Tea Party Express announces 2010 election targets, endorses Democrat

An influential Tea Party group announced its 2010 target list Thursday, and raised a few eyebrows by endorsing a Democrat.

At a press conference in Washington, the Tea Party Express named its favorite lawmakers and candidates, as well as those officeholders they most want to see removed.

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"It's a combination of rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies," said Sal Russo, chief strategist for the Tea Party Express. "We're only in races where we think we can make a difference."

The Tea Party Express endorsed a slate of Republican Senate candidates, many of whom have already established themselves as conservative darlings.

State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Calif.), former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R), former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and former Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R) all earned official nods. "They'll get some direct support from us," said Russo.

DeVore, Rubio, Paul and Angle are locked in tough primary campaigns. Angle and DeVore are both trailing significantly in polls.

The group also announced a number of Democrats they would seak to unseat. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Harry Reid (Nev.) and Arlen Specter made their way onto the group's target list, as well as the following House Democrats: Alan Grayson (Fla.), Barney Frank (Mass.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Tom Perriello (Va.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Alan Mollohan (W.Va.), Betsey Markey, Dina Titus (Nev.) and John Spratt (S.C.).



Russo said these members voted the wrong way on the financial bailout, cap-and-trade, the stimulus and healthcare reform.


Finally, the group endorsed a slate of its favorite lawmakers, including one Democrat. "We have to be effective and influential within both political parties," Russo said. "We have to reward some Democrats that have been willing to stand with us on the tough issues."

The group is backing: Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) along with GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Joe Wilson (S.C.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Tom Price (Ga.), Mike Pence (Ind.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.).

The group's PAC has some $116,000 cash on hand, Russo added, noting it spent close to $400,000 on TV ads in support of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) during his special election race against Democrat Martha Coakley.

This post was updated at 8:50 p.m.

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