Tea Party activists still steamed about Bachmann stumping for Blunt | St. Louis Public Radio

Tea Party activists still steamed about Bachmann stumping for Blunt

Jul 28, 2010

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.