Will Tea Party Label Hurt in Midterm Elections?

The Tea Party in Colorado lifted another candidate to the forefront -- gubernatorial runner Dan Maes. The former businessman beat Rep. Scott McInnis, despite charges of plagiarism, fines for campaign finance violations and comments that he would fire thousands of state employees.

The Tea Party's support "was absolutely vital. There's no question," said Maes' communications director Nate Strauch. "When he got into it he was virtually unknown. ... They essentially put Dan on their backs and gave him that push and momentum that he needed to reach out to a broader group of voters."

Unlike the Republican Party, Tea Party supporters stringently require candidates to support the ideals of limited government, low taxes and personal responsibility, Strauch said.

"The fact that the Tea Party is requiring that of candidates whereas maybe the Republican establishment has overlooked some of that -- the fact that the Tea Party is requiring that the candidates meet those standards, stick to their guns, I think is a big boon in the general election," he said.

Tea Party Strength Tested in Primaries

Here is a look at some of the top Tea Party candidates and their prospects in the November midterms:

Rand Paul: His honeymoon period had barely begun when the libertarian-leaning GOP Senate candidate found himself caught in the middle of a slew of controversies. First, it was his statement to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow questioning whether the government could enforce anti-discrimination laws in restaurants. He later issued a statement saying he did not support repealing the Civil Rights Act.

Most recently, a woman alleging to be Paul's former swim teammate at Baylor University told GQ magazine that he and another student had essentially kidnapped her, tried to get her to smoke marijuana from a bong and, when she refused, took her to a creek, blindfolded her and told her to bow down and worship Aqua Buddha. The woman later told the Washington Post that she wasn't forced, but the two men, including Paul, were messing with her. Paul told Fox News he "never was involved with kidnapping, and "with forcibly drugging people."

Paul is so far in a neck-and-neck race with his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, according to the most recent polls. Polls showed Paul as having a slight edge over Conway in May, but since then, the margin between the two has narrowed.

Sharron Angle: When the Nevada assembly member was elected for the Republican Senate seat against Reid, Republicans feared her extreme views on subjects such as Social Security would alienate her from the state's voters. The position was a well sought out one, seen nationally by Republicans as a chance to unseat the Senate majority leader. Less than four months away from the elections, those fears are increasingly growing.

Angle has steered clear of the media, except for some conservative outlets. Reid's campaign has seized on comments she made saying that people would resort to "Second Amendment remedies." She also chimed in with another Tea Party proponent, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., that Congress approving state aid was a way to direct taxpayer money into Democrats' coffers.

While Reid has yet to gain a wide margin, most polls show him as having a slight advantage over Angle.

Mike Lee: Utah's GOP Senate candidate may have a smoother sailing in November compared to his counterparts, and he could be the Tea Party's biggest success story in November.

Sen. Bob Bennett, the conservative state's incumbent, was ousted, thanks in part to grassroots momentum from the Tea Party. But it was the national groups that helped fund Lee's campaign through the final days. Freedomworks PAC and the Tea Party Express poured money into the lawyer's campaign, and he also earned endorsements from Senate heavyweights such as Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11383822. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11383822. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11383822. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11383822. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11383822. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11383822.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...