From National Journal Hotline:
The Tea Party movement shook up the Congressional campaign landscape in 2010, electing a slew of unconventional candidates, pushing Republican candidates rightward, all while upsetting a few establishment favorites in the process.
But the next month could prove to be even more consequential for the movement, with major Senate primaries coming up, pitting conservative favorites against candidates backed by the GOP establishment. Already Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is looking like the underdog against Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the state’s May 8 primary. Meanwhile, three other insurgent conservatives are looking to pull off upsets by winning their party’s nomination in Texas, Utah, and Nebraska.
If the conservative favorites pull off upsets in these races, the tea party could have more influence than they did two years ago, since the GOP nominees in these conservative-minded states would be favored to win the general election. In 2010, Tea Party favorites Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Ken Buck all won primaries but faced trouble with a general electorate in the swing states they were running in.
But if Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, fends off a persistent primary challenger, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst asserts his organizational advantages, and Attorney General Jon Bruning can prevail despite outside groups spending money on behalf of his opponent, there will have been many missed opportunities for Tea Party activists.