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Tea Party Express spokesman leaves group over race controversy

From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage –

Tea Party Express spokesman and former chairman Mark Williams says he’s stepping away from the group because of the furor over of his blog post about “colored people.” This comes as the Lisa Murkowski campaign says Joe Miller shouldn’t accept Tea Party Express help because of the controversy over Williams.

“I feel compelled to separate myself from any further involvement with the Tea Party Express so that I can pursue other interests and to free the tea party movement from any more distraction based on my personal comments or blog,” Williams said in a letter released this morning by the Tea Party Express.

The Tea Party Express, which is promising to spend several hundred thousand dollars to support Miller’s campaign against Murkowski, has received lots of bad press over Williams’ post. Williams wrote on his blog a fictional letter from what he called” colored people” to Abraham Lincoln. “"We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!" he wrote.

Williams, who was Tea Party Express chairman until last month, said the media coverage isn’t good for the movement. He wrote to the Tea Party Express today that:

"The media coverage over a recent satirical posting on my personal MarkTalk.com blog risks injuring the Tea Party Express, the tea party movement as a whole, and the people in this movement who I respect and admire so much. It has become increasingly unacceptable that the media and our domestic enemies continue to anoint me as the official voice of a massively diverse and broad-based movement.

This nation is in crisis, and beyond the struggling economy and suffocating deficits, is what I consider to be the most troubling development recently: this nation’s slide towards socialism and abandonment to the fundamental Constitutional principles that have made America great. I do not wish to be used as ammunition against our own cause so to that end I am removing myself from the equation and severing ties to the Tea Party Express."

The current Tea Party Express chair, Amy Kremer, said in Anchorage this week that Williams’ blog post was wrong but he was speaking for himself and the group wasn’t planning to shun him, “I’m not going to throw a fellow conservative under the bus,” she said.

The Murkowski campaign sent out a statement this morning saying Miller should tell the Tea Party Express that he won’t “accept money from the organization as long as it defends racist views. You can’t reject the comments and still take their money.”

The Miller campaign has said it trusts the Tea Party Express doesn’t share the views expressed by Williams on his blog, and that the campaign and the Tea Party Express are independent of one another.

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