Republican presidential candidates had better brush up on their Constitution — the tea party is holding its first-ever debate for White House hopefuls. The Labor Day week 2011 debate will be hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Fla.
The debate is another step in conservative activists’ efforts to influence the next elections following the wave of Republican victories in the 2010 elections. In another first, the tea-party-affiliated group FreedomWorks co-sponsored the first forum for candidates for chairman of the Republican National Committee earlier this month.
Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer told CNN her group wants to continue to be involved in the process.
“We’ve proven ourselves in this last campaign, [the] election cycle of 2010, we’re the only Tea Party group that engaged in election activity,” she said. “And we got involved because we simply believed that if we’re going to effect change, we’re going to do it at the ballot box. And the tea party movement has proven how powerful it is.”
A number of Republican presidential debates have already been announced, even though no Republican candidate has officially announced a primary candidacy in hopes of running against President Barack Obama in 2012. The Iowa GOP announced yesterday that it would hold a debate on Aug. 11, 2011, at Iowa State University in conjunction with the Aug. 13 Iowa Straw Poll. Another debate will be held on June 7, 2011, in New Hampshire, and still another is tentatively scheduled for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif., this spring.
Tampa is also the site of the Republican National Convention the week of Aug. 27, 2012.
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