Election roundup: GOP incumbents fend off Tea Party challengers

The "establishment" survived another round of Tea Party primary challenges — but not before moving to the right

Published May 21, 2014 12:55PM (EDT)

Mitch McConnell                                              (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)
Mitch McConnell (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

The establishment wing of the Republican Party survived a handful of challenges from the Tea Party extreme on Tuesday night, as more experienced, more polished — but often no less ideologically extreme — candidates relied on the support of the business community to spend their opponents into oblivion.

In Kentucky, for example, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell handily defeated Matt Bevin, a Tea Party-backed businessman challenger, winning with more than 60 percent of the vote.

McConnell made easy work of dispatching Bevin, tearing the businessman apart for allegedly supporting the TARP bailouts as well as associating himself with a pro-cockfighting rally. McConnell is largely seen as the chief architect of the GOP Senate caucus' stance of all-out obstruction in the Obama era.

In Georgia, Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue (the two relative moderates in the race) both won enough of the vote to face one another again in a runoff election in July.

The two winners defeated challenges from Rep. Phil Gingrey and Rep. Paul Broun, among others. Gingrey had previously described Todd Akin's infamous comments that women could not become pregnant through rape as "partly right," while Broun has described evolution as a lie from the "pit of hell."

For their part, Perdue has swiftly walked back a hint that he'd be willing to raise taxes, while Kingston has argued that children who receive school lunches should be forced to do custodial work.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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