(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday the tea party and conservative Republicans are basically one in the same.
As establishment Republican candidates try to fend off a series of tea party challengers in Tuesday's midterm primaries, Boehner sought to quell the apparent divide between the two factions in his caucus.
"I think the tea party has brought great energy to our political process," the Ohio congressman said when asked about Tuesday's contests.
"You get in these primary elections – they are hard-fought battles and sometimes – listen, there is not that much, not that big a difference between what you call the tea party and your average conservative Republican," he said, pointing to the GOP's near-unanimous opposition to Obamacare, tax increases and an overbearing federal government.
Boehner's assurance comes after the 12-term Republican lawmaker easily defeated two tea party-backed candidates in his Ohio district earlier this month.
Across the country, six states hold primaries on Tuesday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces tea party challenger. He's expected to cruise to re-nomination for a sixth term.
Still, many Republican lawmakers might not have such an easy path to November.
Eight-term Rep. Mike Simpson in Idaho faces a serious primary challenge. And an open Senate seat in Georgia has a slew of conservatives scrambling Tuesday for the GOP nomination.