The Tea Party is a conservative movement made up of loosely affiliated groups unified around the central principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. While most of the various groups that compose the movement agree on the Tea Party principles — limited government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, the rule of law and national sovereignty — they often disagree on individual tenets and the extent to which they espouse libertarianism.
The movement gained national popularity in 2009 in response to the Democratic healthcare bill, government bailouts, and the stimulus act. The first major nationwide Tea Party event was a rally that occurred simultaneously in several major cities on April 15, 2009. Over 750 different Tea Party groups participated in the rally.
The first major test of the movement's political heft came in the 2010 elections, when several Tea Party-backed candidates challenged incumbents across the state. Tea Party candidates did not fare well, with a few notable exceptions. Tea Party-friendly candidates Charles Perry, John Frullo, and Van Taylor won their House races in runoffs, and Tea Party-draftee David Simpson defeated incumbent Republican Tommy Merritt in the HD-7 race.
On April 15, 2010, thousands of Tea Party supporters assembled at spots around the country to express their outrage at a government that has “spent and taxed too much.”