First there was the "tea party" protester. Now meet the Tea-publican.More at the link.
Conservative activists who once protested the political establishment are now flooding the lowest level of the Republican Party apparatus hoping to take over the party they once scorned -- one precinct at a time.
Across the country, tea party groups that had focused on planning rallies are educating members on how to run for GOP precinct representative positions. The representatives help elect county party leaders, who write the platform and, in some places, determine endorsements.
"That's where it all starts. That's where the process of picking candidates begins. It's not from [GOP leader] Michael Steele's office down. It's from the ground up," said Philip Glass, whose National Precinct Alliance is among the groups advocating the strategy. "The party is over for the old guard."
In Arizona and Ohio, Republican Party officials report an increase in candidates running for precinct positions, which often sit open because of a lack of interest.
In South Carolina, a coalition of tea party groups has made a formal agreement with the state GOP to urge its members to get engaged at the precinct level.
In Nevada, a group of "constitutional conservatives" working under the tea party banner has already taken control of the Republican Party in the Las Vegas area, gaining enough strength to elect six of the seven members of the county executive committee.
Glass' group and others say their work is nonpartisan; their hope is that people will reshape both major political parties. But for most of the small-government conservatives of the tea party movement, the Republican Party is a more natural fit.
The shift to local party politics is a notable turn for the group, which emerged in opposition to national financial bailouts supported by both parties.
The piece goes on to note that a lot of local groups are skittish about "being viewed as a party appendage."
That's not true in Orange County, as I've reported a couple of times now. See the comentary at my report from Saturday, "Chuck DeVore Tea Party Rally!"