy Blunt have a long relationship of working together in the House," Smith said.

Although most area Tea Party groups aren't endorsing any candidates, some of their members back state Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, who's seeking to upset Blunt in next Tuesday's GOP primary to pick a Senate nominee.

Rick Blowers, a leader of the "We Surround Them 9/12 Project" -- a Tea Party-allied group in Jefferson County -- explained, "We have a problem with Roy Blunt. He's part of the big spenders in Congress since the 1990s."

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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