Will the Tea Party Take the Senate? 8 Races to Watch
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Toomey got an assist from Americans for Prosperity as well; he keynoted the banquet, heavily populated with local AFP activists, at the group's 2009 RightOnline conference -- the same conference at which another former Club for Growth president, Stephen Moore, spoke. Moore is now in the employ of Rupert Murdoch as a member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board. Toomey has also enjoyed the support of DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund to the tune of $228,000, including independent expenditures.
Silver gives Toomey a 92-percent chance of taking Arlen Specter's seat away from the Dems, even though the race remains a tossup.
Alaska: Joe Miller v. Scott McAdams v. Lisa Murkowski. This one's a real wild card, but Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight sees a likely Republican win for Tea Partier Joe Miller, giving the GOP only a 5-percent chance of losing the seat. But it may take weeks for the score to be settled, due to a write-in campaign for the now-independent Lisa Murkowski, the sitting senator who was upended in her primary by the insurgent Miller, who secured the nomination with a flood of cash from Tea Party Express.
In recent weeks, Miller's campaign has been plagued with trouble; most notably, Miller's security detail handcuffed a reporter who asked the candidate an unfriendly question. The reporter asked why Miller failed to disclose, as reported by AP, that he was "nearly fired for using government computers in a failed effort to oust the state GOP chairman in 2008," according to a former borough mayor in Fairbanks, where Miller worked as a government attorney.
Miller enjoys the support of Sarah Palin (who has been on the warpath against local media for their apparent unfriendliness to Miller) in something of a proxy war against Murkowski, with whom Palin has had testy relations for years. Democrat Scott McAdams was never considered to have much of a chance in this race.
DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund has funded $253,000 in independent expenditures on Miller's behalf, according to its latest filing. Tea Party Express has poured $662,000 in independent expenditures made on Miller's behalf into the race.
For more of AlterNet's reporting on the Tea Party movement, check out our new anthology, Dangerous Brew: Exposing the Tea Party's Agenda to Take Over America, edited by Don Hazen and Adele M. Stan.
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.