In the 2010 election, Tea Party candidates appeared on the general election ballot under the “Tea Party” label, for federal or state office, in Florida, Nevada, and New Jersey. Even though there were 17 Tea Party nominees in races with both a Democrat and a Republican also in the race, there is no instance at which the Tea Party nominee seems to have altered the outcome of the winner.
It is not necessarily true that every voter who voted for a Tea Party nominee would have voted for a Republican, if the Tea Party nominee had not been on the ballot. But assuming that it is true that every vote for a Tea Party nominee meant a lost vote for a Republican, nevertheless, no election outcome changed. In all the races with a Tea Party nominee, one of the major party nominees polled an absolute majority of all the votes cast in that race anyway. The only exception is the Florida U.S. House race, 12th district. But even there, the Republican nominee won, although with only a plurality.
The ballot-listed Tea Party had four candidates for U.S. House (three in Florida, and one in New Jersey), one for U.S. Senate (in Nevada), and 15 for state office (all in Florida). Three of these races had only one major party nominee. The most impressive showing by a ballot-listed Tea Party nominee in a race with two major party opponents was in Florida’s 12th U.S. House district, where Randy Wilkinson polled 10.71%. The 12th district is centered on Polk County, in the middle of the state. The 12th district has been represented by Republicans ever since it was created in 2001.