Tea party caucus forming in House of Delegates
About a dozen Maryland Republican delegates met briefly this morning to discuss the logistics of forming a tea party caucus.
Led by Del. Mike Smigiel of the Eastern Shore, the group decided to meet again Monday to select officers and discuss policy.
Del. Michael McDermott, a newly elected member from the Eastern Shore, said tea partiers traditionally focus on fiscal issues, and that's what he'd like the Maryland caucus to do.
Smigiel, in his third term, agreed. He said the caucus would "stay away from hot-button issues" and concentrate on spending and the size of government.
Although it appeared everyone at the meeting was Republican, Smigiel said he'd like to see Democrats get involved.
It's unclear if that will happen. When Smigiel announced the tea party meeting at the end of the morning legislative session, Del. Keith Haynes, a Baltimore Democrat, stood to jokingly announce that the "coffee caucus" will not be meeting.
There are three official caucuses in the General Assembly: women legislators, black legislators and veterans. But there are dozens of less formal "caucuses," and the term has come to be used to describe any group of legislators with a common interest -- be it bicycling or the Ravens. Today, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, a Montgomery County Democrat, announced a meeting of the "new Americans caucus."
(pictured: Smigiel talking to tea partiers in the House lounge.)