Tea Party Seeks To Become A Political Party In Connecticut

Today kicks off the Tea Party convention in Nashville, but it may be another landmark day for the movement: the Tea Party is trying to become a political party in the state of Connecticut.

The Hartford Courant's Daniela Altimari reports that activists have registered the CT Tea Party with the Connecticut Secretary of State's office. The party's goal: "To ensure that the Democratic and Republican caucuses are prepared to put forth candidates that are ready to go to to work for the people, and not continue the status quo that's caused the problems both locally and at the state and federal levels,'' one of the organizers told the Courant.

The Connecticut Secretary of State's office, meanwhile, doesn't seem to know about this. An official with the office told me they are "trying to figure that out" and that the Tea Party may have actually filed with the elections enforcement division to become a PAC.

If the Tea Party files with the Secretary of State's office for a nominating petition, they could get a required number of signatures and put a candidate on the ballot, thereby becoming a minor party, the official said. The official could not confirm or deny whether this has happened.

Regardless, Connecticut presents an opportunity for the Tea Party: the state has a fusion-voting setup that allows minor political parties to cross-endorse Republican or Democratic candidates. The Connecticut Working Families Party, for instance, a progressive party that supports progressive candidates, typically cross-endorses Democrats, giving Democratic candidates, in essence, a Working Families Party seal of approval.

That's one strategy the Tea Party could seek to implement, in Connecticut or in any of the other handful of states that use those rules.