On its 20-day tour across the United States, the Tea Party Express had a simple goal: to show its distaste with the current direction of the federal government in Washington D.C.
While the route for the tour was set earlier this year, organizers paid significant attention to Michigan, planning 10 stops. Momentum swelled behind the movement as it traveled through the Upper Peninsula the same week that Rep. Bart Stupak made his announcement he would not seek re-election this year. It also stopped in Petoskey, Charlevoix and Traverse City.
The Tea Party has been gaining momentum ever since the February 2009 rant by financial commentator Rick Santelli on CNBC. During the recent tour, the Tea Party movement pledged to spend upwards of $250,000 in an ad campaign aimed at defeating Stupak, including multiple events in Northern Michigan. It hit a high point prior to its Traverse City stop last week when Stupak, an 18-year member of Congress and lynchpin to the health care bills passage, bowed out of this years race.