"2015 marks a year of new beginnings for the Tea Party movement," Tea Party Express executive director Taylor Budowich said in a statement. "These new Tea Party members of Congress are brimming with ideas to make America economically stronger with opportunity for all to realize the American Dream. We are honored to present Florida Congressman Curt Clawson, the first Tea Party Express victory for the 2014 cycle, as someone committed to making Congress deliver for the American people."
Clawson was elected in a special election last year to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned after he was caught buying cocaine from a federal officer. Clawson was re-elected in November to a full term.
In July, Clawson made headlines when he mistook two U.S. government officials testifying at a House hearing as members of India's government.
"I'm familiar with your country; I love your country," Clawson said. "Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I'm willing and enthusiastic about doing so."
Clawson later apologized.
“I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball," he said.
Earlier this month, Clawson was one of 25 House Republicans who voted against John Boehner in the election for House speaker, instead casting a vote for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
"Like much of the new blood elected to Congress in recent years, Rand Paul and I share the view that Washington is too big and that protecting our Constitution is paramount," Clawson said. "How ironic that viewpoint is now considered ‘outsider,’ by some."
The tea party State of the Union response will follow the official GOP rebuttal, which will be given by freshman Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).