Tea Parties to sponsor Republican debates in Virginia congressional election.

As ThinkProgress has reported, Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project and the nationwide Tea Parties are inspiring far-right candidates to run for office and challenge Republican lawmakers deemed insufficiently “pure.” Now, Tea Parties are even officially sponsoring electoral debates:

The TEA Party grassroots organizations in the 5th District announced Friday they will sponsor three debates for candidates seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Tom Perriello.

According to a news release, the debates will be scheduled from January to March in the Danville, Charlottesville and Lynchburg [Virginia] areas. The debates will precede the GOP’s nomination process, whether that is a primary or a convention. TEA Party leaders are calling for a convention.

Danville area Tea Party leader Nigel Coleman said that “people will see the growth of the TEA Party movement and its effect on the political landscape” in the 2010 election. The 5th district in Virginia has been the site of particularly controversial Tea Party activity, such as when Coleman’s group had to cancel plans to burn Periello and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in effigy after “getting a lot of flack.”