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Tea Party Challenges Stumbling as Primaries Approach: Polls show incumbents maintaining big leads.
Pajamas Media ^ | 04/12/2014 | Bill Straub

Posted on 04/12/2014 11:02:00 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers with strong ties to the Tea Party movement have gained a toehold in the U.S. Senate but it appears they might have difficulty expanding their numbers this year.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are among those associated with the conservative, grassroots drive that has proved influential within Republican Party politics in a relatively short period of time. But a review of upcoming Senate contests reveals that more establishmentarian Senate candidates maintain an edge – at least to this point – heading into the primary season.

Conservative disaffection for the manner in which mainstream Republicans are confronting President Obama and his policies, coupled with ongoing spending issues, have resulted in a higher than usual number of challenges to GOP incumbents.

Yet, in the first showdown of the primary season, establishment Republicans won hands down, with Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, of Texas, blasting Rep. Steven Stockman (R-Texas) by more than 40 points. Cornyn is overwhelmingly favored to win a third term in the fall.

“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who faces his own Tea Party challenge this year from Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

Tea Party supporters were heartened by the results in 2010 when incumbent Republican senator Bob Bennett, of Utah, lost to movement favorite Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) at the state’s GOP convention and when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) lost the Republican primary to Joe Miller, although Murkowski recaptured her seat in a write-in campaign.

The Tea Party tasted success – though short-lived — again in 2012 when Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who was seeking a seventh term, in the GOP primary. Mourdock lost to Sen. Joe Donnelly, (D-Ind.) in the general election.

Despite some successful challenges, almost 99 percent of congressional incumbents won their primaries in 2012. History shows that since 1946 only five percent of such challenges have result in the office-holder losing his or her party’s nomination. This year 28 incumbents – 12 Republicans — are seeking reelection in the 36 Senate seats up for grabs. If the past is any guide, only one incumbent can expect to lose his or her re-nomination fight.

Of the 12 Republicans seeking re-election, seven – not counting Cornyn – are facing primary challenges. Polls show the incumbents, in most cases, maintaining substantial leads.

McConnell, who has weathered strong Tea Party criticism despite winning the endorsement of Paul, maintains a healthy lead over Bevin. A survey conducted Feb. 24-26 by Public Opinion Strategies shows McConnell gaining support over the past few months, leading Bevin 61 percent to 23 percent.

Regardless, Bevin is confident he can close the gap.

“I like where we are,” Bevin said at a recent forum sponsored by FreedomWorks. “It’s always good to be the underdog. It’s good to be the stealth player under the radar screen.”

The same situation can be found in Tennessee where Tea Party activists hoped to pick off Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). State Rep. Joe Carr mounted a challenge with the support of groups like Tea Party Nation and The Coalition for a Constitutional Senate.

While there has not been much polling in the race it appears Alexander maintains a large lead. A survey by North Star Opinion Research conducted Feb. 3-6 gave the incumbent a 45-point lead – 62 percent to 17 percent.

In Kansas, one of the nation’s most conservative states, activists continue to search for a way to dump GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, even though Heritage Action determined that he is the most conservative senator seeking re-election this cycle and is considered the upper chamber’s fourth most conservative member.

It appeared Roberts could face problems when it was revealed that he no longer actually resided in the state. A challenge was offered by Milton Wolf, a radiologist, political commentator and, interestingly, President Obama’s second cousin, making his first run for public office with the support of the Tea Party Express and the Senate Conservative Fund.

Again, polling is scarce but Public Policy Polling, an organization with Democratic ties, found Roberts ahead in a survey conducted Feb. 18-20 by 26 points – 49 percent to 23 percent. Wolf found some good news in the results – the incumbent remains below the magic 50 percent mark. The bad news is the survey found Kansas voters desire an even more conservative candidate than they appear to be getting and there is speculation that former congressman Todd Tiahrt might jump in.

To this point, Wolf retains strong Tea Party support.

“Unlike the career politicians that have buried future generations under crippling debt, Milton Wolf is a conservative game-changer that will tackle the complacency culture of D.C.,” said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. “Dr. Milton Wolf has intimate knowledge of America’s healthcare system and is the perfect person to tackle President Obama’s failed healthcare policy.”

Wolf has offered an alternative to the “Obamacare train wreck,” Kremer said, displaying “that kind of conservative leadership that has been largely absent for far too long in D.C. I am confident Dr. Wolf will join the ranks of Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul when he is elected.”

The Tea Party faces better odds in two other races.

