Rough night for the Tea Party Express

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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When the blame game begins over why Republicans lost several Senate seats they probably should have won, expect the Tea Party Express to receive its fair share.

The California-based PAC earlier this year pulled off remarkable feats — and made a name for themselves in the process— by helping Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Alaska’s Joe Miller and Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell win their primaries.

But on Tuesday night, both Angle and O’Donnell lost their races and, as of press time, Miller was trailing write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski in his election. A central argument made during the campaign about both Angle and O’Donnell was that they were considerably less electable in a general election than their primary opponents.

A representative for the Tea Party Express says the organization has no regrets. Despite the losses in Nevada and Delaware, spokesman Levi Russell said, the elections are still “a victory for the Tea Party movement.”

“We’re smiling tonight,” Russell said by phone early Wednesday morning. “Losing Nevada is disappointing because it is such an important race and it was held as symbolic. But when we take a step back and look at what actually happened, there’s no question we completely changed the course of Washington politics.”

He continued: “Overall, in the broader picture this is a night that is a victory for the Tea Party movement because one of our top opponents since this thing began was Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who we fired tonight.”

If Republicans win in the still undecided races in Colorado and Alaska, Republicans will hold 48 seats in the Senate. So it’s hard not to think that had the Tea Party Express not helped Angle and O’Donnell, the GOP would’ve come closer to that majority.

Yet Russell also suggested that as the Monday morning quarterbacking begins about the Nevada and Delaware races, establishment GOPers deserve some blame too.

“There were a lot of people within the Republican establishment who outright went ahead and bashed the Republican nominee…So any of the blame game that starts right now is, I think, a major mistake,” he said.

And Russell also said Angle did her best against a powerful opponent.

“Harry Reid ran a very effective campaign, outspent her really in significant numbers,” he said. “I don’t think there is really any candidate that could’ve gone through his $25 million assault and come out on top or come out unscathed.”