Tea party-backed candidates helped and hindered Republicans, injecting enthusiasm into campaigns but losing Senate seats held by Democrats in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada that the GOP once had big hopes of capturing.
Republican leaders and strategists are muttering that the same tea party activists who elevated Speaker-to-be John Boehner and the party to power in the House simultaneously hobbled the GOP’s outside shot of running the Senate. Tea partiers largely spurned establishment candidates in the GOP primaries and helped nominate Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado.
All three lost on Tuesday.
Republicans won Senate races in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. That put them within three seats of a 50-50 split. In the case, Vice President Joe Biden would have broken the tie and allowed Democrats to retain their majority.
FULL AP STORY FOLLOWS BELOW