Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will the 'Tea Party' Take over Congress?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will the 'Tea Party' Take over Congress?

Article excerpt

The tea party movement is clearly having major impact on the midterm elections - putting a significant number of more conventional Republicans as well as Democrats into a cold sweat as they look over their shoulders at tea party-backed candidates with a real possibility of winning.

Could the "Tea Party" take over Congress?

Not hardly. First, there is no such thing as the Tea Party. It's a fascinating gathering of libertarians, conservatives, and others just plain fed up with business as usual in Washington, and it has some prominent figureheads - Fox News broadcasters and political pot- stirrers Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, who appeared together in Anchorage Saturday.

But come November, will there be a House Speaker or Senate Majority Leader with a "TP" after his or her name rather than a "D" or an "R"?

Definitely not. And yet, and yet...

The tea party movement is clearly having major impact on the midterm elections - putting a significant number of more conventional Republicans as well as Democrats into a cold sweat as they look over their shoulders at tea party-backed candidates with a real possibility of winning.

In fact, they already are. Sharron Angle in Nevada has Senate Majority Harry Reid scrambling for his political life. In a three- way race with tea party input, Senator Bob Bennett of Utah lost his Republican primary bid for a fourth term. Rand Paul beat establishment candidate Trey Grayson in the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky. And Sarah Palin-backed Joe Miller ousted incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's Republican primary last month.

Delaware holds its Republican primary election this Tuesday. There, US Rep. Mike Castle - once expected to be a shoo-in for elevation to the US Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden - is in a tough fight with Christine O'Donnell, who has the blessing of Palin and other tea partyers.

If it's a problem for both parties, Democrats see it as an opportunity.

"These are not your run-of-the-mill Republicans we're talking about here," a Democratic organizer working in a state with a contested Senate race told The Hill. …

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