WASHINGTON - The foot soldiers of the tea party movement dismiss the chatter about its demise.
They stand ready to use their unbending political force against both President Barack Obama and the Republican establishment this election year.
The Tea Party Patriots, one of the major grass-roots groups, marked the fifth anniversary of the movement Thursday. They attracted hundreds of members and plenty of speakers to a Washington celebration in which they directed their animosity at the Washington establishment.
The national grass-roots coordinator says the strength of the group is reflected in $1.2 million and counting that it raised in 10 days.
Republican primaries this election year will be a crucial test for the movement. The GOP establishment has aggressively challenged tea party-backed candidates in several states.