Monday, August 6, 2012

Tea Party giving Democrats an assist in Senate races

All the news last week was about tea partier Ted Cruz winning the Republican Senate primary in Texas. You'd think these folks were on some kind of national surge given how the news media reacted.

But dig a little deeper and you'll find places where - once again - tea partiers are blowing things for Republicans and giving Democratic candidates an assist.

Take for example the race I've talked about previously - the Wisconsin Senate race. Coming into the 2012 election conventional wisdom would have told you that former Governor Tommy Thompson was a lock.

But recently the tea partiers have been weighing in. Just last week the Tea Party Express endorsed Mark Neumann and now the primary is a three-way tie. Not only that...according to the conservative web site Real Clear Politics, Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin leads them all.

But, you say, Wisconsin is a traditional blue state.

Well then, how about the Senate race in Indiana? You might remember that the tea partiers were successful in defeating incumbent Senator Lugar a while ago and went with Richard Mourdock who is running against Democrat Joe Donnelly. As a result, a group of former Lugar supporters launched the Republicans for Donnelly campaign. A recent Rasmussen poll has that race in a statistical dead heat.

Not only does this affect the outcome of control of the Senate, it means that Mitt Romney is forced to campaign with and on behalf of these tea party candidates. As Steve Benen reminds us:
For those who've forgotten, Mourdock has positioned himself as one of the more statewide candidates in the country. Two weeks ago, the guy equated the successful rescue of the American automotive industry with slavery. On health care, Mourdock has said he's entirely comfortable with employers denying coverage to employees with cancer in order to "keep their health care costs down." On entitlements, he supports deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare, both of which he considers unconstitutional.

After defeating Lugar in a GOP primary in May, Mourdock told multiple news outlets, "I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view."
I'm not so sure all that sells very well - even in a red state like Indiana.

So now its up to us to take advantage of this assist and support candidates like Tammy Baldwin and Joe Donnelly. Let's give President Obama a Senate he can work with!

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