As tea partyer Richard Mourdock appears set to win Indiana’s Republican Senate primary Tuesday over incumbent Richard Lugar, things are looking up for the tea party movement in the Senate.
Mourdock, currently state Treasurer, represents one of six tea party-backed candidates in Republican Senate primaries. And if several of them are able to score victories, the movement could gain great power in the Senate, The Hill
Other strong tea party candidates include Rep. Jeff Flake, who is favored to win the Arizona Senate Republican primary; Josh Mandel, the GOP nominee in Ohio; and Ted Cruz, who may be part of a runoff election in Texas.
The leading tea partyers currently in the Senate are the chamber’s Tea Party Caucus founders Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah. DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed Flake, Mandel, and Cruz.
“In the middle of a campaign season that’s been dominated by talk of [the] presidential race, there has been a group of independent conservative candidates that is gradually building momentum and gaining support,” Matt Hoskins, a spokesman for the Fund, told The Hill. “We could have another election with an injection of the new blood of tea party conservatives in the Senate.”
Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of RedState.com, believes that the tea party will have serious influence in the next Senate. “I don’t think they’ll have a majority of the conference, but they will have enough representation to give [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the Democrats a serious headache,” he told The Hill.
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