But how will they do in November? Will they win? Or will the Tea Party movement prove to be a boon for Democrats, after all.
- Sharron Angle, CO: Angle is polling competitively, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid leads narrowly. Reid lost the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, which may hurt him, but the NRA isn't endorsing Angle, either. Right now, Reid leads by between one and three percentage points in major polls, and he enjoys a huge cash advantage over Angle. Reid seems to have the edge.
- Marco Rubio, FL: The original Tea Party candidate, Rubio succeeded in pushing Gov. Charlie Crist out of the Republican Party at a time when Crist was expected to walk away with the election and keep this Senate seat in the GOP's hands. Most polls show Rubio leading comfortably, but a survey by Quinnipiac shows Crist ahead by seven percentage points. At the moment, Rubio has the edge.
- Rand Paul, KY: Paul defeated the candidate backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and he now leads Democratic Attorney General Mike Conway by about five percentage points in recent polls. Despite stumbling out the gate by struggling to define his stance in the Civil Rights Act, Paul retains the edge over Conway in a close race.
- Mike Lee, UT: In one of the biggest coups for fiscal conservatives, Lee replaces incumbent Sen. Robert Bennett on the Republican ballot this November after ousting him at the party convention in May, then going on to win the primary against another Tea Party favorite who helped bring down Bennett, businessman Tim Bridgewater. Utah is a safely Republican state, and Lee is all but certain to become its next senator.
- Joe Miller, AK: Democrats have suggested that Miller's stunning upset over Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski last week has put this seat within their reach. It's unclear to what degree that's true, but Miller's win has certainly made this race more competitive for Democrats than it was two weeks ago. Democratic Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams is running against Miller in November; he wasn't the first choice of Alaska Democrats, but he's their candidate now. Alaska is a difficult state to poll, but two major firms have found Miller ahead by six and eight percentage points since he won his primary, and it seems more likely than not that Miller will represent Alaska in the next Congress.
- Ken Buck, CO: Buck beat out the less-conservative Jane Norton in his primary, and he now faces incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in the general election. (Full disclosure: Bennet is the brother of Atlantic editor James Bennet.) Polling is split on this race. Rasmussen, which many see as favoring Republicans, shows Buck ahead by single digits; Public Policy Polling, a firm that works mainly for Democrats, has produced independent polling that shows Bennet ahead by three percentage points. At this point, the race is a tossup.