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.”

… … … … …

Demo­crat­ic Polit­ic­al In­siders Jill Alp­er, John An­za­lone, Brad Ban­non, Dave Beat­tie, Andy Bech­hoe­fer, Cor­nell Belch­er, Matt Ben­nett, Mitchell W. Ber­ger, Mike Ber­man, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brath­waite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brew­er, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bon­nie Camp­bell, Bill Car­rick, Guy Cecil, Mar­tin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Co­hen, Jerry Craw­ford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Daniel­son, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott De­Fife, Jim De­mers, Tad Dev­ine, Dav­id Di Mar­tino, Debbie Din­gell, Mon­ica Dix­on, Patrick Dor­ton, Pat Du­jakovich, An­ita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve El­men­d­orf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Fer­son, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Fo­ley, Jef­frey For­bes, Vin­cent Fril­lici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Mi­chael Gonza­lez, Joe Grand­mais­on, Anna Green­berg, Stan Green­berg, Pat Griffin, Larry Griso­lano, Mi­chael Gron­stal, Lisa Grove, Mar­cia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Har­poot­li­an, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hat­t­away, Mike Henry, Kar­en Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Har­old Ickes, Mar­cus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jard­ing, Jona­thon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kauf­man, Lisa Koun­toupes, Celinda Lake, Dav­id Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Le­hane, Jeff Link, Bob Malo­ney, Jim Man­ley, Steve Marchand, Jim Mar­gol­is, Paul Maslin, Keith Ma­son, Susan Mc­Cue, Ger­ald McEntee, Steve McMa­hon, Tom McMa­hon, Phil Mc­Namara, Dav­id Med­ina, Mi­chael Mee­han, Mark Mell­man, John Mer­rigan, Mi­chael Mon­roe, Steve Murphy, Janet Na­pol­it­ano, Dav­id Nas­sar, Mar­cia Nich­ols, John Nor­ris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Don­nell, Jef­frey Peck, De­bora Pig­na­telli, Tony Podesta, Je­frey Pol­lock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Re­iley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ric­chetti, Will Robin­son, Steve Rosenth­al, Dav­id Rudd, Ry­an Rudom­in­er, John Ry­an, Mi­chael Sar­geant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shu­maker, Sean Sin­clair, Phil Sing­er, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thor­nell, Jef­frey Tram­mell, Ed Tur­l­ing­ton, Rick Wien­er, James Wil­li­ams, JoDee Win­ter­hof, Bri­an Wolff, Jon Young­dahl, and Jim Zo­gby.

GOP Polit­ic­al In­siders Dan Al­len, Stan An­der­son, Gary An­dres, Saul­i­us (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bain­wol, Bri­an Baker, Gary Bauer, Dav­id Beck­with, Paul Ben­necke, Clark Ben­son, Wayne Ber­man, Bri­an Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Bla­lock, Car­mine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bon­jean, Jeff Bu­ley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Carde­n­as, Danny Car­roll, Alex Cas­tel­lanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cic­coni, Jonath­an Col­le­gio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Cor­man, Scott Cot­ting­ton, Jay Cran­ford, Greg Crist, Di­ane Crookham-John­son, Fer­gus Cul­len, Tom Dav­is, Mike Den­nehy, Ken Duber­stein, Debi Durham, Sara Fa­gen, Frank Fahren­kopf, John Fee­hery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Ben­jamin Gins­berg, Dav­id Gir­ard-di­Carlo, Bill Green­er, Jonath­an Grella, Lanny Grif­fith, Janet Mullins Gris­som, Doug Gross, Todd Har­ris, Steve Hart, Chris­toph­er Healy, Ral­ph Hell­mann, Chris Hen­ick, Terry Holt, Dav­id Ian­nel­li, Ed Ingle, Jim In­no­cenzi, Clark Judge, Dav­id Keat­ing, Dav­id Ken­sing­er, Bob Kjel­lander, Ed Kut­ler, Chris La­Civ­ita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lom­bardo, Kev­in Mad­den, Joel Maiola, Gary Malo­ney, Dav­id Mar­in, Mary Matal­in, Dan Mat­toon, Bri­an Mc­Cor­mack, Mark McKin­non, Kyle Mc­Slar­row, Ken Mehl­man, Jim Mer­rill, Lisa Cam­ooso Miller, Tim Mor­ris­on, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nel­son, Neil Ne­w­house, Dav­id Nor­cross, Zi­ad Ojakli, Jack Oliv­er, Todd Olsen, Kev­in O’Neill, Con­nie Par­toy­an, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, Dav­id Rehr, Tom Reyn­olds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, Dav­id Roeder­er, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, An­drew Shore, Kev­in Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steep­er, Bob Steven­son, Terry Sul­li­van, Dav­id Tamasi, Eric Tan­en­blatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Tim­mons, War­ren Tomp­kins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Don­gen, Jan van Lo­huizen, Stew­art Ver­dery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee West­ine, Dave Win­ston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Mat­thew Zablud.

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