At first, I thought the Tea Party movement would be a good thing for the Republican Party. It was destroyed in the 2008 elections: John McCain failed to motivate the conservative base to get out and vote while the Democrats gained a supermajority in the Senate. With that in mind, when I first learned of the Tea Party Movement, I was hopeful that it would motivate conservatives to become politically active and oust the Democrats from Congress. However, the Tea Party has actually helped the Democrats by supporting candidates who are hurting Republican chances ahead of the big day.
Looking at the latest projections on realclearpolitics.com, a political analysis website, Republicans stand to pick up approximately 7 Senate seats they needed to gain a majority. Assuming that the projected gains in Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Illinois hold true, the Republicans could be 3 seats away from a Senate Majority.
Tea Party candidates have potentially cost the GOP two seats come November. Although would leave Republicans one seat short, it is always possible that they could win Washington, West Virginia, or California. In Delaware, GOP backed Mike Castle lost to Tea Party candidate, Christine O’Donnell. The race in Delaware, which had previously been projected as a Republican pickup, has now drastically swung for Democrat Chris Coons. Although Castle is considered a RINO (Republican in name only), the Tea Party got greedy by helping elect a much more conservative nominee.
The other race that the Tea Party may have lost for the GOP is in Nevada. Harry Reid is one of the most unpopular Senators around, and he is running about a point ahead of gaffe-prone GOP nominee Sharron Angle. Although the GOP could win this seat, it is not as likely as it should be. Angle, running as a Christian conservative, surprisingly won the GOP nomination due to strong Tea Party support. If the Republicans were able to nominate either Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden or businessman Danny Tarkanian, Harry Reid would have had no chance of being reelected to a 5th term.
The Tea Party has thus cost the GOP any chance they had at a Senate Majority. Although Republicans will make gains in both Houses of Congress, they will end up short in the Senate, and the Tea Party, which was expected to do so much, has ultimately cost the Grand Old Party more than it has benefited it.