Tea Party May Continue to Thrive Without Bachmann at the Reins

Tea party leaders in the Senate emerge as the next generation for the movement.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., addresses a Tea party rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2010, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)
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Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., was a tea party casualty who couldn't manage to spin national fundraising prowess into a legislative victory in 2012. Despite spending $18 million of his war chest to defeat Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., West fell flat.

[OPINION: E.W. Jackson Proves the Tea Party Learned Nothing]

But while the Bachmann, DeMint, West trifecta is fading away, the national debt clock is still running on the Tea Party Caucus's website and emerging leaders are waiting to take the reins. The outspoken Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who has been advocating against the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform plan or Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who was removed from plum committee assignments in January for not playing nice with GOP leadership, might be prime candidates to lead the tea party charge.

And in the Senate, leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz and anti-establishment Sen. Rand Paul have continued to preach on what they consider Constitutional principles as a cornerstone of their policies and gobbled up the media spotlight to promote their messages.

Tea party groups say they see the Senators as the future of the movement.

"There is a natural tendency for the Senate to be more out front than the House. It is tough to use the House as a national platform," Russo says. "They have become the new face of the tea party and that is a positive thing for us."

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