In Alabama, the tide turns against the tea party, for now
November 6, 2013, 9:50 AM
Some pundits are viewing the setback as a blow to tea-party groups. Byrne was backed by mainstreain Republican groups like the Chamber of Commerce who were pushing for a candidate with broader appeal.
The tea-party wing has become increasingly unpopular in public polls and many traditional Republicans blame the group for causing a government shutdown in Washington that dropped the party’s national reputation to new historical lows. Cruz, the fiery senator from Texas, was one of the tea-party-supported ringleaders of the shutdown.
Yet Young still racked up substantial votes even though he was sharply outspent and had far less political experience than Byrne. Such a close vote makes it hard to draw firm conclusions about whether the tea-party movement is losing influence among conservative voters.
Byrne, for his part, downplayed his differences with Young, noting in interviews his consistent conservative record. He faces off against a Democratic opponent on Dec. 17, though he is expected to win.
- Jeffry Bartash
Follow Jeffry on Twitter @jbartash
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