GOP in no mood to tea party

“Tea party” candidates are drawing fire for costing the Republican Party the U.S. Senate majority.

If tea candidates Ken Buck in Colorado, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware had won, the GOP would have taken the Senate.

The Washington Post observed, “Losing, of course, does not necessarily make one a bad candidate (see: Clinton, Bill), so we need to dig a little further. … Compare [tea party candidates] to other members of their party who were running downballot.”

In Nevada, the Post reported, Angle “underperformed the GOP governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state candidates—all by more than 6 percent. She also ran six points behind the combined total of the Republican candidates in all three U.S. House districts. Looking a little further downballot, she lost by about the same amount as GOP candidates in the state treasurer and controller races.”

In no state did a “tea party candidate run significantly ahead of another statewide Republican candidate.”

While losing worse than other GOP candidates, tea partiers spent more money while doing it. Angle and her supporters spent $97 for every vote she got, according to a Post analysis. It was the most expensive congressional contest nationwide on a per-vote basis. Angle opponent Harry Reid and his backers spent $69 per vote.

After the election, Angle filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department charging the Reid campaign engaged in voter intimidation and violated campaign finance law.