Inside Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus

July 24th, 2010 at 8:52 am | 32 Comments |

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The Tea Party caucus unveiled this week is full of controversial characters – you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. From Representative Michele Bachmann to Joe “You Lie” Wilson to the BP-groveling Joe Barton, the caucus is sure to be a “receptacle” for contentious tea party interests.

The Tea Party caucus has forty members, all of them Republican – the one Democrat with a Tea Party endorsement, Rep. Walt Minnick (ID-1), declined to join. The following is a profile of Tea Party caucus members.


Leadership Strength

For all the stories about how House Republican leadership was wary about the Tea Party caucus, three members of the caucus are members of the seven person Republican House Leadership – Mike Pence, Pete Sessions and John Carter are the Conference Chair, NRCC Chair and the Conference Secretary, respectively.

Rounding out the pack with fundraising powerhouses Michele Bachmann and Joe Wilson, who both raised over $4 million so far this cycle, this caucus has serious clout.


Possible Infighting and Departures

An interesting fact – two of the caucus members are currently battling it out in a Senatorial primary in Kansas. Rep. Todd Tiahrt and Rep. Jerry Moran are campaigning to replace Sen. Sam Brownback.

Two other members will soon depart the caucus: Rep. John Shadegg has opted not to run for re-election, and Rep. Peter Hoekstra is running to become governor of Michigan.


Cook Partisan Voting Index

The Cook PVI measures how strongly a district leans towards a political party compared to the country as a whole. The Tea Party caucus’ members are, by and large, in districts where there are no serious Democratic challengers – the average Cook PVI of Tea Party caucus members is R+13.95.

As reported elsewhere, the average margin of victory for a Tea Party caucus member in 2008 is an astounding 29.2 points.

The caucus member with the most competitive district is Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-9) (whose district is R+6). Caucus mastermind Michele Bachmann, as well as Reps. Pete Hoekstra and Denny Rehberg, are in districts that are R+7.


Fundraising

The average Tea Party Caucus member has raised over $1 million dollars so far this cycle. Tea Party luminaries Michele Bachmann and Joe Wilson have raised almost the same amount: just over $4 million.

In 2006, the average House race winner raised $1.1 million for the entire cycle, which means that, with three and a half months to go, most Tea Party caucus members find themselves in good financial shape.


Ideology

As can be expected, the members of the Tea Party Caucus score very well on the American Conservative Union’s annual ranking of conservatives. The average 2009 ACU score for a Tea Party caucus member is an astronomical 96.93; the lifetime average is 94.83.

The least conservative member of the Tea Party Caucus is Rep. Rodney Alexander, whose lifetime rating is a dismal 76.57. Even Rep. Ralph Hall, who spent most of his thirty year career as a Democrat (he switched in 2004), has a score of 83.76.

Six members have a perfect lifetime ACU score: Reps. Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, John Fleming, Doug Lamborn, Cynthia Lummis and Tom McClintock.


Gender

There are three women in the Tea Party cucus: Reps. Michele Bachmann, Lynn Jenkins and Cynthia Lummis. Out of forty members, this means that 7.5% of the caucus is female. This is compared to 9.5% of House Republicans, and 16% of the House as a whole.


Personal Wealth

Four members of the Tea Party caucus made it onto Roll Call’s list of the ‘Fifty Richest Members of Congress’:


Full List of Data

Cook PVI

ACU Ratings

Lifetime ACU

This Cycle Fundraising

Todd Akin (MO-2)

R+9

100

97.56

$603,164

Rodney Alexander (LA-5)

R+14

88

76.57

$907,133

Michele Bachmann (MN-6) ***

R+7

100

100

$4,074,618

Joe Barton (TX-6)

R+15

96

94.14

$1,663,495

Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6)

R+13

96

93.77

$190,117

Gus Bilirakis (FL-9)

R+6

100

89.33

$834,863

Rob Bishop (UT-1)

R+21

100

96.95

$155,410

Michael Burgess (TX-26)

R+13

100

94.71

$762,944

Paul Broun (GA-10)

R+15

100

100

$1,310,194

Dan Burton (IN-5)

