After playing kingmaker in the 2010 election cycle, the tea party movement is having a less prominent role in 2012. But its support or opposition could swing some key races and even determine whether Republicans win control of the Senate. Here are six US Senate contests where the tea party could make a difference.
Challenger Matt Bevin lags 22 points behind Sen. Mitch McConnell among Kentucky voters ahead of the GOP primary, but he's cut the gap in half. Enter FreedomWorks, with as much as $500,000 to be used for Bevin.
House Republicans say Election 2012 validated their tea party-backed revolution two years earlier. But two moves Monday suggest that House leaders are turning away from the movement.
With negotiations still appearing stalled, a growing chorus on the left and right has been suggesting that a so-called "cliff dive" wouldn't be so bad. Better than cutting a bad deal, anyway.
Pennsylvania Republicans hope against hope that Mitt Romney, who made a late play for their state, can pull off an upset win there. But they acknowledge it's hard to get the math to add up.