FreedomWorks, the conservative group that has aligned itself more closely with the Tea Party movement than any other preexisting conservative organization, released its list of 2010 target Senate races and districts today.
The group is looking to organize ground-level activism in the Senate races in Florida and Nevada (supporting Marco Rubio and opposing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), and it's backing Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Rand Paul in Kentucky.
In the House, FreedomWorks plans campaign action in Alabama's first district, Arkansas' second (vacated at the end of 2010 by retiring Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder), Florida's eighth (attacking Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson) and Ohio's 15th (going after Democrat Mary Jo Killroy).
But the group is monitoring 55 other races around the country, in which it has not endorsed a candidate but may get involved.
While Tea Partiers don't maintain a target list of their own, the FreedomWorks list may serve as a loose guideline for where Tea Partiers (who talk to and coordinate with FreedomWorks) place their efforts and affect races.
Claiming half a million members, FreedomWorks could get more ambitious this year given its thus far successful alliance with the Tea Party movement. It released its target list today at a press briefing with tea party activists at its DC headquarters, at which leaders of the prominent Tea Party group Tea Party Patriots spoke to reporters and activists in attendance.
60 Tea Party organizers from across the country attended an event in DC organized by FreedomWorks this past weekend to discuss ideas and goals for the movement. Tea Party Patriots boasts 15 million members.
Tea Party activists, for their part, are eager to get involved in any race they can--and they think they can get involved in many.
"I don't think any race is off the list," Mark Meckler, a co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots said. Meckler says the Tea Party movement is spread out enough--in swing and liberal districts, in addition to conservative ones--to be a factor in any congressional district in 2010. His group is working on a PAC to accompany its grassroots efforts with spending on candidates.
"With their vast volunteer networks, they can probably afford to spread themselves thinner than we can," FreedomWorks Vice President of Federal & State Campaigns Rob Jordan said of the Tea Party movement.
The FreedomWorks list, and the goals of the Tea Party movement for replacing moderates and liberals with free-market fiscal conservatives, meshes quite evenly with the goals of the Club for Growth, the conservative, DC-based, free-market group that backs conservative candidates each election cycle. The Club will likely provide the financial backing for some races where Tea Partiers and other conservative activists have the most impact.
Jordan said FreedomWorks has talked to the Club about candidates and target lists, but has not coordinated any efforts. "We haven't gotten there yet," Jordan said.
See the FreedomWorks target list below:
Mackie Jimbo contributed technological expertise in scanning the list.