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Tea Party Wins Could Cost Republican Party

June 6, 2012, 6:12 PM by Peggy Moyer

Tea Party Wins Could Cost Republican Party

Tea Party candidates unseated a handful of Republican incumbents Tuesday night.

While this is the democratic process in motion, some fear the early division among the party could leave Republicans vulnerable in November.

Republicans incumbents Gene Abdallah, Tom Nelson and Val Rausch are three Republican lawmakers who lost in the primary to Tea Party candidates. A leader among the state's Tea Party says it means voters want to see change.

"We had a great victory in South Dakota for the people of South Dakota," Tea Party supporter Allen Unruh said.

The state's Republicans are not united in celebration though.  The former chairman of the state's Republican party says while negative campaigning proved effective for Tea Party candidates, it could be a hard sell for November's general election.

"The more hardened partisan guy won and now when you have to go before more independent voters and Democrats, if you have a more extreme candidate, you might not win the election. So you won the primary. You won the battle, but you didn't win the war," former South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Joel Rosenthal said.

When it comes to legislative seats in Pierre, Rosenthal worries a divided Republican party could be an opportunity for Democrats.

"I'm fearful that as a partisan Republican that the other team is going to make hay out of this a little bit. They are going to appeal to the broader voter," Rosenthal said.

"I'm sure there are going to be sour grapes with some of them. But as a rule, our goal is to be all on the same page," Unruh said.

Rosenthal hopes to see all Republicans on the same page heading into November, but believes a fair debate is needed among candidates were each side has a chance to defend themselves and their positions.

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