APPLETON - The Senate race has the national and local tea party groups at odds. The Tea Party Express is a national political action group. It has endorsed Mark Neumann. But there are local groups, with a similar name, who have a different view.
"Every U.S. senator and congressman their vote affects each and every one of us. So we're engaged here, there are other conservatives in the race, we're not here to beat up on them we're hear to support Mark and talk about the good record he has," said Amy Kremer, Tea Party Express chairperson.
But the Tea Party Express, based in California, isn't affiliated with tea party groups in Wisconsin and not all of them endorse Mark Neumann. Fox Valley Initiative is a local tea party group that has yet to endorse any candidate in the race.
"When a candidate is being endorsed, and it's not the one they would like, it could be a little bit of a concern for them and disturbing in that sense but that's the process, you have to get behind a candidate and that's part of it," said Edward Perkins of Fox Valley Initiative.
Arnold Shober is an associate professor of government at Lawrence University. He says any potential rift between national and local tea party groups shouldn't hurt Neumann's chances.
"It's free advertising, it has credibility, it's a national group and with a name like Tea Party Express that has been active in other states, it says someone has vetted him other than just Republican voters in Wisconsin," Shober said.
"I'm not going to go out and attack other groups that's not what we should be focused on. I encourage people to go out and work for their candidate whoever their candidate may be," said Kremer.
Perkins says the Fox Valley Initiative will decide in the next day or two whether to announce support for a candidate. But either way he says the goal of all conservatives remains the same.
"If it's a conservative candidate and Tammy Baldwin will be on the other side there will be no question 99% of us will be behind that conservative candidate," said Perkins.
No matter who is endorsing them.
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