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  • Oof    March 4 
The GOP's civil war kicks off today in Texas, and the Tea Party is poised to lose
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Furious with the GOP leadership, conservatives and Tea Party types have vowed to unseat entrenched Republican lawmakers in divisive primary campaigns across the country this year. And Tuesday, the Tea Party gets its first shot at doing just that, with Rep. Steve Stockman vying to dump Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate's second-ranking Republican.

Yet as voters head to the polls, the most intriguing question is not whether the Tea Party will win, but rather how badly it will lose. Stockman entered the race as a huge underdog, and his campaign has since been a rolling disaster. He ditched the campaign trail for a bit — he claimed he snuck off to Egypt and Russia — fended off allegations he'd been charged with a felony, and got hammered by a local Tea Party coalition for running the "laziest statewide campaign to date."

If Cornyn fails to crack 50 percent — there are a handful of other candidates in the race too, so that's not an unrealistic possibility — there will be a runoff in May. But even then, Cornyn should have no trouble coasting to a comfortable reelection, which would be an embarrassing blow to the Tea Party — on Sen. Ted Cruz's own turf, no less.

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