The group eventually changed its name to Our Country Deserves Better-Tea Party Express, though it mostly goes by Tea Party Express.
But its officials don’t apologize for their mission or financial strength.
“We’re a PAC because we believe that change comes from political action, not from sitting around and blogging on your computer or waving flags at a rally, even though blogging and rallies are part of the game,” said Mr. Russo, the group’s chief strategist.
He also defended his Republican activist roots, which he put down in the 1960s as an aide to California Gov. Ronald Reagan, who he said was considered an outsider by the California GOP establishment for years.
“I don’t think anybody has better credentials for having worked in the conservative movement for the last 44 years than I do,” Mr. Russo said.
The Tea Party Express in recent days adopted another long-shot conservative Senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, and committed to spend $250,000 on her campaign against Rep. Michael N. Castle leading up to the Tuesday primary vote.
Mr. Castle, a nine-term House member who was re-elected two years ago with 61 percent of the vote, is considered a heavy favorite to win the GOP primary for the seat formerly held by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Democratic Sen. Ted Kaufman, who was appointed to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Biden’s term, is retiring.