Many political observers, including the Cook Political Report, believe conservative activists have the best opportunity for a pick-up in Mississippi, where Sen. Thad Cochran, seeking a seventh six-year term, is facing a tough re-election fight against state Sen. Chris McDonald, who is drawing support from, among other groups, the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

A recent poll by NSON Opinion Strategy, sponsored by the Tea Party Express, showed Cochran ahead 45 percent to 37 percent but McDaniel appears to be picking up steam. After being told McDaniel has support from Tea Party groups, the challenger slipped ahead, 42 percent to 41 percent.

“The battle lines are clearly drawn in this race,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks for America. “This is Cochran and his band of super lobbyists versus Chris McDaniel and the people of Mississippi.”

Kibbe criticized Cochran for 19 votes to raise the debt ceiling resulting in “over $10 trillion in debt, all to be passed on to children and grandchildren. It’s time for a new generation of representation that cares about families and small businesses in Mississippi.”

In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has served as a Tea Party punching bag for months, faces six fellow Republicans who want to take his seat.

By all reports Graham maintains a healthy lead over the pack. A Winthrop University poll shows him with support from 45 percent of those questioned. The closest challenger is State Sen. Lee Bright, who has the endorsement of the Republican Liberty Caucus and a couple local Tea Party organizations, has support from a mere nine percent. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a product of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, maintains that the race leans toward Graham.

The reason for some optimism among Tea Party activists is that Graham has to attract 50 percent of the vote in the June 10 primary or face a run-off against the second place finisher. If the other camps coalesce behind the surviving challenger, Graham could ultimately find himself involved in a tight contest.

Regardless, the Tea Party won’t leave the campaign season empty handed. Three incumbents who don’t face primary challenges – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) – attract movement support and are odds-on favorites to win re-election in November. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), appointed to his seat after Jim DeMint resigned the seat to assume the leadership of the Heritage Foundation, is solidly in the Tea Party corner and faces nominal opposition.

And there are Tea Party candidates running for seats being vacated by Republicans who chose not to seek re-election. In Georgia, where Sen. Saxby Chambliss is stepping aside, five hopefuls are vying, each one endeavoring to out-conservative the other to gain movement support.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) appears to have generated the most enthusiasm among Tea Party supporters – he carries the support of the Madison Project – but he is running tied for second, according to a poll conducted by Landmark/Rosetta Stone. The current leader is businessman David Perdue, with 21 percent, followed by Rep. Jack Kingston and Broun with 15 percent apiece.

Nebraska offers another opportunity, and confusion. In the race to replace the retiring Sen. Mike Johanns, Freedomworks originally endorsed former state treasurer Shane Osborn. But the organization changed its mind and now is getting behind Midland University President Ben Sasse, who has received support from various other Tea Party groups.

Kibbe explained his organization changed horses once Osborn aligned himself with Republican establishmentarians.

“At this point, it is clear that Shane Osborn formed allegiances with Mitch McConnell and the K Street lobbying class,” Kibbe said. “For us, that progression away from the grassroots has tipped the balance.”

Regardless, the most recent polls show Osborn leading Sasse 35 percent to 24 percent in a crowded field.

In Oklahoma, in a race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn, who announced his resignation at the end of this year, T.W. Shannon, the former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, has drawn the support of the Senate Conservatives Fund and Tea Party heavy-hitters like Sen. Lee. But the latest poll from Public Opinion Strategies, conducted March 16-17, shows him trailing Rep. James Lankford 37 percent to 28 percent.

And of course there are opportunities for Republicans – Tea Party or otherwise – to pick up seats currently held by Democrats. But there again it appears GOP candidates with establishment ties hold an advantage over those with Tea Party support. In North Carolina, for instance, Greg Brannon, a doctor and Tea Party activist, trails state Rep. Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, 23 percent to 15 percent in a Survey USA poll conducted March 27-31. The winner in that race will go on to face vulnerable Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) in the fall.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: gop; primaries; teaparty

1 posted on 04/12/2014 11:02:00 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Its no wonder as they have three powerful gangs aligned against them, the Dems The MSM and their own party elite.


2 posted on 04/12/2014 11:08:42 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: SeekAndFind
If the past is any guide …
Was it a “guide” in 2010, when the “shellacking” occurred, I wonder?
3 posted on 04/12/2014 11:10:35 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: SeekAndFind

Reads like Karl Rove PR release.
Pure Rhino propaganda.
Comrade Bill quietly HIDES the MIss senate
race in which the incumbent is getting destroyed !

Gee Even the alternative media has ben over run by the BS from this Rhino propagandist.


