IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Steve Kornacki's latest article: Yes, the Tea Party can lose

It can seem like every Tuesday that features a Republican primary ends with the same headline: Big win for the Tea Party!

In some instances, the effect of this has been to saddle the GOP with a weak general election candidate, one whose far-right associations put the party at risk of losing a race it would otherwise be well-positioned to win. In many more instances, it hasn’t mattered from an electoral standpoint; there’s no such thing as too conservative in most Republican-friendly states and districts. But in all instances, it’s reinforced the fear that’s lived in every Republican on Capitol Hill the past few years: If I break with the right, I could be the next primary season victim.

Last night, though, offered a reminder that the Tea Party doesn’t always get its way – at least not entirely.

In the night’s highest-profile contest, one of the right’s top targets this year, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, pulled out a three-point victory a Senate primary.