The national divide between the Republican establishment and the tea party movement is now coming to Texas. A new group called the Texas Future Business Alliance is already providing support for incumbent Texas Republicans who may be facing tea party challengers in the March 4th primary. The Alliance is described as a mix of 10 business groups around the state including bankers, industry leaders, and contractors. The group has been mum about its specific efforts and spending plans, but it is sending out mailers in support of Republican lawmakers who supported more spending on public infrastructure and education during last year's Texas Legislature.
For now, the group only says it is "recognizing leaders" dedicated to keeping Texas the nation's most business-friendly state. But Texas tea party leaders see things differently. "I think that this alliance is an acknowledgement of the success that the tea party has had in primaries," says Julie Turner with the Texas Patriots PAC, a tea-party affiliated group. She tells KTRH that groups like this are part of an unhealthy alliance between government and business that the tea party movement was born to oppose. "The Tea Party is out to transfer decision-making to the people, instead of wrapping it up in government--be that in Austin or Washington," says Turner. "It is a lot easier for government to slant the playing field in favor of a business or an industry."
Whether the Texas Future Business Alliance is successful in defending establishment candidates won't be known until after the primaries. Nevertheless, as the battle between establishment and tea party continues in the GOP, Turner urges Republican leaders in Texas and Washington to heed the tea party message rather than fight it. "Lower taxes and less regulation lead to more freedom and more opportunity, and that's how you climb the economic ladder," she says. "And if the Republican party is to succeed, it's because they will embrace that message."