My must read of the day "Tea Party Hopes Battered by Lamar Alexander Win," in NBC News:
Any hopes the tea party had of knocking off an incumbent Republican senator this midterm cycle were shattered Thursday when Sen. Lamar Alexander won the Tennessee GOP primary.
The Associated Press called the race for the two-term senator whose fundraising advantage helped him survive a challenge from conservative state Rep. Joe Carr.
The argument that the Tea Party is dead, failed, or whatever you want to call it is feeble minded, parochial analysis.
Yes, every Republican Senator who faced a Tea Party challenge this cycle won. The Tea Party candidates didn't do particularly well, but they all still posed a serious threat. The percentage each took should be evidence enough that they still matter. For good or bad, the Tea Party has changed the way the Republican party works, and it has made incumbents change their message. That doesn't constitute waning influence to me.