On July 14, the Tea Party submitted 59,400 signatures on a petition to qualify itself as a political party in Michigan. If at least 38,024 signatures are valid, the party will then be ballot-qualified and will nominate candidates by convention. See this story. Most reporters suspect that the group that collected the signatures has nothing to do with the tea party movement, and that the resources for the petition are from individuals and groups who generally support the Democratic Party.
Just having the Tea Party qualified means little, if the party doesn’t nominate candidates. In 2004 groups linked to the Democratic Party qualified two parties in Colorado, the Pro Life Party and the Gun Owners Rights Party. However, neither party never actually nominated any candidates, and the two parties went off the Colorado ballot for failing to meet either the vote test or the registration test. Thanks to Jason Miller for this news.