Political Insiders Poll

Which Republican Senator Is Most Vulnerable to a Primary Challenge?

Peter Bell, Alex Roarty and Michael Catalini
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Peter Bell Alex Roarty and Michael Catalini
Sept. 12, 2013, 4 p.m.

Which Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or is the most vul­ner­able to a primary chal­lenge?


Lind­sey Gra­ham: 39%
Mitch Mc­Con­nell: 37%
Lamar Al­ex­an­der: 12%
Mi­chael En­zi: 9%
John Cornyn: 3%

Lind­sey Gra­ham

“Be­cause of his his­tor­ic­al lead­er­ship on is­sues like im­mig­ra­tion and a per­sona that is more prag­mat­ic than the tea party.”

“He’s taken every side of every is­sue. He’s the Sen­ate’s ver­sion of a weath­er vane in a tor­nado.”

“There are four people in the primary, and he has to get 50 per­cent or there will be a run­off. Run­offs are dan­ger­ous ter­rit­ory for an in­cum­bent.”

Mitch Mc­Con­nell

“Rand Paul beat a Mc­Con­nell can­did­ate in 2010, and I think a tea-party can­did­ate could beat the es­tab­lish­ment D.C. can­did­ate in Ken­tucky.”

“Mc­Con­nell’s lead­er­ship po­s­i­tion in a Con­gress that people hate makes him vul­ner­able. He will prob­ably have to cut some kind of deal with the pres­id­ent on the debt-lim­it in­crease, which will make him a pari­ah to the tea-party act­iv­ists who will dom­in­ate the GOP primary in Ken­tucky. And he has a wealthy primary chal­lenger.”

Lamar Al­ex­an­der

“Isn’t it stand­ing policy to run all mod­er­ates out of the GOP? While not all that mod­er­ate, isn’t Lamar next in line?”

Mi­chael En­zi

“For no oth­er reas­on than his op­pon­ent is rais­ing a lot of money.”

John Cornyn

“It is a close call as to wheth­er Texas or South Car­o­lina has more lun­at­ics in a Re­pub­lic­an primary, but Texas wins by a hair.”

Which Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or is the most vul­ner­able to a primary chal­lenge?


Lind­sey Gra­ham: 54%
Mitch Mc­Con­nell: 17%
Lamar Al­ex­an­der: 5%
Mi­chael En­zi: 21%
John Cornyn: 4%

Lind­sey Gra­ham

“South Car­o­lina is the red­dest of the red states, and Gra­ham is get­ting hit hard, but the good news for him is that all of his op­pon­ents are clowns.”

“Lind­sey is a clas­sic mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­an, and that’s a tough philo­sophy if you come from South Car­o­lina.”

“His bromance with John Mc­Cain doesn’t play well in South Car­o­lina.”

“His sup­port for Syr­ia is just one of many reas­ons why Gra­ham of­ten finds him­self out of touch with his con­stitu­en­cies.”

“Lind­sey con­fuses Meet the Press with the base.”

Mitch Mc­Con­nell

“The Ken­tucky GOP is nuts.”

“A lot of Rand Paul primary voters won’t hold their noses.”

“The tea party seethes at the thought of Mc­Con­nell be­ing in power. A le­git­im­ate chance to throw him out of of­fice would be nir­vana.”

Lamar Al­ex­an­der

“My sense is that he could just tire of the non­sense and de­cide to not be bothered by it. That would be a polit­ic­al death sen­tence.”

Mi­chael En­zi

“High-pro­file chal­lenger with cap­ab­il­ity to raise money. It’s easi­er to change out­comes in a small elec­tion.”

John Cornyn

“Lots of people like Cornyn but few love him, and be­ing in lead­er­ship doesn’t help you win a primary.”

… … … … …

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