In what could be considered a win for Sen. John McCain (R), Arizona's four largest Tea Party groups announced Monday they won't endorse in the Senate GOP primary. Members of the Tucson Tea Party, Greater Phoenix Tea Party, Flagstaff Tea Party and Mohave County Tea Party said their intention was to remain a "non-partisan, grassroots movement."
"We stand for principles and ideas, not for politicians or parties," said Patrick Beck, organizer of the Mohave County Tea Party. "Our mission is to promote constitutional government and fiscal responsibility, and to inform people so that they can make their own decisions."
Meanwhile, some members of the group signaled they weren't pleased with the available choices.
"Both McCain and Hayworth’s records during their many years in Washington leave much to be desired on these issues," said Robert Mayer, co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party. "It is their job to hold themselves up to these values and fight for our votes."
The McCain camp, which has been rolling out endorsements over the last few weeks, considered this a small victory -- it blasted the release to its press list.
An official with Hayworth's campaign speculated the groups' relunctance to endorse stemmed from their status as 501(c)(4) organizations. Meanwhile, Hayworth does have public backing from some Tea Party groups, including TaxDayTeaParty.com and the Liberty First PAC, which was founded by several Tea Party leaders.
In an earlier interview with The Hill, the former congressman said he was getting a positive reception from Tea Party activists. "The energy of enthusiasm of those that align themselves with the Tea Party movement is something that I welcome very much, and I will work to make sure it comes to full flower for the August primary," Hayworth said.
Updated at 5:07 p.m.