Politico reports on several GOP senators who are up for re-election in 2012 and who are now looking over their right shoulders, worrying about a primary challenge from the Tea Party. Maine's Senator Olympia Snowe appears the most vulnerable with a whopping 63 percent percent of prospective GOP primary voters indicating they would support a more conservative candidate. Senators Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, John Ensign and Kay Bailey Hutchinson also have to watch their backs.
This threat to so-called GOP moderates -- and who would have ever thought to call Orrin Hatch a moderate!?! -- raises the specter that the Tea Party could shoot itself in the foot in these states as it did in Delaware, Colorado, and Nevada, losing Senate races that might have been easy pick-ups because they nominated Yahoos.
Democrats, too, must be mindful of the need to field candidates that are not only truly moderate but, perhaps, someone who lacks a DC resume. The economy may or may not have improved by 2012, so the value of incumbency remains to be seen. But running a moderate, thoughtful, DC-outsider as the Democratic candidates might be better than nominating a ten-term congressman.