Tea Party Shifts to Stealth Mode for 2012 Elections

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WASHINGTON -- The days of the Tea Party rallies seem to have given way to another movement.

Recently, the Occupy Wall Street crowd took the bulk of the ink in the national media.

So what happened to the Tea Party? They've shifted into stealth mode, working behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera.

"What we've seen is that people are working on a local and state level," said Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, a California-based group founded in 2009 to support the Tea Party movement.

"And it's not sensational journalism or sexy journalism and it's not the visual that you get when somebody is sitting behind their desk. But it's OK because people are engaged," Kremer said.

"They're affecting change on the state and local level, and we're going to come back together and we're going to have sweeping victories in 2012," she explained.

The grass roots goal now includes electing members to school boards, county commissions, and city councils.

In Pennsylvania, the York County Tea Party targets school waste. In Wisconsin, they're fighting against the recall of Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker. And in Florida, Tea Party groups took on a costly lightrail project.

Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., is a Tea Party favorite who believes the movement is here to stay.

"It's not going anywhere because it's rooted in the fundamental principles and values of what makes us exceptional and unique as a constitutional republic," he said.

That doesn't mean the rallies are gone for good. The Tea Party can manifest in different ways.

"Just because you don't see it does not mean that it does not exist," West explained.

"It's kind of like the old Steve McQueen movie, "The Blob." It can show up wherever it wants. It can generate energy, momentum, and then it can dissipate as quickly as it appeared," he said.

That blob could be coming to a Republican primary near you. Yes, Republican, because once again the Tea Party is targeting U.S. Senate incumbents who they believe are too moderate.

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