Senate Tea Party Caucus Holds First Meeting - NYTimes.com
Some of the Tea Party’s most prominent candidates never made it to Washington (think: Christine “I am not a witch or a senator” O’Donnell of Delaware), but the movement that perhaps best embodied the anti-incumbent sentiment of 2010 nonetheless gained a toehold in the upper chamber of Congress. And on Thursday it became official: Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the Tea Party patron, and the freshmen senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, held the first official gathering of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.
And the three Republicans quickly picked up a new recruit: Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin.
But other newly elected Republican senators have refused to join, including some who had Tea Party support in the fall campaign, like the senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jerry Moran of Kansas. And other than Mr. DeMint, who has been flirting with the idea of a presidential run, no incumbent senator has signed on.
With its four members, the Tea Party Caucus amounts to fewer than 10 percent of Republicans in the Senate, making it a minority within the minority.