The success of Tea Party-backed candidates in the 2010 general election was almost complete but perhaps not nearly as staggering as once thought. Two high-profile gaffes with Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle may have cost the Republicans control of the Senate, according to the Washington Post. These two seats could have given the Republicans a 50-50 split in the Senate.
Fox News has a list of Tea Party candidates who ran in the 2010 midterm election. In all, the list numbers nearly 100 for those running for House of Representative seats. Many of these Tea Party candidates were already members of the House when they became affiliated with the Tea Party.
Candidates like Angle and O’Donnell were the exception to the Tea Party and not the norm. Here’s a profile of four Tea Party-backed representatives who won on Nov. 2 with little political experience.
Joe Heck won the race to become Nevada’s 3rd District Representative to Washington. Heck is a Colonel in the United States Army Reserves and has only been elected to public office once before as a Nevada state senator, according to his campaign’s website. Heck is a licensed medical doctor and has served in leadership positions in the medical field.
Chip Cravaack’s run to the Michigan 1st District was the stuff of legends. A retired Navy Captain in the Reserves, he has no previous political experience, according to his campaign website. The Northwest Airlines pilot defeated the longest-serving member of the House from Minnesota. His opponent, Jim Oberstar, had been elected 18 times to the House, in a report made by television station KTTC.
Justin Amash is only 30 years old and a freshman member of Michigan’s House of Representatives. He was just elected as one of the youngest members of Congress from Michigan’s 3rd District on Nov. 2. Amash defeated Pat Miles for a seat after Vern Ehlers retired, according to station WWMT.
Dan Benishek is a surgeon from Michigan’s 1st District who decided to run after Bart Stupak retired, according to Congressional Quarterly. This is the first public office Benishek has campaigned for and was subsequently victorious.
When you consider two major Tea Party victories in Rand Paul and Marco Rubio for the Senate, both men had name recognition on their side. Paul is an eye doctor but his father ran for president in 2008. Rubio has been in politics since 2000, when he was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives.
Men like Heck, Cravaack, Amash, and Benishek are the exception to Tea Party candidates, and not the norm. Many Tea Party “faithful” were already members of the GOP and Congress when they won Tuesday night’s elections.
Perhaps the Tea Party won’t be the outspoken change that they claim to be. We’ll see if any of these four men can have an influence on Washington insiders.
Sargent, Greg, “Did Tea Party cost GOP 50-50 Senate?”, Washington Post.
Fox News, “Tea Party Candidates of the 2010 Midterm Election”, FoxNews.com.
Heck4Nevada.com “About Dr. Joe Heck”.
ChipCravaack.com “Chip Cravaack for Congress”.
KTTC.com, “Cravaack: From political unknown to hot commodity”.
Justin Amash for Congress, “About Justin”, AmashforCongress.com.
News Channel 3, “Amash wins 3rd Congressional District”, WWMT.com.
“Dan Benishek”, DanBenishekForCongress.com.
Shuppy, Annie, “112th Congress: Dan Benishek, R-Mich. (1st District)”, CQPolitics.com.