Many grass-roots activists want candidates to sign pledges to, say, undo health-care reform. Will such pledges tie lawmakers' hands later, or improve accountability?
A near-majority of incumbents and candidates have sworn, vowed, or pledged either that they won't raise taxes or that they won't reduce Social Security or Medicare. Sometimes both.
Grass-roots groups, mostly on the right, insist that House and Senate candidates in Election 2010 make specific pledges, before giving their thumbs' up. Spending cuts and repeal of the federal health-care law are often on the pledge list.
The tea party movement has evolved from a scattered insurgency into a sophisticated, organized effort. Its energy and enthusiasm about the midterm elections is helping Republicans.
Congress has a vast to-do list before midterm elections, including spending bills and a $30 billion package to help small businesses. But for now, the Bush tax cuts are the top issue.
The 'tea party' movement coalesces around fiscal responsibility and limited federal government, not bans on abortion or gay marriage. It's an agenda that some say will attract more people to the Republican Party, though it may leave social conservatives wandering in the wilderness.
In his first big votes this week for a $15 billion jobs bill, Sen. Scott Brown stunned some conservative supporters by siding with Democrats.
Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth is challenging Sen. John McCain in Arizona's GOP primary – and some state Republicans are calling the contest 'payback' for McCain's poor showing in the 2008 presidential race and his maverick voting record.
In the Martha Coakley vs. Scott Brown face off for the Massachusetts Senate seat, Republican Brown has come from behind in a campaign focused on fiscal responsibility. That could be a template for the GOP in this year's midterm elections.
The equivalent of six health-care lobbyists for every member of Congress are registered for this year's biggest political battle.