- - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Calling someone the “queen of the tea party,” may be an odd appellation for a movement that has no leaders.

Sarah Palin was regarded by some as the “queen of the tea party.” Conservatives immediately rallied around her in 2008, when John McCain tapped her to be the vice presidential nominee. She remained popular, but her role with the tea party exploded after the First Tea Party Convention in Nashville in 2010.

In 2010, Palin held court and made appearances and endorsements. Those endorsements turned out to be very valuable to candidates in 2010. In 2012, she lost a bit of her luster as she toyed with a presidential run and ultimately decided against it. She still made endorsements, though her endorsements were not as influential.

Now in 2014, there is another lady who is taking the lead in the tea party movement. Some are already dubbing her as the “queen of the tea party.”

Who is it? It’s Laura Ingraham.

Ingraham is the firebrand conservative-populist host of a nationally syndicated radio show and is a frequent substitute host on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”

In May, she endorsed Dave Brat in his campaign to unseat the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s primary. At that time, only one national Tea Party group, Tea Party Nation, had endorsed Brat.

She endorsed him, talked about him on her show and went to Richmond to campaign for him.

Dave Brat won by a surprising and significant margin.

While Ingraham’s endorsement was not the only reason Dave Brat won, it was a huge push for his campaign.

Now she is trying to see if she can repeat her success.

In the upcoming Republican primary for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seat, Ingraham has endorsed Joe Carr, the tea party challenger to liberal Sen. Lamar Alexander.

On Tuesday, the Carr campaign announced that Ingraham would join Carr in Nashville next Tuesday for a campaign appearance.

Tea Party Nation recently did two polls on the Tennessee race. In May, the polling showed Alexander leading 44-20, with 27 percent undecided. As of last week, the gap has closed, with Alexander leading 43-36, with 10 percent undecided.

For Carr, Ingraham’s support could not come at a more crucial time. Most political observers expected the attention to shift to Tennessee after the Mississippi primary in June. With the chaos of that primary and its lingering recount, amid accusations of impropriety by the Thad Cochran campaign, some of the focus that was supposed to have shifted to Tennessee has remained on Mississippi.

Ingraham not only is endorsing candidates but also staking out policy positions that resonate with the tea party base. She has taken on big business, corporatism and free trade recently.

Early voting begins next week in Tennessee, and Primay Day for the Volunteer State is Aug. 7.

If Joe Carr closes the gap and knocks off Lamar Alexander, he can thank Laura Ingraham. She won’t be the only reason he won. But she will have helped a lot.

And if Carr wins, it may just solidify Ingraham’s postion as the conservative whose endorsement is the most valuable.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide