Tea Party a Non-Entity in NH

And, apparently, in the entire 2012 election
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2012 9:08 AM CST
Tea Party a Non-Entity in NH
People sing the National Anthem before the start of a Tea Party Express rally on September 5, 2011 in Manchester, New Hampshire.   (Getty Images)

Tea Partiers helped Republicans make major gains in the midterm elections, but where are they now? The movement is proving to be a non-entity when it comes to tomorrow's New Hampshire primary—and, seemingly, the rest of the election, Politico reports. Tea Party leaders have not coalesced behind a single candidate, leaving some worried that a failure to influence the presidential election could harm the movement's reputation. "The Tea Party has not been around long enough to have a real impact on presidential politics," says the president of a group that trains political organizers, adding that the movement's "highly individualistic, decentralized" nature works better for smaller campaigns.

Problems first surfaced when early Tea Party favorites began to suffer: Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann are now out of the race entirely, and Rick Perry appears to be headed in that direction. As a result, activists are "kind of left with none-of-above, or one of the lesser candidates," says the founder of RedState. In New Hampshire, prominent Tea Partiers have endorsed Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and even Tea Party un-favorite Mitt Romney—and other prominent Tea Partiers have questioned all of the above. And the endorsements may not even matter: Surveys have found more Americans are beginning to disagree with the Tea Party. (More Tea Party stories.)

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