In November 2010, the Republican Party regained control of the House of Representatives with the support of the Tea Party movement across the country. This conservative, anti-establishment, and loosely organized group shook up Washington with its small government, free market rhetoric. Because of this movement, the Republicans were able to have a net gain of 63 seats in the House. Eighty-four Republicans in total were elected in 2010. Supporters and skeptics of the Tea Party knew that holding on to many of these seats would be difficult in 2012 due to redistricting efforts by Democrats in many states as well as with 2012 being a Presidential election year. Furthermore, a different set of voters tend to turn out in Presidential elections than the ones who vote in off-year Congressional elections. Low information or casual voters participate in Presidential elections, while voters who have a more rabid or passionate desire to vote tend to vote in off-year Congressional races. Those voters believe that they have the most to lose if their Congressional candidate does not win. So, whatever happened to the freshman class of the 112th Congress?
Of the 84 Republicans who were elected in 2010, 12 of them were defeated in either the primaries or in the general election of 2012. They were:
—Ben Quayle (AZ-3) who lost to fellow 2010 elected Republican David Schweikert in the Republican primary.
–Pending a recount, Allen West (FL-22)
—David Rivera (FL-25)
—Joe Walsh (IL-8)
—Robert Dold (IL-10)
—Bobby Schilling (IL-17)
—Chip Cravaack (MN-8)
—Frank Guinta (NH-1)
—Charles Bass (NH-2)
—Nan Hayworth (NY-19)
—Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25)
—Quico Canseco (TX-23)
For the most part, these candidates were Tea Party supported and endorsed in 2010 and 2012. Do these defeats mean that the Tea Party movement is waning? Hardly. For example, some of the defeated can attribute their loses to redistricting (Quayle and all three Illinois defeated Congressmen) while another loss can be attributed to a self-destructing candidate whose campaign was mired by improprieties (Rivera). However, it is likely that the Tea Party movementwill have to work harder in 2014 to maintain its influence in the Republican Party and in the political discourse. If not, their movement will go the way of the Populists, Progressives, and Reform Party supporters, who were willing to challenge the status quo and failed in doing so.
What are your opinions of the Tea Party movement? Do you believe they will have a lasting impact within the political discourse?
For more information about the Tea Party movement, visit Tea Party Patriots.