“I know Michele is right on the issues that are important to conservatives across the country, and I know she won’t back off,” Mr. Franks said in announcing his support. “I have seen her at work in Washington, standing firm on key issues like Obamacare, the debt ceiling, and TARP.”
So far, “none of the above” is winning the endorsement battle in the House Tea Party Caucus.
Of the 59 members besides Mrs. Bachmann, 36 told The Times that they haven’t endorsed anyone, while 21 members have endorsed someone.
The office of Rep. Gary G. Miller of California didn’t return multiple emails and phone calls asking about his plans, while a spokeswoman for Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida begged off from answering about her boss’s plans.
“We are not interested in participating,” spokeswoman Lisa Boothe said.
Some tea party activists said the importance of congressional endorsements is overblown.
“I’m not concerned about who those people are supporting, I’m concerned about who the people out on the ground are supporting,” said Amy Kremer, leader of the Tea Party Express.
Others in the grass roots do care.
Beth Mizell of the Franklinton Tea Party in Louisiana said Rep. Rodney Alexander, her representative, had chosen politics over principle by endorsing Mr. Romney, and fed into the notion that most elected leaders in Washington are seen as “tainted” by their environment.
“We would hope our Republican congressman would really be promoting a constitutional conservative,” Ms. Mizell said, adding that Mr. Romney doesn’t fit the bill at this point in the campaign. “Rather than take a stand on principle,” she said, “politicians’ primary issue is going with what they see as the winner.”
“What people are waiting for, they are waiting for someone to step out on principle, warts and all, ” she said. “Show us the principle, show us what you really stand for, and we will overlook the warts.”