A look at the Tea Party's impact at the polls

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Tea Party members celebrated several wins Tuesday night as more and more of the country's political landscape turned red. A CBS News poll found 1 in 5 voters now consider themselves a Tea Party supporter.

"We think it was a clear message from the American people to change course, and there's no doubt that the Tea Party movement across the United States energized all of what we saw last night," said Red River Tea Party board member, Royal Alexander.

Alexander said he feels the Red River Tea Party had an impact on many state and local elections, "In several of the city council races, in the State Representative race we just finished, Alan Seabaugh and Harold Turner. All the candidates were talking about fiscal discipline, about living within the state's budget, about not running up deficits."

However, local political analyst Lou Gehrig Burnett says the impact may not have been as great as the Tea Party claims in Louisiana.

"I think the elections would have gone that way even without the Tea Party being involved, but I think the role they did play was to get more people to go to the polls and vote.  That's a good thing," said Burnett.

Alexander claims most of the Red River Tea Party's 3,000 members consider themselves Independents who voted Republican in this election.

Now that the mid term elections are over, the group plans to focus its efforts on the Louisiana Legislature.

"They're predicting a huge budget deficit next year in our state of Louisiana where critical things like education and healthcare, won't be able to be funded anymore.  We have a real problem when we can't fund basic things like education and healthcare because we're spending money in places we shouldn't be in Louisiana," said Alexander.

The Tea Party hopes to gain more and more influence to help put fiscal conservatives in place across all levels of government.

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