Rogue GOP candidates enjoy limited success in Senate races

The crop of rogue Republicans who snagged their party's nomination over establishment candidates enjoyed limited success in Tuesday's Senate races.

In races where the GOP nominee had unseated an incumbent Republican or a heavily-recruited candidate, the party lost three races, appears to be trailing — for now — in two, and won two.

The mixed result for this crop of candidates, many of whom are allied with the Tea Party movement, could shape just how influential these new, anti-establishment Republicans will be in the next Congress.

Republican candidates Sharron Angle (Nev.), Christine O'Donnell (Del.) and Linda McMahon (Conn.) lost their Senate contests after having beaten highly-touted GOP recruits in primaries.

The same fate might befall two other Republicans, Ken Buck (Colo.) and Joe Miller (Alaska), when all is said and done. With 87 percent of results in as of this posting, Buck trails Sen. Michael Bennet (D) by about 5,500 votes in Colorado. And write-in ballots in Alaska might boost Sen. Lisa Murkowski to victory over Miller in the three-way Senate race.

Two candidates who beat the establishment candidates in their primaries won in their reliably red states. Mike Lee (R) ran away with victory in Utah, where he defeated Sen. Bob Bennett for the GOP nomination earlier this year. And Rand Paul (R) became senator-elect in Kentucky, where he beat GOP Secretary of State Trey Grayson earlier this year.

Two other Republicans — Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio in Florida — won their races after forcing challengers for the GOP nomination out of the party. But both of those candidates had enjoyed support from the establishment of the party, which quickly rallied around both of them.

Paul has called for the creation of a Tea Party Caucus in the Senate, a group which Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a veritable figurehead for the movement, has said he'd be interested in joining.

But it's not clear if that group will have as many members as DeMint had hoped to collect from his work to support GOP insurgents this year, via his Senate Conservatives Fund.

Paul blamed the political strength associated with incumbency for many of the rogue Republicans' losses on Tuesday.

"I think it's an argument, still, for term limits," he said Wednesday on MSNBC. "It's very difficult to beat an incumbent."