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Tea Party candidates cause US election upsets

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 15 September 2010

The far-right Tea Party movement in America has scored some significant wins over more mainstream Republican rivals to get the chance to contest November's mid-term elections.


Supporters of Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell after she won the Repiublican nomination for the Congress mid-term elections in Delaware (credit:Reuters)

One of the movement's biggest scalps came in Delaware, where the long-serving Republican Representative Michael Castle - widely recognised as one of his party's last moderates in Congress - lost out to Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell.

Celebrating her victory, Ms O'Donnell, a little-known marketing consultant, told her jubilant supporters "don't ever underestimate the power of we, the people", adding "the cause is restoring America."

Although Ms O'Donnell has been endorsed by both the National Rifle Association and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's Senate Campaign committee said it would not fund Ms O'Donnell's campaign if she won.

She will be standing for the seat vacated by Joe Biden when he became vice-president two years ago.

In New York, Tea Party-backed candidate Carl Paladino easily won the city's Republican nomination in the race to be governor, while in New Hampshire, another Sarah Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidate was running a close second in the count.

The success of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement is widely believed to be reflective of widespread voter anger against President Obama and the Washington establishment.

Yesterday's Delaware upset has heartened the Democrats, as outsted candidate Michael Castle was expected to win easily in November. A Democrat win here could allow the party to retain control of the Senate where the Republicans are hoping to reclaim control in November by taking 10 seats from the Democrats.

Democrat strategists are hoping that the shift to the right among Republican candidates will alienate moderates and energise their own supporters in crucial Senate races in Nevada, Kentucky and Colorado.

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