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Tea Party Victories
A Stunning Upset
The ranks of Tea Party members grew in Congress throughout 2010. The movement's first major victory of the year occurred in January in liberal Massachusetts when, in a stunning upset, Republican Scott Brown, a former member of the state senate, won a special election in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat. (Kennedy died in 2009.) Brown beat his opponent, state Attorney General and Democrat Martha Coakley, by a wide margin. His victory marked the end of the Democrats' "super" majority in the Senate and raised questions about the viability of the Democratic Party. Brown's election also emphasized the rise of the Tea Party, a new political body that represents itself as antigovernment. Though Scott Brown ran on the Republican ticket and distanced himself from the Tea Party throughout his campaign, Tea Partiers, including Sarah Palin, the most high-profile member of the party, embraced him and his victory.
Other notable Tea Party additions to Congress following the midterm elections included Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mark Rubio of Florida. Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, a conservative-and controversial-social activist and ardent Tea Partier, ran for the House of Representatives on the Republican ticket after beating high-profile political veteran Mike Castle in the primaries. She lost in the general election, however, to Democrat Christopher Coons. Sharron Angle, another controversial Tea Partier, lost her bid to unseat Harry Reid.
For more information on the Tea Party and the U.S. Government: