Tom Trento -- national security chairman of the Tea Party National Convention and president of the anti-Islamic group United West -- has issued an "integrity alert," naming Rep. Allen West as a "Tea Party defector."
West joins fellow Reps. Mike Kelly, Bill Flores, and James Lankford -- who spent half an hour talking about post offices on the House floor yesterday -- as people identified as "Tea Party defectors" for being in favor of House Speaker John Boehner's debt limit plan.
Three Tea Party groups -- the Tea Party Express, Tea Party Nation, and Trento's United West -- have said they're going to seek opponents to run against West in next year's primary if he continues to support Boehner.
West's response: The Tea Party has schizophrenia.
"If the folks who one minute they're saying that I'm their 'Tea Party hero' and what, three or four days later I'm a 'Tea Party defector' -- that kind of schizophrenia, I'm not going to get involved in it," West said on Laura Ingraham's radio show.
If the Tea Party groups are serious about running a candidate against West in next year's primary, that's bad news for the congressman -- since he's already committed to driving the Boehner-wagon for his debt-ceiling plan.
Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips told The Hill that they're going to call Florida voters who cozy up to the Tea Party by the middle of next week to sway them against West.
The opposition to Boehner's plan comes from the support of the "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan, which has gained the sponsorship from many of the GOP's most valuable donors.
Voting on Boehner's plan was delayed last night due to a lack of votes to pass it out of the House, although he's reportedly added some Tea Party-friendly provisions in the hope of passing his plan in a vote this afternoon.
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