Will Tea Party Dash GOP Hopes of Senate Majority?

The double-edged sword of grassroots power

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Today, seven states and the District of Columbia are holding primaries. Of particular interest to political observers are the races in Delaware and New Hampshire, where insurgent Tea Party candidates threaten to topple the GOP front-runners. In Delaware, Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell is tied with GOP-favorite Mike Castle, according to a recent survey. In New Hampshire, the Tea Party's Ovide Lamontagne is quickly catching up to Republican Kelly Ayotte. In both cases, the Tea Party candidate is expected to weaken the Republican's chances in the general election. Is the Tea Party spoiling Republicans' chance to take over the Senate?

  • O'Donnell Wouldn't Likely Win Against a Dem, writes Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post: "With O'Donnell as the nominee, the Delaware race would be, at best, a toss up. Again, there's little reliable general election polling but O'Donnell's personal financial troubles coupled with her inability to raise significant sums make it hard to imagine her winning in the Democratic-friendly Delaware. A defeat in Delaware would force Republicans to run the table in ten states -- Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington State and Wisconsin -- to win the majority. Possible? Yes. Probable? Absolutely not. And that's why Delaware matters so much."
  • But Castle Certainly Would, reports ABC News: "Rep. Mike Castle is considered a slam dunk to capture Joe Biden's old Senate seat. Castle is a pro-abortion rights, pro-gun control Republican who often works with Democrats. Those traits have helped make him the most popular Republican in a state that leans heavily Democratic; Castle has twice been elected governor and was elected as Delaware's sole representative in the House nine times."
  • An O'Donnell Win Could Kill GOP Senate Hopes, writes statistics-wonk Nate Silver at The New York Times: "If Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Lamontange were both to win their primaries, however, the Republican chances of a Senate takeover would fall to just 16 percent, according to the model. Conversely, if Mr. Castle and Ms. Ayotte were to win, Republicans chances would rise to 30 percent. Thus, Republican prospects of claiming the Senate could be nearly halved if both the insurgent candidates were to prevail."
  • This Is Driving a Wedge in the GOP, writes Peter Wallsten and Devlin Barrett at The Wall Street Journal: "Her candidacy has divided the tea party movement, with officials from the group FreedomWorks declining Monday to endorse her. 'We stayed out of that race because we are not convinced that Christine O'Donnell can win,' FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe told reporters."
  • This Is All Very Damaging to Castle, writes Allahpundit at Hot Air: " I wonder if the core argument in favor of Castle — electability — really applies anymore. Are O’Donnell supporters going to turn out for the RINO in November if he wins tomorrow? Isn’t the whole point of DeMint 'true conservatism' that in a contest between a real Democrat and a fake Republican, it’s better for conservatism long-term for the Democrat to win? In which case, why turn out?"
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