How did the anti-tax activists do in the primaries?

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Sept. 15 2010 5:29 PM

The Tea Party Scorecard

How did the anti-tax activists do in the primaries?

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The favorite line of Tea Party activists just so happens to be true. The turning point of their long war against the "establishment" was the nearly successful campaign of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd district. Hoffman, aided by national endorsements from Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, chased Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava out of the race at the 11th hour, as her campaign collapsed. Liberals saw it as a triumph of lunacy over electability, but it scared the D.C. committees out of endorsing their other sure-thing, best-bet establishment candidates.

As the primaries come to a close—they are over in every state except Hawaii—we can see the results of N.Y.-23. The Republican establishment has quietly encouraged its chosen candidates but occasionally been caught flat-footed by the out-of-nowhere Tea Party movement. Here's the scorecard for gubernatorial and federal races. The criteria for whether a candidate was a Tea Party outsider: an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, the Tea Party Express, or FreedomWorks, or local Tea Party groups.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

37_alabama3

ALABAMA: 1/3 Establishment picks: Robert Bentley for governor, Parker Griffith and Martha Roby for Congress Tea Party picks: Tim James, Mo Brooks, and Rick Barber Results: Almost Tea Party rout, which had more to do with the generally agreeable conservatism of the "establishment" candidates than the movement's weakness. But the movement took out Parker Griffith, a former Democrat who switched parties, demanded and got establishment support, and lost to the conservative, Brooks, who had scared him into making the switch.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_alaska

ALASKA:1/1 Establishment pick: Sen. Lisa Murkowski Tea Party pick: Joe Miller Results: Miller won. He had Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party Express, and local Tea Party groups on his side and pulled the upset.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_arizona

ARIZONA: 1/2 Establishment picks: Sen. John McCain, Jonathan Patton in Ariz.-08 Tea Party picks: J.D. Hayworth for Senate, Jesse Kelly in Ariz.-08 Results: McCain won, aided by Palin, local Tea Party groups, and the general awfulness of Hayworth; Kelly won with Palin's endorsement.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_california

CALIFORNIA: 0/1 Establishment pick: Carly Fiorina, a candidate for the Senate Tea Party pick: Chuck DeVore Results: Fiorina won, aided by her own support from conservatives like Palin and the Susan B. Anthony List.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_colorado

COLORADO: 2/2 Establishment picks: Scott McInnis for governor, Jane Norton for Senate Tea Party picks: Dan Maes and Ken Buck Results: Both of the insurgents won, although Maes has spent the month since then defying calls to quit the race for someone electable.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_conn

CONNECTICUT: 0/1 Establishment pick: Linda McMahon for Senate Tea Party pick: Peter Schiff Results: Schiff, a libertarian economist, never caught fire the way his ideological ally Rand Paul did in Kentucky.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_delaware

DELAWARE: 2/2 Establishment picks: Mike Castle for Senate, Michelle Rollins for House Tea Party picks: Christine O'Donnell for Senate, Glen Urquhart Results: Tea Partiers strategically attacked this state with a tiny Republican electorate and, as far as most people are concerned, have produced the only state where Democrats will sweep in two months.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_florida

FLORIDA: 2/3 Establishment picks: Daniel Webster in Fla.-08, Charlie Crist for Senate, and Bill McCollum for governor. Tea Party picks: Todd Young in Fla.-08, Marco Rubio for Senate, and Rick Scott for governor. Results: Only Webster, who entered the race late and locked up from people like Huckabee, outwitted the Tea Party.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_idaho

IDAHO: 1/1 Establishment pick: Vaughn Ward for Congress Tea Party pick: Raul Labrador Results: This one was a mess. The national GOP and Palin both liked Ward. Local activists liked Labrador. The Tea Party Express gave its lone Democratic endorsement to Rep. Walt Minnick, the man they wanted to defeat. But Ward stumbled in debates and lost to Labrador, who did a better job of courting the movement.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_illinois

ILLINOIS: 1/3 Establishment picks: Rep. Mark Kirk for U.S. Senate, Kirk Dillard for governor, Kathleen Parker for Ill.-10 Tea Party picks: Pat Hughes for U.S. Senate, Adam Andrzejewski for governor, Robert Dold for Ill.-10 Results: Kirk's rout and Andrewjeski's poor showing inspired a few news outlets to prematurely declare the Tea Party's political power overrated. It's clear now, however, that the movement's political organs just needed more money and experience: Illinois's February primary was too early to take advantage of.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_indiana

INDIANA: 0/2 Establishment pick: Dan Coats for U.S. Senate, Dan Burton for Congress Tea Party pick: Marlin Stutzman, multiple candidates against Burton Results: Stutzman, aided by Jim DeMint, outperformed the polls but lost a three-way race; Burton's vote collapsed, but he got more support than any one challenger. Stutzman got a happy ending: After Rep. Mark Souder was felled by a sex scandal, Sutzman won the right to run and replace him.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_iowa

IOWA: 1/2 Establishment picks: Terry Branstad for governor, Jim Gibbons for Congress Tea Party picks: Bob Vander Plaats, Brad Zaun Results: Branstad, helped by a surprising Palin endorsement that offended some of Palin's Iowa supporters, held off Vander Plaats; Zaun surprised everyone.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_kansas

