The tea party remains "alive and well" despite losses this year to incumbent and establishment Republican candidates, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
GOP Sen. Pat Roberts defeated a tea party-backed challenger in Tuesday's primary in Kansas. Earlier this year, the tea party saw losses in races in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina and Mississippi.
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"The tea party movement is alive and well," Cain said Wednesday. "You cannot turn this ship overnight. But, I think the tea party movement, in terms of its impact on incumbent candidates, as well as some of the tea party-backed candidates winning, I think it is still very strong."
Cain said he never expected tea party candidates to "take Congress by storm," and pointed to longevity and low voter turnout as advantages for congressional incumbents.
"If a senator has been there for one, two, maybe three terms, he has or she has shaken a lot of hands, kissed a lot of babies, given a lot of speeches. And, with low turnout, a lot of people are going to vote on familiarity with the candidate," he said.
Cain said Republicans will have to present a "very clear, sharpened message" to win in November's midterms. He predicted the fall elections would see "some of the most vicious, nasty, false attacks on Republicans that we've ever seen in history, because the Democrats have nothing to run on."
"The Republican candidates are going to have to be sharper on their A-game in order to counter the nastiness that I expect coming from Democrats all over the country," he said.
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