The Tea Party Defeat That Nobody Noticed

It’s not news when a candidate who’s expected to win an election goes on and wins it. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was promoted from GOP conference vice chair to chair, in a closed door vote of incoming members. She defeated Rep. Tom Price, the former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. This was sort of lost in a newsy week about Paula Broadwell and Benghazi and the end of the world starting in Israel.

But it was a minor loss of Republican insurgents. Price was backed, very publicly, by outgoing RSC chair Jim Jordan and by some guy named “Paul Ryan.” FreedomWorks backed him, too. But just as happened in late 2010, when incoming members failed to dislodge some committee chairs, the insurgents lost.

“Two years ago, Price would have won,” said Rep. Steve LaTourette, a retiring class of ‘94 Republican from Ohio. “And it wasn’t a huge margin this time. But there was a sense that we need to have the face of a woman in some role in our party. And at least a majority of the conference thought that there needed to be a softer tone.”