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New GOP Establishment: Tea Party?

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ABC News — The Tea Party was born out of a hatred for the establishment. Led by flamethrowers like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Marco Rubio, Tea Partiers wanting to “shake things up” in Washington sided with conservative challengers to mainstream Republicans and sent them to Congress.

Now it might be time for the Tea Party and the establishment to share a ride.

The Tea Party’s latest victory came this week in Indiana, where the longtime moderate Sen. Dick Lugar lost a primary race to the more conservative Richard Mourdock. (Somewhere in Maine, Olympia Snowe could be seen scowling.)

On Wednesday, the establishment-bucking Mourdock stood side by side with Indiana’s governor, Mitch Daniels, a conservative so mainstream that not only did he endorse Lugar, but he’s a top-tier favorite among Republicans to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. Daniels called for unity and said that Mourdock is “right out of the heart, right out of the mainstream of our party.”

For Monica Boyer, a founder of one of the many Tea Party groups in Indiana, the moment meant it’s time for mainstream Republicans to get on board.

“We have forced their hand,” Boyer said. “Everyone has been put on notice.”

Tea Party Patriots, a national group, announced at the same time that it had raised more than $12 million in the year that ended May 31, 2011. Tea Party leaders use that figure and political successes such as Mourdock’s win to argue that they haven’t vanished, even if they aren’t draping Capitol Hill in rallies as they

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