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updated: 10/14/2010 10:48 PM

'Fire Pelosi Bus Tour' not joint endeavor

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  • Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, left, rallies with 8th Congressional District candidate Joe Walsh at Volunteer Plaza in Palatine. The "Fire Pelosi Bus Tour" stopped in Palatine Thursday night.

      Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, left, rallies with 8th Congressional District candidate Joe Walsh at Volunteer Plaza in Palatine. The "Fire Pelosi Bus Tour" stopped in Palatine Thursday night.
    Patrick Kunzer

 
By Kerry Lester

A bus tour aiming to rid Congress of "establishment politicians and decrying government spending may be rolling through Palatine, but it has nothing to do with the growing tea party group in town, Republican National Committee officials said.

Palatine tea party members, who express similar concerns over career politicians and government control, planned to attend the "Fire Pelosi Bus Tour stop at the intersection of Northwest Highway and Hicks Road Thursday night, but it shouldn't be interpreted as Republican allegiance.

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The RNC's cross-country tour began Sept. 15. Of Illinois' four stops, three are in the suburbs Palatine, Niles and St. Charles.

Illinois GOP leaders picked those locations strategically, said party chairman Pat Brady.

In Niles, Republican leaders will rally support for 9th District congressional candidate Joel Pollak up against longtime Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

Brady pointed to polls that showed Schakowsky's support at below 50 percent, noting Pollak is "running a real nice campaign.

"If we're going to grow as a party, we need to show up in areas that aren't particularly Republican districts, he said.

St. Charles, Brady's hometown, was chosen because of the close race between 14th District Democratic incumbent Bill Foster and challenger Randy Hultgren.

Palatine, Brady said, conveniently straddles two congressional districts the 8th and the 10th.

"We're glad to have them and they're all invited. They're concerned about the same issue we are, Brady said of the tea party. "But they didn't plan it. Everyone's invited. Republican Party, Democratic Party, Green Party, tea party, cocktail party.

Republicans, looking to regain control of Congress and the General Assembly in November, have spent recent months courting the growing tea party movement.

The recent "Right Nation 2010 conservative convention in Hoffman Estates aimed to celebrate a "shared lineage from "all sectors of the right, traditional Republicans and tea-partiers included.

Yet Palatine tea party coordinator Craig Mijares said he doesn't consider his group "affiliated with the left or right.

Mijares says the Palatine tea party is the "largest tea party in the Northwest suburbs, though he declined to disclose membership numbers, calling it "inappropriate. The group, according to its website, promotes a platform of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free economic markets.

Along with holding rallies and forums throughout the summer and fall, the group has been active in efforts to thwart three-term incumbent Melissa Bean's re-election in the 8th District.

Mijares has wrote an extensive series of articles decrying Bean's political career, including votes for health care and the stimulus package.

Don't call him a Republican, though.

"The right and left shouldn't take us for granted, Mijares said. "I don't think they've married me unto them. The RNC's the RNC, the DNC's the DNC and the tea party's the tea party.

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