What is the benefit of joining the caucus? What if the tea party gains a negative reputation within the Republican Party in the next year? Joining the Senate Tea Party Caucus doesn’t seem beneficial to a GOP superstar like Rubio.
One of the tea party movement’s biggest stars isn’t quite ready to join the club.
“Senator Rubio is proud of his relationship with the tea party movement and shares its commitment to tackling the debt, defending the free enterprise system and restoring our limited government tradition,” said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. “He simply has not made any decisions about any caucus memberships.”
Another tea party favorite of 2010 election cycle, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), announced Friday that the first meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus will be held later this month. The inaugural Jan. 27 meeting, which will be open to the public, is expected to feature Paul, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint as guests.
With the backing of conservatives and tea party activists in the Sunshine State, Rubio came from behind to lead the Republican primary – and eventually force the state’s popular sitting governor, Charlie Crist, to leave the GOP and run instead as an independent in the race. Now considered a star in the conservative movement, Rubio’s rise has come to symbolize the power of tea party activists in GOP primaries.
The Senate Tea Party Caucus is not expected to wield significant power like its counterpart in the House, given that senators have great individual authority to stop legislation on their own and do not need a large group of members to block movement on a bill.