Pelosi: Tea Party primary victories 'very positive' for Democrats

By Russell Berman and Jay Heflin -The Hill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cheered the Tea Party victories in Tuesday’s Republican primaries, saying the results were “very positive” for Democrats.

“What happened for Democrats last night was very positive,” Pelosi told reporters after addressing the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at the Capitol Wednesday morning. “We were very pleased with the candidates that we drew, and they offer a great contrast in the election as to the clarity of the choice.”

Pelosi’s comments are in line with the Democratic mood following the upset win of Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell over Rep. Mike Castle, a long-serving moderate, in the Delaware GOP primary for Senate. Democrats and independent political analysts believe O’Donnell’s win gives the party a much better shot at keeping the seat, long held by Vice President Joe Biden, and, by extension, the Senate majority.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also said on Wednesday that the Tea Party’s primary successes point to a deep division in the GOP, as Tea Party candidates have run to the right of establishment Republicans, and the party establishment in some cases — including Delaware — has actively campaigned against Tea Party candidates.

“The bottom line is they’re a deeply divided party,” Hoyer told reporters, adding that the division “is going to hurt them.”

Hoyer said Democrats are ready for the reelection battle ahead.

“Our members are up. Our members are confident,” he said. “Our members are engaged in the issues.”

On the contentious issue of tax cuts and the legislative schedule, the Speaker said no decision had been made about whether to hold a vote before the midterm elections on extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. The caucus began discussions on the expiring tax cuts in a closed-door meeting Tuesday night, but reached no consensus.

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