Kaine says Tea Party will help Dems win seats

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim Kaine said Wednesday that the Tea Party movement will help Democrats win seats in 2010.

Kaine said Doug Hoffman’s performance in the New York special election, Marco Rubio’s ascendance in Florida and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s win over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) show how GOP nominees in 2010 will come from the right.

“What we see around the United States now is right-wing candidates knocking off moderate Republican officeholders and giving us an opportunity to win the races,” Kaine said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That is giving us an opportunity in Texas, it’s giving us an opportunity in Florida; we won that race in upstate New York because the Tea Party candidate chased out the institutional Republican candidate.”

One example not mentioned by Kaine was the Illinois primary. On that day, conservative Patrick Hughes was unable to take down Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), but conservative state Sen. Randy Hultgren defeated the more mainstream GOP candidate, Ethan Hastert, in a House primary.

Kaine noted that, when he was trying to reclaim the Virginia state Senate in 2007, a similar thing happened, with hard-right state Senate candidates beating more centrist lawmakers.

“Republican candidates on the right knocked off moderate Republican senators, and that opened up seats for us to win,” Kaine said.

Kaine is set to brief reporters on Democrats' 2010 midterm election strategy at a 12:30 p.m. lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

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