R+17

96

97.06

$885,975

John Carter (TX-31)

R+14

96

94.29

$789,154

Mike Coffman (CO-6)

R+8

92

92

$704,237

John Culberson (TX-7)

R+13

100

97.7

$593,224

John Fleming (LA-4)

R+11

100

100

$1,160,083

Trent Franks (AZ-2)

R+13

100

98.86

$616,907

Phil Gingrey (GA-11)

R+20

96

95.43

$1,185,384

Louie Gohmert (TX-1)

R+21

100

97.6

$600,207

Tom Graves (GA-9)

R+28

96

90.83

$952,717

Ralph Hall (TX-4)

R+21

92

83.76

$503,211

Pete Hoekstra (MI-2)

R+7

96

90.84

Lynn Jenkins (KS-2)***

R+9

92

92

$1,035,373

Walter Jones (NC-3)

R+16

83

87.65

$497,293

Steve King (IA-5)

R+9

96

97.14

$713,271

Doug Lamborn (CO-5)

R+14

100

100

$261,559

Cynthia Lummis (WY)***

R+20

100

100

$540,235

Kenny Marchant (TX-24)

R+11

100

96

$330,171

Tom McClintock (CA-4)

R+10

100

100

$1,496,348

Gary Miller (CA-42)

R+10

90

94.03

$446,507

Jerry Moran (KS-1)

R+23

96

91.74

Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)

R+26

100

96.48

$919,858

Mike Pence (IN-6)

R+10

100

99.56

$1,755,295

Tom Price (GA-6)

R+19

100

97.6

$1,616,213

Denny Rehberg (MT)

R+7

92

90.33

$1,020,178

Pete Sessions (TX-32)

R+8

100

97.38

$1,408,212

John Shadegg (AZ-3)

R+9

100

98.86

$381,314

Adrian Smith (NE-3)

R+24

100

97.33

$663,537

Lamar Smith (TX-21)

R+14

96

92.14

$997,912

Cliff Stearns (FL-6)

R+10

96

94.53

$559,208

Todd Tiahrt (KS-4)

R+14

96

95.27

Joe Wilson (SC-2)

R+9

96

93.88

$4,074,217

AVERAGE

R+14

96.925

94.833

$1,005,669

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32 Comments so far ↓

  • sinz54

    To score that highly on the American Conservative Union’s ranking, these Tea Party Caucus members had to be socially conservative as well as economically conservative.

    I’ll bet that nearly all the Tea Party caucus members are pro-life on abortion.

    http://67.20.95.56/congress-ratings/2009-u-s-house-vote-descriptions/

    And sure enough, I didn’t see any libertarian-minded Representatives like Ron Paul in the Tea Party caucus.

  • TerryF98

    And the tea party s not a Republican entity!! So we are told.

  • Bubbaquimby

    Even Ron Paul is pro-life.

    There are some members in both the Liberty Caucus and the TP Caucus.

    * Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland
    * Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee
    * Jeff Flake of Arizona
    * Trent Franks of Arizona
    * Scott Garrett of New Jersey
    * Walter B. Jones of North Carolina
    * Jack Kingston of Georgia
    * Jeff Miller of Florida
    * Ron Paul of Texas- Chairman
    * Denny Rehberg of Montana
    * John Shadegg of Arizona
    * Zach Wamp of Tennessee

    I still have no idea why this new caucus is getting so much media. There are a ton of caucus’s in Congress.

  • TerryF98

    “I still have no idea why this new caucus is getting so much media. There are a ton of caucus’s in Congress.”

    Because the media loves conflict and controversy. They have blown the tea party thing way above its true importance.

  • msmilack

    Does anyone take Sessions seriously?

  • forkboy1965

    Maybe we are seeing the splitting of the GOP? Perhaps the Tea Party see themselves as the “real” conservatives and are looking to splinter-off and leave those more moderate members of the Party to fend for themselves as either independents or right-leaning Democrats.

    All I know is I trust NO ONE on either end of the political spectrum who are this far to one side or the other. Neither extreme side reflects the will and purpose of the general populace and neither ever should.

