Sunday, January 24, 2010

Did tea party stir Brown's victory?

To hear some leading Democrats talk, Scott Brown’s campaign was fueled by the burgeoning tea party movement. “This is not how democracy works in Massachusetts,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) thundered days before Tuesday’s special election. “Scott Brown needs to speak up and get his out-of-state tea party supporters under control.” In a fundraising e-mail, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the former head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, blasted Brown as “a far-right tea-bagger.” But while the national tea party crusade is wearing Brown’s smashing victory as a badge of honor, even some of its top leaders acknowledge their loosely organized efforts were not the decisive factor in his Senate victory. It’s true that countless members of tea party groups from across the Northeast infused Brown’s campaign with energy, cash and boots on the ground in the final weeks. But leaders told POLITICO that taking credit for the win would ignore the two most central factors that determined the outcome of the race: an angry electorate fed up with Big Government and a hard-charging underdog candidate with a keen populist more

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