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Teabagger Army of freaks and social rejects set to make waves in 2010

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Filed: Timeline

In what could be a nightmare scenario for Republican Party officials, conservative activists are gearing up to challenge leading GOP candidates in more than a dozen key House and Senate races in 2010.

Conservatives and tea party activists had already set their sights on some of the GOP’s top Senate recruits — a list that includes Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida, former Rep. Rob Simmons in Connecticut and Rep. Mark Kirk in Illinois, among others.

But their success in Tuesday’s upstate New York special election, where grass-roots efforts pushed GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava to drop out of the race and helped Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman surge into the lead on the eve of Election Day, has generated more money and enthusiasm than organizers ever imagined.

Activists predict a wave that could roll from California to Kentucky to New Hampshire and that could leave even some GOP incumbents — Utah Sen. Bob Bennett is one — facing unexpectedly fierce challenges from their right flank.

“I would say it’s the tip of the spear,” said ####### Armey, the former GOP House majority leader who now serves as chairman of FreedomWorks, an organization that has been closely aligned with the tea party movement. “We are the biggest source of energy in American politics today.”

...

Party strategists worry that well-funded, well-organized challenges from the right could force Republicans to exhaust precious resources on messy primary fights — or force moderate candidates to adopt more strident positions early on that could haunt them during the final months of the campaign.

...

Rubio’s race is one that many on the right point to as the next New York 23, a contest where conservatives and tea party activists are in open revolt about Crist and the national party’s decision to endorse him despite his embrace — literally — of President Barack Obama and his stimulus package during a Florida visit in February.

Rubio has won nearly a dozen county GOP straw polls across the state and is rapidly becoming a darling of the tea party movement.

Everett Wilkinson, an organizer for the Florida Tea Party Patriots, said his group plans to take part in get-out-the-vote activities and other efforts to deny Crist the GOP nomination, despite the fact that Crist leads both Rubio and Rep. Kendrick Meek, the likely Democratic nominee, by a comfortable margin.

To Wilkinson, he’d rather burn the house down if it means saving it.

...

In Utah, where Bennett has won reelection by landslide margins since first winning the seat in 1992, disgruntled conservatives are looking to take him down in next year’s state party convention after his Wall Street bailout vote last fall and several other high-profile votes in which he broke with the right.

In the House, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) is among a handful of GOP veterans facing primary challenges of varying competitiveness for their departures from conservative orthodoxy.

“It’s kind of like investors in a company saying they’re not going to tolerate it anymore. And that’s what we’re seeing here,” said Eric Odom, executive director of the American Liberty Alliance, a libertarian-oriented group. “We’re already gearing up. This is just the beginning.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20091103/pl_politico/29057


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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