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  • Watusie

    The things you broke down and the things you didn’t break down are actually quite funny when you stop and think about it.

    For starters – teabaggers always claim they are non-partisan, and I’ve heard the talking heads on FOX repeat that line over and over again. But, of course, you provide no profile of party affiliation, because one is not needed.

    Also – you provide a breakdown of gender but not of race. Again, because one is not needed.

    And, just for fun: only 11 of the members are from states which fought on the Union side in the Civil War.

  • Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bachmann Heads Teabaggers

    [...] Inside Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus (Tim Mak, FrumForum, July 24, 2010) — The Tea Party caucus unveiled this week is full of controversial characters – you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. From Representative Michele Bachmann to Joe “You Lie” Wilson to the BP-groveling Joe Barton, the caucus is sure to be a “receptacle” for contentious tea party interests. … Full story [...]

  • msmilack

    Tea Partiers are obviously Republican: the list is 100%. When the Tea Party tried to endorse one Democrat, he declined because he did not want to be associated with them or with their views.

    V.P. Biden said something interesting today while visiting South Carolina. He said of the Tea Party that he doesn’t doubt their integrity; he doubts their judgment.

    It’s funny how Republicans, on the one hand, want the support of the Tea Party (picture Michael Steele, Palin et. al. speaking at their meetings) while on the other hand, expect people to seriously make a distinction: the Tea Party IS Republican and remains so because the less fringe members of the GOP have not disowned them in any way or disowned the many racist members (I won’t even countenance an honest discussion of whether there are racist members; obviously there are; one only has to attend a single rally and see the signs).

  • DonkeyEdge

    “You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em”? We typically love to hate ‘em, but not this week. The leader in the clubhouse with donations, Michele Bachmann, has a rare moment of lucidity:

    http://thedonkeyedge.com/2010/07/24/doubling-down-on-the-crazy/

  • anniemargret

    msmilack: Agree with you that the vast majority, maybe all, as you say, Tea Party members are Republican.

    That is a problem for the GOP . Is this the face of the new Republican party? Either they need a faction to break away or they embrace it. If they embrace the T.P. they embrace the whole enchilada of Bachmanns and Palins with it. If the GOP is trying to moderate their extremist image, embracing the T.P. is the last thing they need.

  • Bubbaquimby

    Watusie: “And, just for fun: only 11 of the members are from states which fought on the Union side in the Civil War.”

    That’s a nice misleading quote right there. That’s only counting states that were states during the Civil War. Which would reduce the total number of members by quite a bit. If you more accurately put states that were territories as Union than your number jumps up to 20.

    That makes it half the caucus.

  • Watusie

    Bubbaquimby, that’s right, I only counted states that were states. Just like I said.

    To do otherwise is imprecise. For example, you can go to Wikipedia and read that “Utah territory fought on the side of the Union”; in reality they did not raise any troops and in fact Lincoln had to divert soldiers from the Civil War battlefields to send them to Utah to keep the Mormons from using the crisis as an opportunity for mutiny.

  • Watusie

    bubbaquimby I still have no idea why this new caucus is getting so much media. There are a ton of caucus’s in Congress.

    Gee, possibly because the teabaggers and their nonsense have been one of the top political stories of the year and because we have been told over and over again that they are non-partisan?

    It is quote obvious that the teabaggers are nothing more than Bush’s base who need a new identity to help them with their cognitive dissonance issues. It is good to see that fact firmly established once and for all.

  • Drosz

    This is actually good for Republicans looking to build a more libertarian minded Party, IMO. Now it’s easier to see who the more fringe social conservatives really are. You’ll probably start seeing this caucus used as a scapegoat many times in the future by both Party’s. It’s a way to separate the serious Republicans from those only interested in social issues and taxes.

  • dante

    Standard questioning for any of these, ahem, teabaggers should be:

    “Do you support extending the Bush tax cuts for all if it adds to the deficit?”

