Coons: Tea Party Helping Dems Hold The Senate

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who trounced Christine O’Donnell in a landslide in 2010, told TPM that by continuing to nominate hard-right candidates, Republicans are boosting Democrats’ hopes of keeping the Senate majority.

“I think voters have shown over and over that whenever either party nominates people who are well outside the boundaries of the mainstream consensus of American politics, ultimately they’re not successful in the general election, Coons told TPM in the Capitol Thursday. “And I think the outcome of the primary in Indiana may well continue to prove that pattern. For the people of Indiana to lose the service of Sen. Lugar, who has for so long been such a strong contributor on foreign policy, I think, will prove to be a real loss for them because I think this makes it likely that Congressman Donnelly will be the winner.”

If not for tea party darling O’Donnell’s primary victory in 2010, Coons may not be in the Senate — he was otherwise set to face moderate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who was well-positioned to defeat him.

This month, Indiana GOP voters unseated longtime Sen. Dick Lugar in favor of State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, giving Democrats a chance to win an otherwise solidly Republican seat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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