(CNN) – Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus told a local Chamber of Commerce group last week that the candidates backed by the Tea Party and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may be to blame for the Republican Party's failure to take back control of the Senate in last week's midterm elections.
"The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware," Bachus said, according to the Shelby County Reporter. "Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate."
Bachus was speaking at the monthly luncheon meeting of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce just one day after Republicans won sweeping gains in the U.S. House, but fell short of taking back the Senate from Democratic control.
But on Monday, a Bachus spokesman seemed to walk back the Alabama Republican's comments.
"Congressman Bachus, like other political observers, said that seats in states like Delaware and Nevada could have been won by stronger candidates and that's a lesson going forward," said Bachus spokesman Tim Johnson.
"As the article noted, he was extremely complimentary of the Tea Party movement and Governor Palin in crediting them with the great turnout of conservatives that led to many of the successes on Tuesday," Johnson said.
A staffer for Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC, defended Palin on Twitter on Monday, though she declined to mention Bachus by name.
"Is it Palin's fault for Rossi not winning his Senate bid? Or Raese, Fiorina, McMahon, Buck, & Angle (who she didn't endorse in the primary)?" SarahPAC's Rebecca Mansour asked, adding, "Sarah Palin didn't cost the GOP the Senate. We were nowhere near winning control of the Senate. Deal with it Beltway GOP."
In his remarks, Bachus noted the success that many Tea Party-backed candidates had in House races, but said Senate candidates "didn't do well at all."
Tea Party candidates across the country often faced resistance from their party establishments, who feared that the political newcomers might not fare well against their Democratic opponents.
A CNN analysis found that 11 out of 21 House candidates affiliated with the Tea Party movement were elected on Tuesday. Three races involving candidates who have the support of the Tea Party are still undecided. Five out of nine Tea Party-backed Senate candidates won their seats, with just one race – Alaska's race between Tea Party favorite Joe Miller and GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski – still undecided. The Democrat in that race, Scott McAdams, conceded last week.
- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon and CNN Ticker Producer Alex Mooney contributed to this report
Updated 6:57 p.m.