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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, October 21, 2013

GOP Primaries: Real Threat or Paper Tiger?

Are primaries a real threat to GOP House members?  Perspectives differ.

Alex Isenstadt at Politico:
Nearly a dozen House Republican incumbents already have credible challengers, and conservative groups expect that number to grow in the coming months as races develop and deadlines approach to qualify for the ballot. The coming fiscal battles — there’s now a Jan. 15 deadline for funding the government and a Feb. 7 deadline to raise the debt ceiling — could add fuel to the primary fires.
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While Democratic incumbents will have a few primaries of their own in 2014, so far nearly all of the intraparty fights are on the Republican side. Many of the races pit tea party-style insurgents against establishment-minded members who are close allies of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) or powerful committee chairmen. In other instances, the establishment — furious over the tea party’s role in the shutdown and debt fights — is turning the tables, finding business-friendly candidates to try to take out conservative incumbents.
Cam Joseph at The Hill:
Despite widespread fear of Tea Party challenges, few Republican congressmen have drawn conservative primary foes.
Only Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) appears to be in real danger of losing his primary to a more conservative opponent at this point, though Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) have challengers and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) may soon get one.

Of the 10 House Republicans identified by the conservative Club for Growth on its website primarymycongressman.com, only Simpson has drawn a challenger so far.

Though other challengers may arise, the fears of many House Republicans have yet to materialize that breaking with conservative orthodoxy could cost them their seats.

“It really looks like a paper tiger to me,” said Cook Political Report House race editor David Wasserman. “Primaries are a coercive force, but they're not a widespread job threat.”