Reno, Nevada- After three controversial and combative cross-country bus tours already this year, the Sacramento based political action committee known as the Tea Party Express kicks off its final roadshow of 2010, a two week sprint from Reno, Nevada to Concord, New Hampshire through a host of battleground states and congressional districts where Tea Party backed Republicans are looking to knock off Democrats.
In the next 14 days the tour will roll through 28 cities and 17 states.
They start in Reno to help their top priority candidate; conservative republican Sharron Angle who's in a dead heat race toward what Tea Partiers (and Republicans) hope is the ouster of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on November 2nd.
There are many factions within the Tsea Party movement, none more visible, potent, and aggressive than the Tea Party Express PAC, which endorsed candidates in GOP primaries and in some places harshly attacked establishment Republican incumbents as too moderate.
Many in the Tea Party movement across the country resent the Express for it's big money out of state attack ads. But the Express has held the biggest rallies, drawn the most attention, and been undeniably successful in nominating conservative candidates.
The Express has also had some missteps and been criticized for some of the more extreme rhetoric and actions of its staffers.
The Tea Party Patriots, (which boasts the most member groups nationwide) has condemned the Express for what the Tea Party Patriots describe as the Express's racist and hate filled rhetoric. The national Tea Party Federation, the only attempt at a national umbrella group for the movement denounced the Express months ago.
Still the Express is to most people, the face of the Tea Party.
The Tea Party Express has spent far more money on attack ads than any other part of the Tea Party movement. Most of the rallies with really big crowds, were organized by, or intended to highlight the Express and it's chosen candidates.
Most of the Express money went toward defeating Republican incumbents and, or, GOP establishment candidates - deemed too moderate - in primaries.
The Express spent nearly a million dollars attacking Angle's primary opponents and has continued blasting away at Reid.
At the beginning of the year the Express dropped $350,000 in Massachusetts to help Scott Brown start the GOP's momentum to victory. But there have been questionable successes too. The Tea Party Express pumped $240,000 into Christine O'Donnell's primary victory in Delaware and many Republicans suspect she will not win what should have been an easy pickup for the GOP.
But all that division and disagreement within, and over, the Express is now apparently over.
While the Tea Party Express bus launches in Nevada, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's bus tour will be in the battleground state of Ohio. Despite a lot of division between the RNC and the Tea Party, Chairman Steele and Tea Party leaders have had several meetings and communication during the course of the year to emphasize the positive areas of agreement and downplay any rifts.
The Tea Party and the Express energized the GOP base throughout this years' primaries and beyond but remember...tight general election races are won with swing voters and independents.
For that Republicans must appeal to voters who expressly disdain high impact combat politics. Analysts say independents will determine which party controls Congress next year...but the Tea Party and the Express are about whether or not Republicans are controlled by conservatives.
Note that the 2010 Express tour (below) ends in New Hampshire - home of the first presidential primary in 2012!
Monday, Oct. 18
10:00 AM - Rally in Reno, NV
12:30 PM - TPX Tour departs from Reno, NV rally location
5:30 PM - Elko, NV rally
Tuesday, Oct. 19
9:00 AM - Depart from Elko, NV hotel
12:00 Noon - Rally in Ely, NV
1:30 PM - Depart Ely, NV
6:00 PM - Rally in Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, Oct. 20
9:00 AM - Depart from Las Vegas, NV
1:30 PM - Rally in Barstow, CA
3:00 PM - Depart Barstow, CA
6:00 PM - Rally in Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Oct. 21
8:00 AM - Depart Los Angeles, CA
12:00 Noon - San Diego, CA Rally
2:30 PM - Depart San Diego, CA
6:00 PM - Rally in Yuma, AZ
Friday, Oct. 22
8:00 AM - Depart Yuma, AZ
12:00 Noon - Rally in Phoenix, AZ
2:30 PM - Depart Phoenix, AZ
Saturday, Oct. 23
12:00 Noon - Rally in Las Cruces, NM
3:00 PM - Depart Las Cruces, NM
4:30 PM - Rally in El Paso, TX
6:00 PM - Depart El Paso, TX
10:30 PM - Arrive in Odessa, TX
Sunday, Oct. 24
8:00 AM - Depart Odessa, TX
11:30 AM - Rally in Abilene, TX
1:00 PM - Depart Abilene, TX
5:00 PM - Waco, TX Rally
Monday, Oct. 25
7:30 AM - Depart Waco, TX
10:00 AM - Rally in Dallas, TX
12:00 Noon - Depart Dallas, TX
6:00 PM - Rally in Little Rock, AR
Tuesday, Oct. 26
7:30 AM - Depart Little Rock, AR
4:00 PM - Rally in Franklin, TN
6:30 PM - Depart Franklin, TN
10:00 PM - Arrive in Paducah, KY
Wednesday, Oct. 27
11:00 AM - Rally in Paducah, KY
1:30 PM - Depart Paducah, KY
5:00 PM - Rally in St. Louis, MO
7:30 PM - Depart St. Louis, MO
10:00 PM - Arrive in Springfield, IL
Thursday, Oct. 28
9:00 AM - Rally in Springfield, IL
11:30 AM - Depart Springfield, IL
4:00 PM - Rally in Joliet, IL
6:30 PM - Depart Joliet, ILâ
11:00 PM - Arrive in Jackson, MI
Friday, Oct. 29
10:00 AM - Rally in Jackson, MI
12:30 PM - Depart Jackson, MI
4:00 PM - Rally in Troy, MI
6:30 PM - Depart Troy, MI
11:00 PM - Arrive in Columbus, OH
Saturday, Oct. 30
11:00 AM - Rally in Columbus, OH
1:30 PM - Depart Columbus, OH
9:00 PM - Arrive in Harrisburg, PA
Sunday, Oct. 31
10:00 AM - Rally in Harrisburg, PA
12:00 Noon - Depart Harrisburg, PA
3:00 PM - Rally in Wilmington, DE
5:30 PM - Depart Wilmington, DE
8:00 PM - Rally in Toms River, NJ
Monday, Nov. 1
8:00 AM - Depart Toms River, NJ
2:00 PM - 2:00 PM - Rally in Attleboro, MA
4:00 PM - Depart Attleboro, MA
6:00 PM - Rally in Concord, NH