Liberals, mainstream anchors, and moderate establishment Beltway Republicans, will all point to Christine O’Donnell tonight (presuming she loses) and argue that the Tea Party hurt the Republican Party.
Maybe Ken Buck or Sharron Angle will lose, and this will cost the GOP a Senate majority, and the official story will be that the Tea Party cost the GOP the majority. I’ve written about how this sort of math is wrong.
So, if you want to keep score of how the Tea Partiers are faring, here are the races to follow (there are probably more House candidates, so please add them in the comments).
Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Senate: Toomey is no bomb-throwing conservative, but he kind of got this ball rolling by challenging Arlen Specter in the GOP primary, thus driving Specter to the arms of the Democrats in April, 2009.
Marco Rubio, Florida Senate: Like Toomey, Rubio supposedly couldn’t win. The establishment was firmly behind then-Republican Charlie Crist. Like Specter, Crist read the polls and fled the party a year after Specter did.
Rand Paul, Kentucky Senate: Rand Paul’s primary victory in May — upsetting GOP establishment favorite (and K Street favorite) Trey Grayson — showed us that this whole Tea Party insurgency was real. Again, the establishment said he couldn’t win. Again, it would be nice to prove them wrong.
Sharron Angle, Nevada Senate: Reid could win here, and Angle’s missteps and ideology would be a factor. Moderates, media liberals, and establishment types would wave the Reid flag next time a conservative wanted a nomination.
Ken Buck, Colorado Senate: Similar to Angle, he beat ex-lobbyist Jane Norton in the primary, and is locked in a very tight election.
Mike Lee, Utah Senate: The first Tea Partier to knock off an incumbent, Mike Lee defeated Sen. Bob Bennett, and he should cruise to victory today.
Joe Miller, Alaska: The biggest upset of the year, Miller knocked off Lisa Murkowski in the primary. She’s running as a write-in, and even Democrat Scott McAdams could win. Replacing pro-choice K-Street-entangled Murkowski with conservative Miller would be a huge upgrade.
Christine O’Donnell: She’ll probably lose and get all the attention – as she has all along. If she wins, then, umm, wow.
House candidates to watch:
Trey Gowdy, S.C.-4: He knocked off Rep. Bob Inglis in the primary.
Glen Urquhart, Delaware
Anna Little, N.J.-6
Jesse Kelly, Ariz.-8
Raul Labrador, Idaho-1
Todd Young, Ind.-9
Dan Benishek, Mich.-1
Justin Amash, Mich.-3
Tim Scott, S.C.-1
James Lankford, Okla.-5
Again, I’ve probably left off some Tea Partiers who defeated establishment Republicans in the primary. Please add them in the comments.