Conservative activists say a victory by Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Republican primary Tuesday would be a significant step toward a Tea Party takeover of the Senate GOP agenda.
Mourdock’s anticipated win over Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) would be a huge boost to the Tea Party movement, which earlier this year was said to be losing steam and viability.
Mourdock is one of a half-dozen Tea Party-allied candidates in Republican primaries who could change the balance of power among Senate Republicans.
Rep. Jeff Flake, who is favored to win the Arizona Senate Republican primary; Josh Mandel, the GOP nominee in Ohio; and Ted Cruz, who could be headed for a runoff election in Texas, are other conservatives who are in decent position to triumph in November.
They would give more influence to the conservative faction of the conference, which includes Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah), founding members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.
DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed Flake, Mandel and Cruz.
“In the middle of a campaign season that’s been dominated by talk of [the] presidential race, there has been a group of independent conservative candidates that is gradually building momentum and gaining support,” said Matt Hoskins, spokesman for the Senate Conservatives Fund. “We could have another election with an injection of the new blood of Tea Party conservatives in the Senate.”
Erick Erickson, editor in chief of RedState.com, an influential conservative website, says if Tea Party Republicans don’t take over the Senate GOP conference, they will gain enough members to change the agenda.
NOTE: Richard Mourdock has beaten Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary. - Reggie