Rendell: Tea Party candidates will be easier to beat in November elections

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Sunday that the results of his home state's special election show that the Tea Party's electoral influence is limited.

Mark Critz, a Democrat, won the election Tuesday to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.). Rendell also said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the post-election controversy with Rand Paul and his comments about the Civil Rights Act shows that the Tea Party will flail come November elections.

"The Tea Party candidates are going to be more easy to beat in the general election" than Republicans such as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, Rendell said.

He pointed out that Murtha's district had gone to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the general election but, while acknowledging that the conservative Tea Party movement had influence in GOP primaries, said "the Tea Party was not a factor at all" in Pennsylvania.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that while Paul's comments were "unfortunate," the Tea Party still represented new ideas and a fresh passion in the political arena.

"We'll take that energy," Pawlenty said. "It's still a little chaotic in some ways, but it's a good thing."

But Pawlenty noted that the shift away from a Democratic president and his policies didn't necessarily drive voters to the GOP.

"We have to address the bread-and-butter issues that people are most concerned about," he said, including jobs.

"The best advice for anyone running is to be for change," Pawlenty said, adding that incumbents suffered at the polls because of a "sense of a commitment to flawed strategies."

Rendell said that voters weren't against government spending, but just wanted "effective government" that invested in the wisest way possible.

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