Five years ago today, the first organized "Tea Party" protests against taxes and big government occurred in dozens of cities across the United States. Here's a look at the top five highlights since then:
1. Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts
Scott Brown scored an upset victory in the 2010 special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's former seat. Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley with nearly 52 percent of the vote in a traditionally very liberal state. Brown was defeated in his run for re-election in 2012. The Tea Party was largely credited for Brown's initial victory.
2. 2010 House of Representatives takeover
Republicans surged to electoral victory in 2010, recapturing the House of Representatives. Republicans gained 63 seats in this election, which was the largest seat change since the 1940s. More than thirty Tea Party-supported candidates for the House of Representatives won their election.
3. Ted Cruz defeats David Dewhurst in Texas Senate race
Dubbed by the Washington Post as the "biggest upset of 2012," Cruz won victory handily over Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the Senate Republican primary election. (As Texas is so heavily Republican, victory in the Republican primary essentially assures victory in the general election.) Cruz was endorsed by a variety of Tea Party affiliated groups and officials.
4. The elections of Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee to the Senate in 2010
Tea Party-supported Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio surged to surprise Senate victories in 2010, and have continued to make waves in the Senate since. Sens. Lee and Rubio both assisted during Rand Paul's epic filibuster against drones in March 2013.
5. The rise of Rep. Michele Bachmann
Although Michele Bachmannn was elected to the House of Representatives prior to the official beginning of the Tea Party in 2007, she quickly made a name for herself as the movement's "queen." Bachmann ran for president in 2012 and will be retiring from the House of Representatives following the end of her term this year.
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