I was pretty interested to see over the weekend that the South Carolina Republican Party, at the behest of the 'Tea Party' crowd, plans to file a lawsuit to close its primaries.
At least in Texas a closed primary would really hurt the prospects of the Tea Party associated candidate. Among Republicans in that race Rick Perry leads with 43% to 27% for Kay Bailey Hutchison and just 18% for Medina. But among the Democrats and independents planning to vote in the open primary Medina is in first with 39% to 29% for Hutchison and 25% for Perry.
It's true those folks aren't as conservative as the Republicans planning to vote in the primary. 58% of the Democrats/independents identify themselves as such compared to 82% of the Republicans. But the 'Tea Party' movement is as much anti-establishment as it is ideological and those independents are considerably more likely to support a candidate who doesn't fit the usual mold.
The South Carolina 'Tea Party' folks aren't necessarily representative of their movement's overall sentiment on these issues- other chapters have pushed for open primaries and I have little doubt the lack of them will hurt Rand Paul's prospects in Kentucky. Perhaps this just underscores the fact that there isn't really any united 'Tea Party' platform or agenda, just an assortment of conservative leaning groups using that moniker that may or may not really have the same goals.