Tea Party President Challenges Meeks in Democratic Primary

by Phillip M. Bailey on February 14, 2012

Louisville Tea Party President and founder Wendy Caswell is set to challenge state Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, in the May primary.

Though the Tea Party is known to have had conservative views on fiscal and social issues, the 27-year-old waitress has been a registered Democrat her entire life and political observers are eager to see how she will run a campaign as a Tea Party Democrat.

Caswell says the Tea Party movement can’t be defined by party affiliation and is about following the U.S. Constitution.

“The Tea Party isn’t really about Republican or Democrat, it’s about fiscal responsibility and getting common sense back into our government. And that’s where I really think I’ll take the race. There are parts of me that are socially liberal that make me a Democrat. I think I can maybe put a new perspective out there that won’t necessarily come with the stigma that the Tea Party comes with,” she says.

Polling numbers have shown that 15 percent of tea partyers were Democrats who were either disaffected or moved to the GOP in the last decade.

But few Tea Party Democrats have sought or won public office and it has been difficult to measure their impact since the movement began.

Meeks says he is also interested to see how his opponent will craft a message that appeals to Democratic voters while being the head of the local Tea Party.

“I think the community is going to be very interested to know what she’s got to say as a Democrat Tea Party person. So, we’ll see. I’m looking forward to it,” he says.

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