Tea Party Express picks “targets,” “heroes”

In Nevada, the group backs Sharron Angle in a GOP primary. The winner takes on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Topics: Tea Parties, 2010 Elections, Harry Reid, War Room,

The Tea Party Express, a PAC run by GOP operatives that has been sponsoring a bus tour of America for the last two weeks, arrived in Washington Thursday to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Tea Party movement (and to mourn tax day). To mark the occasion, the group announced its list of “Tea Party Targets” and “Tea Party Heroes” for this fall’s elections.

Making the target list:

  • Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. (whose hometown, Searchlight, Nev., was the site of a rally to kick off the bus tour in March)
  • Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa.
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
  • Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.
  • Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind.
  • Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.
  • Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.
  • Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.
  • Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va.
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.
  • Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.

The group also endorsed candidates in a few races, including some running in contested Republican primaries. The “heroes” list:

  • Senate candidate Chuck DeVore, California
  • Senate candidate Marco Rubio, Florida
  • Senate candidate Todd Tiahrt, Kansas
  • Senate candidate Rand Paul, Kentucky
  • Senate candidate Sharron Angle, Nevada
  • Senate candidate Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
  • Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.
  • Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
  • Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho
  • Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
  • Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Angle, who is in a three-way primary to face Reid in Nevada, came to Washington for the announcement and a Tea Party rally later in the day. (She told the Tea Party crowd she felt lonely because “I usually bring Smith and Wesson along with me,” but D.C. gun laws wouldn’t allow her to pack heat for the press conference.) She spoke to reporters after her speech, explaining her particular political philosophy. It boils down to the answer she gave when asked what she most fears about President Obama: “Socialism.”

Watch Angle here:

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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