If tea party voters don't regard race as a factor in their electoral decisions, it's not because the movement itself is racially diverse; many minority voters recoil from the tea party's emphasis on shrinking government. According to a CBS News poll taken last October, 93 percent of self-identified tea party supporters were white. But that doesn't mean they are unwilling to elect minority candidates who share their values. Among the 87 Republican freshmen elected to the House in 2010, two, Scott and Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., are black. Before this year, no black Republican had served in Congress since 2003, when Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma retired. Both Scott and West rode a wave of tea party enthusiasm to unlikely victories. Scott, who was selected for a freshman leadership position, won a contested primary over Paul Thurmond, the son of former Sen. Strom Thurmond.
The Tea Party's Surprise
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