Tea Partiers Target Three Tennessee Congressional Seats

Tea Party organizers announced at their Nashville convention today a new political action committee to raise money and back conservative candidates. The Ensuring Liberty PAC will be based in Memphis and plans to target nearby congressional races.

Convention organizer Judson Phillips says the Tea Party doesn’t back candidates, which is why the PAC is an offshoot of the organization.

Memphis Tea Party organizer Mark Skoda says he will form both a non-profit and a political action committee. In this year’s elections, he wants to focus on the districts of retiring Democratic congressmen.

“There’s six races that we’re looking at in West Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi. Within 100 miles, the majority of the votes take place in conservative districts.”

The group plans to support candidates for the seats of Bart Gordon and John Tanner. Skoda says he also wants to back a candidate to challenge Memphis Democrat Steve Cohen, who isn’t retiring.

Convention organizers say they’re ready to do more than hold signs over their heads that criticize big government and deficit spending. Skoda says rallies aren’t sufficient to change government and gain political power.

“You must seize it through nurturing, recruiting and electing people who represent those first principles, and ultimately the Tea Party movement will be sustained not as a third party, but as a force to be reckoned with in the traditional party structure.”

Many of the Tea Party convention delegates say they gave small donations to help elect Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown. The mention of the new senator’s name gets big applause here. Skoda says the country just needs 40 more Scott Browns.

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