After a series of humbling defeats in the 2012 elections, the conservative activists better known as the Tea Party are going back to the drawing board in their attempts to build a Republican majority in the Senate.
But despite blowing up to five winnable Senate races over the past two election cycles by nominating extreme right-wing candidates — Ken Buck in Colorado, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and Todd Akin in Missouri — the Tea Party is not ready to give up its strategy of attacking moderate (but electable) Republicans.
As Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips recently told the Wall Street Journal, “If we choose someone who runs a content-free campaign and is left of center, at least within the Republican Party, we will get our butts kicked.”
With that warning in mind, several high-profile Republicans should be wary of primary challenges similar to the ones that felled Bob Bennett in 2010 and Richard Lugar in 2012. Here are five Republican senators who are likely to face serious Tea Party opposition in the 2014 midterms: