Tea Partiers Find Campaigning Tougher Than Protesting
Movement must choose between the faithful, the electable
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2010 7:14 AM CDT
Losing tea party candidate Debra Medina, Republican candidate for Texas Governor, talks to the media outside a polling location March 2, 2010 in Spring, Texas.   (AP Photo/Steve Campbell)

(Newser) – As this year's GOP primaries turn many Tea Partiers from protesters into candidates, the campaign trail is giving the populist movement a sobering lesson in political realities. In many districts with vulnerable Democratic incumbents, the GOP primary field is overcrowded with inexperienced candidates who are struggling to raise money, and Tea Party voters face tough choices between the more conservative candidate and the more electable candidate.

Some pollsters say the glutted field of primary challengers is good news for Democrats, especially if losing Tea Party candidates go forward to run as independents in the general election. "We have to be willing to take the 80% conservative over the 100% conservative," tea party honcho Dick Armey tells the Wall Street Journal, "especially when we know that the 80% conservative stands the best chance of beating the 100% liberal."