Candidates favored by the Tea Party movement did not fare well on primary night, but they had an effect — sometimes hard to decipher — on several races.
The most prominent of the Tea-favored candidates was Republican gubernatorial hopeful Debra Medina. Considering she was polling in the single digits just three months ago, she put up strong numbers — but not strong enough to get her out of last place in the three-way race.
As it turns out, there will be no runoff in the GOP primary at all. Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry won outright.
In fact, Republican incumbents had a strong night across the board, with a few notable exceptions. One that might encourage the Tea Party crowd is Longview Republican state Rep. Tommy Merritt's loss to David Simpson, a Tea Party draftee. Merritt didn't offer a simple explanation for the loss, but pointed to his opponent's supporters as a clue: "I've never seen these people before. They're not the Chamber people. They're not the normal contributors to the community.
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The problem is that the "infiltration" strategy, wherein the Tea Parties would infiltrate and take over the GOP doesn't work. There will be no real reform from within the legacy political parties.