Jamie Radtke, leader of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots who recently announced a planned 2012 Senate run, had some cutting words for the Republican Party, speaking at the inaugural Senate Tea Party Caucus meeting. Addressing an older audience of "Don't Tread on Me" flag-clutching grassroots activists, Radtke said, "The Tea Party movement would not exist today if the Republicans had not failed under the Bush years." She added that, if elected, she would join Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's recently-formed Tea Party Caucus.
To the consternation of the GOP, Radtke will be vying for the Senate seat currently held by Democratic Senator Jim Webb. But she will have her work cut out for her as she faces former Senator George Allen, who told the AP he will run a campaign focusing on issues straight from the Tea Party playbook. Radtke indicated that she believes she has the conservative bona fides necessary to defeat Allen in Virginia's GOP primary. "I'm strongly pro-life and I'm strongly pro-family and pro-marriage and that will not change on the campaign [trail]," she said. "George Allen has some explaining to do on his pro-life position." It will be interesting to watch how many more Constitution-loving aspirants to higher office throw their hats in the ring, and how much of a "Ralph Nader-effect" they'll have on the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential election.