Will the Wisconsin GOP Kick Out Its Tea Party Supporters Tonight?

The Wisconsin Tea Party movement is not gelling to Tommy Thompson who presumed he would have an easy nomination to be Wisconsin’s next Republican Senator. Tea Party activists have rallied against him in Wisconsin and now the state party seems poised to shut out a group that has been so helpful in battling the recall efforts there.According to several people I’ve spoken to on the ground there, the Wisconsin GOP is getting ready to disqualify hundreds of tea party activists as delegates to the state convention.The GOP in Wisconsin changed its rules to make it easier for the party to endorse in primaries. One person tells me “it made sense for the establishment because typically 700 to 900 people go to the conventions and everyone knows everyone.” But then the Tea Party came to power and has flooded Wisconsin politics, driven, in part, by the union trying to roll back Scott Walker’s reforms.This year, the Wisconsin GOP is on track for something like 2,000 delegates, which would be double the largest state convention. The majority of those are opposed to Tommy Thompson. Asa result, the GOP “Credentials Committee” met and tried to disqualify new delegates who signed up after county caucuses (signing up after the county caucuses is permissible under Article XIII VIII, Section 4 of the Wisconsin GOP’s constitution [Editorial Note: Thanks to those who pointed out the typo. it is Article VIII, not Article XIII]). The motion was defeated 7 to 5 with 4 absences. Now the state GOP wants to re-fight this fight tonight and get the 4 absentee committeemen to show up.The fallout to this could be huge with the Wisconsin GOP burning bridges to a core group of tea party activists who’ve poured a lot of energy into defending GOP gains. To save Tommy Thompson, the Wisconsin GOP just might be throwing everyone else overboard.



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