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WASHINGTON — In the past four weeks, "Tea Party" supporters and other conservative insurgents have pushed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist out of the Republican Party, knocked Utah Sen. Bob Bennett off the GOP primary ballot and overridden Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pick for Kentucky's Republican Senate nominee.
So what's next for the anti-tax Tea Partiers and others who are shaking up the GOP?
"Vegas, baby," crowed Mike Connolly of Club for Growth, a limited-government group.
Connolly wasn't kidding: On Wednesday, the Club for Growth announced that its political action committee is supporting Sharron Angle, in Nevada's crowded Senate Republican primary race. She also is endorsed by the Tea Party Express, which is hosting a fundraiser for her today. Connolly said Angle, a former state legislator, is the candidate best positioned to beat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "We're going all in."
The Republican Party's anti-establishment wing is now looking for new targets after a month in which it has proven its muscle. After besting veteran incumbents in Florida and Utah, Tea Party supporters helped Rand Paul become Kentucky's GOP Senate nominee Tuesday over Trey Grayson, the favorite of McConnell, the state's senior senator.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose Senate Conservatives Fund backed Paul, is playing favorites in two more Senate primaries. In California, he's backing state Sen. Chuck DeVore over former congressman Tom Campbell and former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina. In Colorado, DeMint has endorsed a county district attorney, Ken Buck, over former lieutenant governor Jane Norton.
DeMint and other conservatives also are eyeing Connecticut, where both parties are picking Senate nominees at conventions this weekend. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is trying to explain statements that suggested he served in Vietnam, which he did not do.
"Connecticut could be a possibility," DeMint said. The Senate race will be a topic of discussion this weekend, said Adam Brandon, a spokesman for FreedomWorks, a think tank headed by former House majority leader Dick Armey that's provided some help to Tea Party groups.
Leaders of the conservative effort claimed credit for another primary upset, even though the victim was Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. He lost his party's nomination Tuesday to Rep. Joe Sestak.
"We were overjoyed watching Specter," said Brandon, whose FreedomWorks group was among those that have tried since 2004 to defeat Specter. "We worked very, very hard to create the climate where he was forced out."