GOP Senators Fret That Tea Party Will Undercut Republican Candidates

Friday, 27 May 2011 01:45 PM

By Dan Weil

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Although the tea party movement played a major role in Republicans’ smashing election victories last year, GOP senators are worried that tea party candidates could keep the their party from gaining control of the White House and Senate next year, The Hill reports.

Since the surprise defeat of Republican candidate Jane Corwin in a special New York congressional election Tuesday, much of the political class has focused on the role of Medicare in her loss.

But some of the Republican senators are more worried about the harm tea party candidate Jack Davis caused Corwin. He took 8 percent of the vote, handing victory to Democrat Kathy Hochul.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, a member of the Tea Party Caucus, says that if the Republican presidential nominee is too moderate, a tea party candidate will likely run against President Barack Obama too.

So several GOP senators are worried that third-party candidates will draw support from tea partyers at the expense of Republican candidates. “I think it’s a very real possibility,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Oh, BTW, in case you forgot: Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate after she lost the GOP nomination to tea party-backed Republican candidate Joe Miller.

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