WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania’s new senator-elect, Republican Pat Toomey, said on Sunday that he is open to joining a Tea Party caucus when he arrives in Washington and has appreciated all the support the movement has given him.
“I’d consider that,” said Toomey when asked by host Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether he would be open to joining a Tea Party caucus in the Senate. “I’d want to hear what that’s going to be all about, what that means. But I’d be open to that.”
Toomey also said he appreciated the “broad support” he received from the Tea Party movement during his campaign. “I welcome their support and I think they can play a very constructive role in keeping the Republican Party committed to the principles that we advocate,” he added.
Kentucky’s Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R) floated the idea of the Tea Party caucus in July in an interview with the conservative National Review. After his election on Nov. 2, he again brought up the plan, saying, “I think there’s a lot of potential members in the House and a few members in the Senate as well.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) received approval for her Tea Party caucus in the House from the Committee on House Administration in July. While several high-profile Republicans immediately signed on, such as Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) resisted, saying the Tea Parties are “better left with the people.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has also said he plans to join a Tea Party caucus if there is one, but told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “I think what we’ll probably do in the Senate is just expand the conservative caucus and reflect the Tea Party ideas.”