Tea Party Express chief departs for Bevin campaign

The chairwoman of the Tea Party Express Amy Kremer resigned from her post Friday, the breakaway conservative group announced.

Kremer has held the position since summer 2009 and has been involved with the group since its inception earlier that year. She helped launch the Tea Party movement, which helped figures such as Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) win office in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

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“I've wanted to move in a different direction for a while, but also wanted to make sure that any change I make was also a positive change for the conservative movement,” Kremer said in a statement. “This has been a really difficult decision for me, but the time has come for me to leave Tea Party Express.”

She is leaving to become a consultant for the campaign of Matt Bevin, the Tea Party challenger to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), according to CNN, which was first to report the move.

The election serves as a larger part of the conservative Tea Party movement, she said, and Kremer wants to go where she feels she can have the greatest impact.

“[Conservatives are] having daggers put in their back, not by the Democrats but by members of their own caucus,” she told CNN. “That effort is being led by Mitch McConnell and the only way to stop that is to defeat Mitch McConnell.”

The two men will face off in the Kentucky GOP primary on May 20.

“This should be ground zero for the movement,” she said to CNN.

Bevin, a favorite of anti-establishment Republicans, faces several hurdles in the race against the incumbent McConnell.

The most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, which only go through the end of last year, show that McConnell has raised more than $18 million and spent more than $7 million in his reelection bid.  

Bevin falls way behind, bringing in just more than $1.7 million. Outside groups are trying to bridge the candidate’s funding gap, however, spending more than $600,000 in independent expenditures to support him. 

Looking back on the organization’s legacy, Kremer remembers the “historic work we accomplished,” including the elections of Cruz and Lee. 

"The past 5 years of working with the conservative grassroots movement has been the most meaningful of my life. As one of the original founders of the modern day tea party movement, I am humbled by the community of activists who have built it,” she said in a statement.

Some of the Tea Party-supported candidates have not fared as well, such as former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who lost the party’s nomination after a series of gaffes. 

Former Senate hopeful from Indiana Richard Mourdock and former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who hoped to take over for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), each lost traction after making controversial comments about rape. And Christine O'Donnell of Delaware and Sharron Angle of Nevada both fell short in 2010 congressional races.

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