With the Republican takeover of the House, the shortlist of lawmakers on the rise in both houses of Congress flips, too. Notable is the number of younger members to watch, especially those swept into prominence by the tea party surge. Because this House freshman class - 96 strong, including 87 Republicans - is the largest since 1992, those who speak for them, or claim to, have a leg up. So do those Democrats nimble enough to engage them. Here are ten to watch.
Tea Party Caucus: What the caucus and audience lacked in size they made up for in enthusiasm and energy. New Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., fired up the crowd along with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., by preaching the gospel of deficit reduction
Despite evidence that Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner is mentally unstable, he was never declared mentally unfit by a court, so his name did not appear in the federal background-check database used by gun sellers.
Starting this Monday, the Senate welcomes 16 fresh faces to the Capitol’s marbled halls. While they won’t be sworn into office until January, these newly-elected members – three Democrats and 13 Republicans – come to Washington to tour the buildings, learn rules of decorum, and meet with their future coworkers. The new Senators come largely from open seats where both parties had a new candidate on the ticket and include a handful of tea partyers.
Pressure from tea party-backed Republican freshmen senators led Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell to reverse course: He said Monday he would back an earmark ban.
In both chambers of Congress, the postelection intrigue about leadership posts is mostly on the Republican side of the aisle, as the GOP establishment confronts the tea party insurgency.
The emergence of the tea party movement is arguably the most dynamic element of the 2010 midterm elections. Many 'tea party' candidates won the backing of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin – but also earned the disdain of the Republican establishment. In the end, which candidates with tea party support won, who lost, and what's next?
Here’s something both Democrats and the GOP establishment in Washington are going to have to come to terms with: Tea party candidates will win some elections this fall. The only question is, how many? There is already a tea party caucus in Congress, but how much bigger of a room is it going to need to hold its meetings?
So much for endorsing your opponent and bowing out gracefully. Many Republican candidates in Election 2010 are not backing the primary winner. Some are looking for ways to stay in the race.