Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Who Will Lead the Tea Party Caucus?

Who will be the next Michele Bachmann? The Minnesota Republican’s announcement on Wednesday that she’ll be stepping down when her term wraps up in 2014 leaves a void at the top of the Tea Party Caucus she founded in 2010 — and a handful of conservatives could vie to take up her mantle.

From the time Bachmann founded the caucus, the movement has had its ebbs and flows, at its high point having significant influence over the electoral landscape and at its low point becoming dormant to the point — some might argue — of irrelevance.

But with revelations that the IRS improperly targeted conservative-affiliated groups seeking to register as tax-exempt nonprofits, the tea party movement both on Capitol Hill and around the country was reignited, and many supporters believe political candidates will ride that wave through the next election cycle as they did in 2010.

If that turns out to be true, there are a handful of House Republicans who could want to take Bachmann’s place at the helm of the Tea Party Caucus. We at Goppers walk you through, in no particular order, a list of four sitting lawmakers who might be angling for it, and who might be good at it, acknowledging that it’s still early to start handicapping.

1. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina was elected in 2010 as a tea party candidate and earlier this year actually sought to relaunch the Tea Party Caucus on his own because he thought Bachmann had all but abandoned the cause — she did somewhat shirk in her leadership duties in 2012, between running for president and then fighting to keep her House seat in a close election. Once he found out that she was still engaged with the cause and pledged to renew her commitment to it, however, Mulvaney stepped aside to let Bachmann continue as chairwoman and insisted there was no intention of usurpation. Once Bachmann steps down, Mulvaney could proceed as he’d originally planned without stepping on any toes.

2. Louie Gohmert of Texas, a tea party member, is one of the House’s most vocal Republicans. He’s a familiar face at news conferences for conservative causes and on the chamber floor, where on a semi-regular basis he appears to deliver lengthy treatises on issues of the day during Special Orders. Gohmert loves to talk, enjoys the media spotlight and is unapologetic about views that are often so far to the right of the political spectrum that he becomes a Bachmann-esque lightning rod for the left.

3. Steve King of Iowa never misses a Tea Party Caucus media event. He has been making national news recently for fiery denouncements of the Senate’s immigration overhaul legislation and promises to stonewall any House proposal that is in any way similar. He’s become the de facto leader of a fringe group of House Republicans who share his stances on the immigration debate, and what becomes of this grass-roots movement could foreshadow King’s ability to lead his colleagues on a larger scale.

4. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas could seek to lead the Tea Party Caucus in the mold of an outlier. Since his ultraconservative stances on fiscal policy got him kicked off the House Budget Committee, he has not been shy about voicing his dissatisfaction with GOP leadership, participating in a campaign to oust John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, from the speaker’s seat at the start of the 113th Congress. Huelskamp appears to relish being a thorn in the sides of party leaders, which could be a good fit for the leader of a movement that prides itself on diverging from the Republican mainstream.

  • sqeptiq

    I endorse Gohmert. He’s suitably crazy.

    • lyris

      He belongs in a mental ward with the rest of the baggers.

  • drthomasedavis

    Michele is doing a great job; let her pick her successor as she prepares to run for the 2016 Presidential spot. It is long past the time when we should have had a female president. Michele can do that job just fine. She is a mother, right!

    • lyris

      She may be too busy trying to keep from going to prison which is where she belongs, along with the rest of them.

      • drthomasedavis

        Ridiculous! There are far too many real lowlife crooks who really need jail time or to be hung. Obama, Clinton, Holder, Napolitano, most of the IRS. Need I continue “Lyris?”

        • Pelu Maad

          I am comforted by all the white hair and the knowledge that folks with your perspective are a dying breed. Have a nice day, bubba….

          • drthomasedavis

            Speak real English please, and have the guts to your real picture.

          • Pelu Maad

            My great grandmother’s brother’s picture is close enough, As for my language…it’s standard English….If you need it translated into good ole boy….that’s on you….

          • drthomasedavis

            Sonny boy, I am not one of your run-of-the mill Good olel boys. I am a bonafide American Patriot who served his county for almost 43, two wars and more. You?

      • NewHampshire

        Yes right next to Obama, the most criminal president that was ever put in place by the Elites and the CIA illegal shadow gov’t.

    • Pelu Maad

      A real mother for ya….

      • drthomasedavis

        You do not deserve a reply. “A real mother for ya” is not a coherent comment

  • ApplePie101

    Louie Gohmert, without question. His voting record has been true to the constitutional principles of the Tea party, he comes from a solid red state, and he voted against that abysmal republicrat, John Boehner, in the last election for house speaker. He’s not afraid to stand alone for the right cause.

    • lyris

      True to his Constitutional principles? The baggers have no principles.

      • drthomasedavis

        It is the liberals who abandoned all constitutional principles in 1912 and again in 1916 when they twice elected Woodrow Wilson to be their (sub)standard bearer. Only one Democrat since has been a constitution observing president and that was Harry Truman. History 101, lyris.

    • Pelu Maad

      For comedic potential…you can’t beat a clown like Gohmert.

  • lyris

    I am delighted to see her go. I wish she would leave now.

    As for the other wing nuts, I hope they all lose in 2014. Government is not a game and we need intelligent people in office, not those idiots.

  • drthomasedavis

    Why do the male members of the House need to take over a positon long held by Michele? Why not consider, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Cynthia Lummis, Marsha Blackburn or Virginia Foxx?

  • suegarelik

    Does not matter.the real leaders are the Koch brothers , Alec and assorted corporate predators.

    • NewHampshire

      You are clueless. No one ever heard of the Koch brothers.

  • NewHampshire

    Since the movement never ‘elected’ anyone to represent us in DC (not TPP, TPN, TPE, or any other bogus group) these folks are not legit to begin with. We are NOT a political party… we are a movement not a PAC. Media must stop giving these warmongering folks any credibility!

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