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With Rand Paul’s announcement now in the history books, and Ted Cruz also in the pool, the ‘Tea Party Primary’ has begun. In a few more short days, Marco Rubio will also announce his 2016 intentions which will add another presidential candidate to the list of those swept into office during the Tea Party wave of 2010.

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Report from Bloomberg:

One of the best sub-plots to the 2016 presidential race will be the Republican party battle between Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Both seen as conservatives just outside the mainstream of the party, Paul and Cruz will compete for support from the same voter demographic during the GOP primary, meaning that only one of these men will likely have a realistic shot at challenging establishment candidates like Jeb Bush. Splitting a voting block could leave both candidates vulnerable to their challengers, so these ideological allies have already begun trying to distance themselves from one another.

“We kind of come from the same wing of the party,” Paul told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on the day that Cruz announced his presidential bid, “and if you look at our voting records you’ll find that we’re very very similar. I guess what makes us different is probably our approach as to how we would make the party bigger.”

In order to distinguish himself from Cruz, Paul has tried to portray himself as the candidate who can breathe new life into the party, arguing that “people will also have to make a decision: which is the Republican that can not only excite the base, but can also bring new people into the party.”

I’m calling in the “Tea Party Primary,” though I’m sure I’m not the first to coin that phrase. Paul, Cruz, and Rubio ran as torch-bearers for the movement and they each have their unique qualities. However, only one of them can emerge and advance to the next round. The article doesn’t mention Rubio but I’m putting him in the same class.

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