4 posted on 04/12/2014 11:13:04 AM PDT by ncalburt ( Amnesty-media out in full force)
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To: SeekAndFind

Well it’s up to the supposedly “fed up” conservatives in those places to show up.

We keep hearing about how sick they are of RINOs, then they need to put up or shut up.

I frankly no longer want to hear any people from those states whining about them if they keep these senators in office.


5 posted on 04/12/2014 11:18:18 AM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: ncalburt

Yeah I noticed that too. But I’m fine with it, don’t want any leftist and/or RINO/Fed-backed groups coming here targetting us and messing things up. MS will handle it if we’re left alone.


6 posted on 04/12/2014 11:23:35 AM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: SeekAndFind
“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky . . . . “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

Somehow I didn't think I could detest McConnell any more. It's pathetic he can't muster a fraction of the same zeal when it comes to opposing the current administration.

7 posted on 04/12/2014 11:34:56 AM PDT by FoxInSocks ("Hope is not a course of action." -- M. O'Neal, USMC)
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To: Don Corleone

Despite it’s popularity on this board the government shutdown was terrible strategy. Folks don’t pay politicians to shut down the government. It was a disaster when Newt did it and the same with Ted Cruz.


8 posted on 04/12/2014 11:40:12 AM PDT by Blackirish
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To: VanDeKoik

This article is intended to demoralize and motivate the tea party to give up. There’s actually good news when you see how many incumbents are under 50%. In runoff states, that’s the pathway to a tea party win.


9 posted on 04/12/2014 11:43:11 AM PDT by mongrel
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To: Blackirish

Whats the shutdown have to do with this issue?


10 posted on 04/12/2014 11:47:41 AM PDT by Rome2000
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To: Blackirish

-— It was a disaster when Newt did it and the same with Ted Cruz. -—

It’s not the “shut down” per se, its the media narrative. The Democrats could have just as easily be blamed.

Look at the hatchet job the media did on Sarah Palin.

Rather than modify our positions to mollify the media, we should stand our ground and wage war against the media.


11 posted on 04/12/2014 11:48:44 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Blackirish

Whatever they do, the media narrative will make them wrong.


12 posted on 04/12/2014 11:51:19 AM PDT by Luke21
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To: SeekAndFind

A little anxious to bury the TEA Party, aren’t we? This wasn’t going to happen over-nite, just more conservative suppression intent.

Concerned, informed voters will be there. Plus the TEA party candidates will have the full support of ignorant Democrats supports who will cross party lines to do their best to get the candidates they hate most to run against.


13 posted on 04/12/2014 11:55:08 AM PDT by Son House (The TEA Party is the (unpaid) Tax Payer Protection Agency.)
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To: SeekAndFind

This clap trap writeup has not one new nugget of information since February. It’s a rehash of what has been reported before several times by outlets that side with the GOPe.


14 posted on 04/12/2014 12:01:58 PM PDT by Hostage (ARTICLE V)
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To: SeekAndFind

“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who faces his own Tea Party challenge this year from Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

$1,000 says you’re wrong, turtle-face.


15 posted on 04/12/2014 12:29:50 PM PDT by carriage_hill (Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.)
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To: mongrel

I am hoping for some upset RINOs in the coming weeks.


16 posted on 04/12/2014 12:31:02 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Liberty or Big Government - you can't have both.)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

That’s right. The MSM is out to destroy conservatives. The thing is not to play into their hands. Don’t shut down the government. And be prepared when the MSM asks you a no win question regarding woman’s sexuality.


17 posted on 04/12/2014 12:31:15 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: Blackirish
It was a disaster when Newt did it and the same with Ted Cruz.

It only became a disaster when they backed down.

18 posted on 04/12/2014 12:32:30 PM PDT by itsahoot (Voting for a Progressive RINO is the same as voting for any other Tyrant.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Don't look at the top of the ticket, but how the TP does at the lower levels.

The TP did very well in the Texas primary at the State level.

It is very difficult to remove a seating Senator, that isn't the criteria for success.

19 posted on 04/12/2014 12:37:50 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration (Pr 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation:but sin is a reproach to any people)
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To: All

‘Seating’ should be ‘sitting’


20 posted on 04/12/2014 12:38:48 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration (Pr 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation:but sin is a reproach to any people)
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To: Blackirish

Only 17% of the government was actually shutdown, and it was the fault of Reid and Obama.