    Or, a follow-up question should be:

    “Do you support Paul Ryan’s budget ‘roadmap’ in its entirety?”

    http://www.frumforum.com/paul-ryan-gop-listening-to-pollsters

    I mean, I highly doubt that any of these teabaggers will *actually* go on shows that would allow themselves to be asked hard, pointed questions, but it would be nice to dream, wouldn’t it?

  • sinz54

    dante: Standard questioning for any of these, ahem, teabaggers
    Tell you what.

    You don’t call them “teabaggers,” and I won’t call you liberals “baby-killers” or “terrorist lovers”.

  • sinz54

    As for Paul Ryan’s “roadmap,” the Dems are doing everything in their power to destroy it–and him.

    Those liberals, like our very own “anniemargaret,” who constantly complain that the GOP is only interested in obstruction and not in positive solutions, should remember that the Dems rush to pin a “racist” or “heartless” or “reactionary” label on any Republican, like Ryan, who actually tries to propose a real solution.

  • Watusie

    sinz54 – LOL. What is the difference between President Obama and the GOP leadership vis a vis Paul Ryan’s proposals? Obama has read the proposals, discussed them publicly, and said that although he disagrees with some of them, there are others that he likes and would like to see taken forward. The GOP leadership, on the other hand – crickets. Or, to paraphrase Marc Ambinder, the Rpublican leadership refuses to drive on Ryan’s roadmap. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/03/if-paul-ryans-roadmap-is-the-republican-way-why-arent-republicans-driving-on-it/37364/

  • Watusie

    sinz, “teabagger” is a coinage of the “movement” itself – you chose it, you are stuck with it.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    The coinage of the movement is “Tea Party,” echoing the Boston Tea Party.

    Tea bagging is a man putting his scrotum in his sex partner’s mouth.

    Watusie // Jul 25, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    sinz, “teabagger” is a coinage of the “movement” itself – you chose it, you are stuck with it.

  • Watusie

    If you wave around teabags http://www.dailykostv.com/w/001139/ and sell buttons that say “proud to be a teabagger”, people are going to call you a teabagger. http://washingtonindependent.com/67191/the-slur-that-must-not-be-named

    If the Tea Party activists and their allies are going to take offense at certain terms being applied to them, they should probably avoid self-identifying with those same terms.

    Back in the day you thought the whole “teabag the Democrats” thing was quite funny…until it was turned around and applied to you. http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=Mjk1YmRjNzIxNmUwMTI0ZWYxZWU4OWU2MzFiOWJmNDE=

  • busboy33

    @DSP:

    Yes that’s the usage of “teabagger” . . . which was why so many people were giggling when the TP started up and proudly referred to themselves as “teabaggers” and had such entertaining slogans as “Let’s TeaBag Washington!” or “TeaBag your representative!”

    It took the TP a suprisingly long time to figure out why people were laughing. But Watusie is right that many, many TP members started out proudly proclaiming themselves “teabaggers” before they realized the double meaning. That was about when they started saying that “Tea Party” actually meant “Taxed Enough Already Party”, to try and get away from the comical image they had self-imposed.

    I think what Watusie means is that the label “teabagger” wasn’t invented by the critics as a label for TP members — they called themselves that and the critics happily went along because of the double meaning.

    bonus usage: probably the most prolific use of “teabagging” in contemporary society is among videogamers. In FPS (First Person Shooter) games, alot of them will teabag someone virtually after they are shot, to humiliate their opponent. Most of the people doing this just think its “squatting on someone’s face” rather than the specific “testicles in mouth”.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    OK; I stand corrected.

    Watusie, my apologies; you were right.

  • Rabiner

    Deep South Populist:

    “The coinage of the movement is “Tea Party,” echoing the Boston Tea Party.”

    Except that the Tea Party is too ignorant to understand that they have representation in Congress (unless from Washington D.C.) to make that ‘echoing’ stupid. TEA stands for ‘Taxed Enough Already’ except tax rates are at historic lows which makes that stupid too.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    Rabiner,

    Fair enough; I was wrong on the origin of TP/tea bag. Since taxes are one of their main themes, I mistakenly assumed that was the reference.

  • Rabiner

    Yea sorry about piling on. You had posted your last comment 1 min before I had so I hadn’t read it before hand.

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