Never mind tea partiers in the Senate: Here come the mavericks!

Both Tea Party and maverick candidates promise to buck the GOP establishment — in their own ways. Tea Party candidates vow to stand their ground when the Republican establishment is pushing policies that conflict with their conservative philosophical principles. Maverick GOP candidates say they will buck the GOP establishment by reaching across the aisle when they deem it necessary to build consensus on various pieces of legislation.

So who will take up the maverick mantle in the 112th Congress? All signs point to Senate candidates from California, North Dakota and Illinois, should they be voted in.

In California, Republican Carly Fiorina is challenging three-term Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. Campaigning as a small-government advocate in California would be tough for any Republican. But the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive and adviser to McCain’s presidential campaign seems to be holding her own in the polls precisely because she’s promised to be an independent thinker.

Fiorina was never more upfront about her independent streak then when her campaign released an ad earlier this month titled, “Bickering.”

“When bickering ends, solutions begin,” says Fiorina in the ad.