Tea Party makes one final push

November 4th, 2010

Tea bags adorn the hat of Tea Party Express supporter Kiss Anderson of California, who was attending a rally to kick off the Tea Party Express bus tour on Oct. 18 in Reno, Nev. (AP)

Tea Party-backed candidates for the House and Senate will be making their final push before Tuesday’s elections in attempt to win seats.

Many analysts are expecting the Tea Party-backed candidates to make significant gains in both the House and Senate, which has caused a stir in both Republican and Democratic parties.

According to an Oct. 15 analysis by The Associated Press, 70 Tea Party-backed candidates are on November ballots.

The Tea Party, a movement calling for limited government and a cutback of government spending, has been spurred by numerous and large contributions from anonymous conservative groups and also by a national grassroots movement, according to The New York Times.

The movement, which is closely aligned with the Republican Party, has caused some division within. Jim Bennett, son and former campaign manager for Utah Senator Bob Bennett, saw his father lose his state’s Republican primary nomination. After his father’s loss, Bennett said, “I’ve decided the Republican Party in Utah doesn’t exist anymore – it’s now the Tea Party and the Democrats.”

In some cases, the division is even clearer, as with the current Republican Senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski lost in her state’s Republican Primary earlier this year but continued campaigning in spite of not being on the ballot and in light of Tea-party backed Joe Miller’s Republican nomination. Despite this though, polls show that Murkowski is the front-runner in the election.

These internal divisions have not dampened Republican optimism though. In a “Meet the Press” interview, Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee Chairman, stated his optimism for taking the House but stated his belief that the Senate will be more difficult to win a Republican majority.

Much of this optimism has been due in part to the large dissatisfaction that voters across the country have toward Democrats.

President Barack Obama has, according to a recent Gallup Poll, a 43 percent approval rating which was much higher in previous months.

Many first-term Democrats in the House are at risk of losing their seats. This risk stems from unpopular policies, the handling of the recession and general anger toward Washington.

In order to win the House, Republicans will need 39 wins, which would be the first time in which the Republicans had control of the House since 2006. According to an Oct. 25 Gallup Poll, Republicans are poised to take control of the House.

Republicans will need to win ten seats in the Senate in order to take control, which analysts have predicted as being less likely to occur.

In the final week before the election, a USA Today poll indicated that Republican enthusiasm toward the election was much higher than Democrat enthusiasm.

The same phenomenon occurred prior to the 1994 elections when Republicans took both the House and Senate.

Democrats have responded to this by mobilizing key blocs in their party to vote early, countering that the results from this have put them into a good position.

In either case, for the Democrats, if the Republicans win one of the chambers of Congress, or both, it would set the mood for legislative policy for the next several years.