"Tea Party effect" a factor in North Alabama 2010 elections? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

"Tea Party effect" a factor in North Alabama 2010 elections?

By Trang Do - Bio | Email 

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The "Tea Party effect" is a phenomenon that swept the country on election night. 

Some say it had a huge effect on our local races and brought out the voters in droves.

Several Alabama counties had voter turnouts at well over 60 percent.

Some people are attributing those high numbers to a strong showing by Tea Party voters, riding a tidal wave of anger against Democratic incumbents.

"People know that Democrats have controlled the state for a long, long time, and they were interested in giving conservatism a chance, I believe," said Huntsville Tea Party President Chad Capps.

The proof is in the results.  All four local candidates supported by the Huntsville Tea Party won their respective races: Mo Brooks (R) for Alabama's 55th District Congressional seat, Paul Sanford (R) for State Senate District 7, Bill Holtzclaw (R) for State Senate District 2, and Mary Scott Hunter (R) for Alabama Board of Education, District 8.

"I think they were fired up," said political analyst Dr. Waymon Burke. "I think they were motivated. I think they were a major driving force in this election."

As for the Tea Party's ongoing impact, Dr. Burke says that remains to be seen.

"We'll find out, is the Tea Party, could it be a separate political party movement?" he said. "We don't know yet, or could it be an important faction within the Republican party, as it has been this year?"

Capps said getting their candidates elected in 2010 was the first step for the Huntsville Tea Party, but it doesn't end there.

"If 2012 is to be the second step, we've got to make sure that those who are elected now, hold to their promises, do what they said they were going to do so that we can see demonstrated positive results," Capps said.

In Alabama, nearly 46 percent of all registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's elections.

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