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
People sing the National Anthem before the start of a Tea Party Express rally on September 5, 2011 in Manchester, New Hampshire.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – 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. (Read more Tea Party stories.)

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