KANSAS: 0/1 Establishment pick: Jerry Moran for Senate Tea Party pick: Todd Tiahrt for Senate Results: Tiahrt lost despite support from Palin and the Tea Party Express and a campaign based on his down-the-line conservatism.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_kentucky

KENTUCKY: 2/2 Establishment picks: Trey Grayson for U.S. Senate, Jeff Reetz for Ky.-3 Tea Party picks: Rand Paul, Todd Lally Results: Paul and Lally easily won; in the latter race, a wealthy restaurant owner was defeated by a commercial pilot.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_maryland

MARYLAND: 0/1 Establishment pick: Bob Ehrlich for governor Tea Party pick: Brian Murphy Results: Ehrlich easily defeated Murphy, who had jumped into the face first and gotten the faintest of second winds when Sarah Palin endorsed him.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_michigan

MICHIGAN: 2/2 Establishment picks: Mickey Switalski, Jason Allen Tea Party picks: Andrew Raczkowski, Dan Benishek Results: The Tea Party candidates entered their races long before the movement really got going and kept their support after stronger-on-paper candidates came in. Banishek triumphed by 15 votes in his primary, a reward for taking on Bart Stupak when no one else would.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_missouri

MISSOURI: 1/1 Establishment pick: Bill Stouffer for Congress Tea Party pick: Vicky Hartzler Results: Hartzler, who had retired from politics and was viewed nervously by the local GOP, upset Stouffer, a state senator.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_nevada

NEVADA: 1/1 Establishment pick: Sue Lowden Tea Party pick: Sharron Angle Results: The Tea Party benefited from Harry Reid's successful kneecapping of Lowden, his best-polling opponent, and got Angle over the finish line, where she immediately emerged as a "problematic" candidate who needed D.C. aides to bail her out.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_newhampshire

NEW HAMPSHIRE: 2/3 Establishment picks: Kelly Ayotte for Senate, Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass for House Tea Party picks: Ovide Lamontagne for Senate, multiple candidates for House Results: Chalk it up to the multiple candidate problem. guinta and Bass won, but Ayotte pulled it out in the Senate primary.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_newjersey

NEW JERSEY: 1/2 Establishment pick: Diane Gooch and Jon Runyan for Congress Tea Party pick: Anna Little and Justin Murphy Results: Little, a local mayor, narrowly defeated the self-funding newspaper publisher Gooch. Runyan, a former Philadelphia Eagle, held off Murphy by 18 points.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_newyork

NEW YORK: 1/4 Establishment picks: Rick Lazio for governor, Joe DioGuardi for Senate, and Nan Hayworth for House Tea Party picks: Doug Hoffman, Carl Paladino, David Malpass, Neil DiCarlo, and Matt Doheny Results: The big headline went to Paladino, who destroyed Lazio, but the rest of the candidates with the most Tea Party support lost. That won't matter in the Senate race, but Republicans feel more confident about their shots at two House seats having nominated their preferred candidates.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_penn

PENNSYLVANIA: 2/2 Establishment picks: Arlen Specter, Mary Beth Buchanan for Congress Tea Party picks: Pat Toomey, Keith Rothfus Results: Toomey scared Specter out of the GOP, while Rothfus helped Buchanan disprove the truism that U.S. Attorneys make good candidates.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_southcarolina

SOUTH CAROLINA: 3/3 Establishment picks: Gresham Barrett for governor, Paul Thurmond, and Rep. Bob Inglis for Congress. Tea Party picks: Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and Trey Gowdy. Results: It was a rout: The establishment lost every race, and handily. Barrett and Inglis never overcame their support for TARP.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_texas

TEXAS: 0.5/1 Establishment pick: Kay Bailey Hutchison for governor. Tea Party pick: Debra Medina. Results: Medina, a Ron Paul supporter, surged in the final month of the campaign but imploded after appearing to indicate that she had doubts about the official story of 9/11. But it wasn't a big Tea Party defeat, as Rick Perry was renominated for governor.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_utah

UTAH: 1/1 Establishment pick: Sen. Bob Bennett Tea Party pick: Mike Lee Results: Lee was one of two candidates who beat Bennett at the state convention before narrowly winning the party primary, aided by FreedomWorks and Jim DeMint.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_virginia

VIRGINIA: 0/2 Establishment picks: Robert Hurt and Scott Rigell for Congress Tea Party picks: Multiple opponents of Hurt and Rigell Results: In another election overinterpreted as a major Tea Party defeat, Hurt and Rigell overwhelmed their divided opposition.

1_123125_123054_2240596_2265816_2267586_washington

WASHINGTON: 0/2 Establishment picks: Dino Rossi for Senate, Jaime Herrera for Congress Tea Party picks: Clint Didier for Senate, David Castillo for Congress Results: The Tea Party candidates entered their races before there was any sign of Democratic trouble and were easily defeated by candidates who jumped in after the pickings looked easy.

THE RESULTS: Tea Party activists made a real go at winning 51 races. They won 24 of them.

Corrections, Sept. 15, 2010: This article misspelled the name of former Colorado gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis; former Illinois gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski; Michigan congressional candidate Dan Benishek; and New York congressional candidate Nan Hayworth. The article misidentified South Carolina congressional candidate Paul Thurmond. It listed Hayworth and Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina as a Tea Party picks when they should have been listed as establishment picks, and listed Neil DiCarlo and Trey Gowdy as establishment picks when they should have been listed as Tea Party picks.

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