This year is proving to be a successful one for Tea Party candidates. They have successfully defeated many establishment liberal Republicans in high-profile Congressional and Senatorial Republican primary races around the country. This happened despite the establishment Republican leadership pouring money into primaries backing the more liberal candidates. The most stunning upset yet took place on September 14 in Delaware where Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, who has never served in political office, defeated National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) backed and nine-term liberal Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary.
Last month, unknown Tea Party candidate Joe Miller beat incumbent liberal Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Alaskan Republican Senate primary. Tea Party candidate Ken Buck beat NRSC-backed establishment candidate and former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton in the Republican Senate primary in Colorado. In June, Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle beat establishment-backed candidate Sue Lowden in Nevada’s Republican Senate primary. Tea Party candidate Mike Lee beat liberal Republican incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah. In May, Tea Party favorite Rand Paul beat liberal Republican Trey Grayson in the Kentucky Republican Senate primary. Taxpayer champion Pat Toomey easily won the Republican primary in Pennsylvania, after liberal Republican Arlen Specter realized he would lose the primary and switched parties. In April, liberal Republican Charlie Crist dropped out of the Republican Party and announced he would be running as an Independent for the Senate in Florida, realizing he could not beat the far more conservative candidate Marco Rubio.
A major reason for these victories is Sarah Palin’s willingness to buck the Republican Party establishment and endorse these candidates. Almost every candidate who has been endorsed by Sarah Palin has won their primary election. Another influential voice has is Sen. Jim DeMint, ranked by the American Conservative Union as the most conservative Senator in the Senate. Palin and DeMint’s support for O’Donnell no doubt put her over the top. DeMint also endorsed Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey against the NRSC and Republican establishment which had endorsed the more liberal Republican candidates. Thirdly, much credit is due to the Tea Party Express, whose supporters have poured thousands of dollars into several of these races.