July 8th, 2010
08:42 AM ET
11 years ago

Positions meet practicality for Tea Party candidates

(CNN) - The handful of Tea Party-backed candidates who've had successful primary wins now face an ideological dilemma - and potential backlash - as they retool for a general election campaign.

Do they stick to their far-right agenda and trust that their conservative credentials will carry them to victory in November, or do they move ahead with a more mainstream, politically expedient message?

"The old, cynical conventional wisdom in politics is that in the Republican Party, you run to the right to win the nomination and then you run to the center to win the general election, and the opposite is true for the Democratic Party," said John Avlon, author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."

"What's going to be challenging is that the Tea Partiers ran as ideological warriors attacking the establishment with a refusal to compromise on their principle. ... That makes any pragmatic move to the center a lot more complicated for them to do with any credibility," he said.

Candidates supported by the Tea Party, which is a conservative movement and not a political party, have come under fire from supporters and opponents for moves viewed as plays to the center.

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Filed under: 2010 • Tea Party movement
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. thor

    Another hatchet story by CNN to try to destroy the credibility of the tea party movement.They have never been a far -right organization with their views .That is why they are so sucessful and have members of all political spectrums.The only people that portray them to be extreme in their views are liberals and their allies in the media.

    July 8, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Jim

    Wonder if Peck would say, "the question is whether Barbara Boxer or Obama will stick to their far-left agenda..." Probably not...

    July 8, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Liz the First

    These nutburgers are trying to hide their radical agendas so they can attract more than just the fringes of their party. Let's hope the voters aren't so easily fooled. And let's hope their opponents do good research and put their crazy views out in full view, as Harry Reid is doing with his bat-crap-crazy opponent. We need sane grown-ups in congress, not a bunch of angry brats.

    July 8, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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