Patty Murray Says Tea Party Growth Bigger Problem for GOP Than Dems

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The primary victory Tuesday by Texas Republican Ted Cruz dealt a big blow to the establishment, gave a boost of energy to the Tea Party movement, and underscored the power that Sarah Palin still wields within the base of her party.

It did not make the Texas Senate race competitive, though, which Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray suggested at a news briefing in Washington, D.C., this morning.

"We're monitoring Texas as we are with all our states," the Washington senator said when asked whether she thought Cruz's victory might put the race into play.

But the Cruz win, Murray said, could present a problem for his own party.

"The bigger issue there is that [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell is now going to have, potentially, a much more Tea Party-oriented caucus and we have all seen the damage that has done," Murray said. "I think it's more of their problem than ours."

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Murray expressed optimism at the briefing about the Democrats' chances of maintaining control of the Senate, which they hold by a four-seat majority. Although she refused to put any odds on the party's chances of keeping the lead, Murray reiterated her enthusiasm about the candidates in competitive races such as Nevada, Massachusetts, Virginia and Wisconsin, and highlighted Democrats' strong fundraising to date.

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