Sarah Palin, who has achieved rock star status among conservative Republicans, is coming to Sen. Harry Reid's hometown.
She'll be in Searchlight March 27 to launch a Tea Party Express cross-country bus tour that ends in Washington, D.C., on April 15 - Tax Day - after stopping in 42 cities along way, according to organizers.
Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate in 2008, will help step up the Tea Party activists' campaign to unseat Democrats and GOP incumbents who don't adhere to the conservatives' agenda of less spending, less taxes and less government. The Tea Party movement also is backing newcomer candidates who see things their way as well.
"We're really excited," Levi Russell, a Tea Party Express spokesman, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We knew the Searchlight kick off was going to be big with all the conservative candidates runnng against Reid there to make this a referendum on Reid. But Sarah Palin has greatly magnified that."
The confirmed GOP primary candidates seeking Reid's seat include Sue Lowden, Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle, Russell said.
Sen. Reid responded to Palin with a bring it on invitation: "Make sure you stop by the Nugget for a ten-cent cup of coffee with free refills – and make sure to say "hi" to Verlie," Reid said in a statement.
Reid grew up in Searchlight, a small mining town about 60 miles south of Las Vegas. He's seeking a fifth term but he's running behind his potential GOP opponents in early polls. And the national Republican Party is targeting him for ouster because, as Senate majority leader, he has led the unpopular effort to reform health care and do Obama's bidding on Capitol Hill.
Palin is delivering the keynote address at the National Tea Party Convention this weekend in Nashville, Tenn.
The Tea Party organizers are hoping for big crowds in Searchlight, but even larger crowds in Washington, D.C. - hundreds of thousands, like the Sept. 12 rally last year, according to Russell.
The Tea Party movement of anti-tax and anti-big government conservatives formed last year and has grown larger and more popular across the country as voters have become disenchanted with Washington politics – even with mainline Republicans on Capitol HIll but especially with Democratic President Barack Obama and the Democrats who control both houses of Congress.