2014 midterm races to test Tea Party power to last

The 2014 primary election season that kicks off March 4 may serve as a test of the Tea Party’s ability to shape the Republican Party.

The movement that became a potent political force in the 2010 elections and helped Republicans retake control of the House is at war with the Republican establishment and taking on GOP incumbents in a handful of key races.

All but one of six Tea Party challenges to Senate Republican incumbents this year are in states where a primary victory is tantamount to a general election victory. In these heavily Republican states – in theory – a Tea Party candidate should have the best opportunity for victory because primaries tend to see lower turnout races populated by the party’s base.

“If they (Tea Party candidates) don’t do well, if they can’t do it in red states against incumbents, then how effective are they really?” said Jennifer Duffy, a non-partisan election analyst for The Cook Political Report. “I think this is going to be a pretty decisive cycle in terms of that question.”

Detroit Free Press