n. A U.S. political candidate who runs for office under the Tea Party banner, but who subscribes to few of the party's positions.

Example Citations:
Moreover, a number of successful candidates are only nominally or opportunistically associated with the Tea Party; these TINOs (Tea in Name Only) include Ron Johnson, who knocked off Russ Feingold in Wisconsin but whose success was largely driven by his personal wealth, and Steve Chabot of Ohio, who rebranded himself early on as a Tea Partyer in order to reclaim a seat he first won in 1994.

So far, the Tea Party zealots haven't forced most of these TINOs and non-Tea Republicans to take the purity test, as they did with Mike Castle in Delaware, to disastrous effect.
—Richard Kim, "Tea Party Takeaways," The Nation, November 22, 2010

Said Chicago activist Gee: "A lot of us now are thinking we should be incremental in our approach. For example, I'm pro-life but I'm ready to back a candidate who isn't, provided they are a staunch fiscal conservative."

But Gee acknowledged some Tea Partiers might then dismiss him as a TINO — Tea In Name Only.
—Mitch Potter, "Tea Party: The audacity of nope," The Toronto Star, April 16, 2010

Earliest Citation:
I'll LMAO if Brown and all the TINO's (Tea-bagger in name only) fail in this election. REAL Tea-baggers should be supporting Joe Kennedy.
—comment, "Kn@ppster: Scott Brown is the measure of how far the Tea Party movement's standards have fallen," Independent Political Report, January 14, 2010

This term is an acronym based on the phrase Tea (or Tea Party or Tea Partier or Teabagger) in name only.

Related Words: