Colorado Tea Party groups aim to shake up system |

Colorado Tea Party groups aim to shake up system

Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post
031010_teaparty_CFW- Tea Party member, Sylvia Keiser, of Aurora, joins a "Taxpayer Day" rally outside the State Capitol in Denver, CO. Americans for Prosperity Colorado joined with The 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition, The Gadsden Society, The Independence Institute, Liberty on the Rocks, Peoples Press Collective and the Western Slope Conservative Alliance in hosting the event. (Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post.)
ALL | The Denver Post

GRAND JUNCTION – The Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Patriots, the 9.12 Patriots and dozens of related groups first drew attention during their angry, sign-waving protests over taxes and health care reform a year ago.

Since then, these conservative groups, or “pro-patriots” as they prefer to be called, have been busy in church halls and in coffee shops from Greeley to Bayfield.

Their plan: Use Tuesday’s caucuses to shake up the established party system that, so far, they have been railing at from the outside.

To that end, Tea Party coffees, “meet- ups,” forums and online chat rooms have been buzzing with caucus talk.

“Now is your chance to get involved in the political process. You can’t just sit


* View a gallery of images of Tea Party groups in Colorado.

around and watch Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. You need to get off your (butts) and go to the Republican caucuses, and you need to put the right people on the ballot,” an emotional Jim Buske of Ouray told a 9.12 meeting that drew about 50 people.

His exhortation has been echoed across dozens of conservative spinoff groups that have already shown new muscle in state politics, illustrated by the fact that Republican hopefuls – and even a few Democratic ones – are courting them.

The latest Rasmussen poll shows 18 percent of Colorado voters identify as Tea Party members, and 46 percent indicate they have positive views of the Tea Party movement.

“Anybody who is energized and bringing people into the political process, that’s great,” said Sean Duffy, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis. Duffy said he has been scheduling numerous meetings with Tea Party groups across the state.

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