Meet the Man Running the Tea Party Express
Sal Russo's shaking up the GOP
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2010 8:33 AM CDT
Sal Russo holds up a model of the Tea Party Express bus in his office in Sacramento, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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(Newser) – Sal Russo's on a winning streak that is rocking the Republican Party establishment. The seasoned GOP operative and former aide to Ronald Reagan runs the Tea Party Express and has played a major role in helping Tea Party choices to victory over establishment candidates in Alaska, Delaware, and Nevada. The strategist tells the Wall Street Journal he picks candidates based on their views on the economy and size of government, not social issues, and he's relishing being able to help shape the debate.

"The establishment in the Washington beltway gets it wrong all the time," Russo says, complaining that party leaders aren't doing enough to seek out bold new voices. "The answer is having bold colors, not pale pastels, to create a clear contrast with the opposition," which is what the Tea Party movement does best, he says. GOP officials say they hope Russo's group will put as much effort into defeating the Democrats this fall as it did into taking on Republican rivals. For more on the movement, click here.

 

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