GOP Courts Tea Partiers
But many in both parties remain wary of affiliating with the other
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2010 7:44 AM CST
About 4,000 people gathered on the south steps of the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, as part of a National Tax Day Tea Party to protest excessive government spending.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
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(Newser) – Valentine's Day may be over, but the Republican Party is still doing some serious wooing: With the 2010 midterm elections approaching, the GOP is working hard to court tea partiers, with RNC chair Michael Steele set to meet with 50 leaders tomorrow. And while some welcome its advances, many tea partiers remain on the fence, aware of the boon the GOP's resources could bring but wary of tarnishing their fiercely independent reputation by associating with the tainted brand, reports Politico.

“It is extremely important to find common ground and fight together for smaller government, lower taxes, free enterprise and the Constitution,” said Steele, whose meeting tomorrow is a sort of breakthrough, as it's the first time the GOP will meet with so many regional tea party groups, including those from a dozen states. “It is not a melding,” cautioned a tea party organizer. “It is not an effort to absorb it. We’re still maintaining our autonomy. It’s just a discussion—and that’s what the grass-roots has wanted to have from the beginning.”