GOP senators are treading carefully with tea party

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Associated Press

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 12:06 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twice burned, Republicans are treading carefully around tea party groups as they pursue a Senate majority that slipped through their fingers in 2010 and 2012.

While incumbents work to ward off or repel challenges from the right, a Republican tempest already is flaring in Georgia, where GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is stepping down. Party officials also are looking apprehensively toward Iowa, where Sen. Tom Harkin's decision to retire opens up a seat long in Democratic hands.

In all, Republicans must gain six seats in 2014 to win a majority in the Senate, and can ill afford the sort of upheaval that led to unexpected defeats in Nevada, Colorado and Delaware in 2010, and in Missouri and Indiana last year.

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