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Mississippi’s Tea Party Turns Five

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 27 Feb 2014 06:08pm | comments
members of the tea party celebrate five years at the capitol

The Tea Party movement in Mississippi is now five years old. And as MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports leaders in the movement say they are not going away.....

The birth of the Mississippi Tea Party is often tied to this rant against government bailouts in 2009 by CNBC's Rick Santelli.

"This is America. How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise your hands. President Obama are you listening?" Santelli said.

That was five years but Laura VanOversheld, the chair of the Mississippi Tea Party believes their movement is still strong and says evidence of that is clear by how often they appear in political cartoons and articles.

"We must be influencing somebody because somebody of note is noticing us. So that is a very important sign post that we do have a voice and that we are impacting what is going in this capitol. But also in other county and city governments in the state," VanOversheld said.

The Tea Party helped the Republican Party capture the Mississippi House in 20-11 and is pushing State Senator Chris McDaniel's challenge to Mississippi's senor Republican Senator in Congress Thad Chocran this year.

But that influence has come at a cost according to their political opponents like Senator Kenny Wayne Jones of Canton.

"I think if we would have kept it main stream where you kept it left and right, than we would have been able to step across the aisle and get some things done. But when you come back with a whole additional party with extremist views that are outside the regular right. Than that causes a problem for everybody," Jones said.

University of Mississippi Political Scientist John Bruce says he is skeptical of the Tea Party's power in the state because they are such a natural fit in the existing Republican Party.

"In general, we are a state with a very socially conservative and fiscally conservative Republican party. And they fit in pretty well with the Tea Party. There are other states where the Tea Party wing represents are much more profound departure from the establishment view," Bruce said.

The Tea Party's could be tested soon, if state Senator McDaniel defeats Senator Chocran June fourth.


members of the tea party celebrate five years at the capitol



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