WASHINGTON (AP) - A leading Republican Party figure says tea party-backed congressional candidates who win elections Tuesday will consider themselves part of the GOP when they come to Washington.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour noted in a nationally broadcast interview that candidates such as Senate hopeful Rand Paul in Kentucky ran under the Republican banner, and had started out as Republicans.
Interviewed with Democratic Party chairman Tim Kaine on NBC's "Today" show, Barbour said that if tea party-backed candidates had run as independents, "that would have been Tim Kaine's fondest dream," because it would have divided the conservative vote.
Kaine said he's optimistic Democrats can keep both the House and Senate, but acknowledged the House is "an uphill battle."