21 posted on 04/12/2014 12:40:09 PM PDT by july4thfreedomfoundation (I don't want to feel "safe." I want to feel FREE!)
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To: VanDeKoik

“Well it’s up to the supposedly “fed up” conservatives in those places to show up.
We keep hearing about how sick they are of RINOs, then they need to put up or shut up.
I frankly no longer want to hear any people from those states whining about them if they keep these senators in office.”

I think people being “Fed up” is the same thing as people being “Sick & Tired”.
The general public isn’t as activism minded as most Freepers.
They be unhappy with what’s happening in DC but they still vote for the same guy they’ve always vote for. The guy whose name they know.


22 posted on 04/12/2014 12:42:46 PM PDT by snarkybob
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To: Blackirish

“Despite it’s popularity on this board the government shutdown was terrible strategy. Folks don’t pay politicians to shut down the government. It was a disaster when Newt did it and the same with Ted Cruz.”

Agreed. The only almost bright spot is that it was not closer to the election.

It was a great piece of theater.


23 posted on 04/12/2014 12:44:41 PM PDT by snarkybob
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To: Don Corleone
The Tea Party's problems are common to political insurgencies. Their candidates often stumble because of inexperience, poor timing, and a lack of political standing and support.

Running for office is a lot harder than most people realize. Capable, credible candidates are relatively hard to recruit and tend to be establishment types who want a good chance of winning if they are to invest a year or more in time, stress their families, and lose earning capacity in running for office. That discourages a great many potential conservative candidates from running as political party insurgents.

Conversely, insurgent candidates tend to be inexperienced as candidates and officeholders, to lack strong personal finances and community standing, to start their campaign late, and to lack a core of political followers loyal to them personally. The dedication and sincerity of so many insurgent candidates and their supporters is to their credit but cannot compensate for shortcomings as candidates and the weaknesses of their campaign effort.

Not only are campaigns a team effort, but skill, experience, and contacts outweigh sincerity and raw enthusiasm. Most state and local political parties can access a cadre of experienced volunteers and political professionals who are able to plan and conduct campaigns with a high degree of expertise and a likelihood of success. Parties usually keep a cadre of political professionals on staff, while hiring many more during election years.

Foolishly, for lack of understanding, many insurgent candidates tend to scorn and distrust the experienced volunteers and political professionals who are available to them. In this manner, insurgent candidates often unwittingly sabotage their campaigns.

Finally, political campaigns are expensive and require a network of fund raisers who can tap friends, relatives, and business associates. Political party establishments are able to contribute cash and in kind resources and to mobilize political professionals and fund-raising networks to the advantage of favored candidates. Insurgent candidates rarely have a fund-raising network or ready access to reliable professional political talent.

When one looks at the details, this year's Tea Party insurgency does not have enough good candidates who are running good campaigns. Yet, if the Tea Party insurgency persists, the experience acquired this election cycle will prove invaluable.

As boxers, street fighters, and soldiers will tell you, the price of learning how to fight and win is to fight, suffer some beatings, and then come back for more so as to gradually learn how to fight. The true test of the Tea Party will not be this year's tally of wins and losses but if they come back for more in the years to come.

24 posted on 04/12/2014 12:45:29 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: VanDeKoik

Well I`ll vote Tea Party come May 6th and if Conservatives don`t win them I`ll abstain in that race come the general election.


25 posted on 04/12/2014 2:32:04 PM PDT by nomad
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To: FreeAtlanta

Vote for Paul Broun he’s the right person to put in the Senate. Michelle Nunn is a lightweight and will be easy to beat.


26 posted on 04/12/2014 3:35:19 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose o f a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: ncalburt

Here’s the thing: Tea Party folks and true Conservatives will get to the polls and vote. Most folks, who align themselves with the Republican Party, will not be nearly as enthusiastic. We’ll see.


27 posted on 04/13/2014 5:05:58 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorsed McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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To: nomad; All

Well I`ll vote Tea Party come May 6th and if Conservatives don`t win them I`ll abstain in that race come the general election.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Never tho’t I’d say this, but here goes: I would not abstain. If I lived in KY, I think I’d vote for the Democrat in the General Election.....same in South Carolina. Other states; NO. I so loathe McConnell and Graham, I’d coalesce with a Southern Democrat just to get their a**es out of Washington.


28 posted on 04/13/2014 5:14:36 AM PDT by Din Maker (Rand Paul, Rick Perry endorsed McConnell over Bevin. Neither will ever get my vote in 2016.)
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To: Din Maker

That or vote third party and raise their numbers, it`ll at least let the GOPe know where all the Conservatives went.


29 posted on 04/13/2014 12:49:02 PM PDT by nomad
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