The 5 Most Vulnerable Senators in the 2014 Elections
The National Journal has compiled a list of the incumbent Senators who are most vulnerable in their 2014 re-election bids. Unlike previous years, the list doesn’t focus on Senators who could see a strong general election challenge but rather those who could lose their primary race to a challenger from within their own party who appeals more to the base.
Primary challenges have been every Senator’s biggest nightmare of late and over the past two elections we have seen big name incumbent Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana, Robert Bennet of Utah, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska fall to more conservative candidates. Murkowski did, however, run as a write-in candidate and managed to win the general election.
According to the National Journal, Mississippi’s Thad Cochran is the most vulnerable Senator in his primary race against State Senator Chris McDaniel. Cochran, a 76-year-old Republican, has not had a legitimate challenger in three decades but has suddenly seen major interest groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club For Growth get behind his opponent.
Like Cochran, Wyoming’s Michael Enzi has never had a competitive race but is being outraised by challenger Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney by a big margin. At the same time, Enzi does has a solid lead of Cheney as of now and has reportedly ramped up his fundraising.
South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham has a bunch of primary challengers and certainly wouldn’t lose the primary but, under South Carolina law, if a candidate fails to get 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters go head-to-head in a runoff. The conservative vote is split now but a run-off may see Graham lose his long time seat.
Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, has a serious opponent in Matt Bevin who has been self funding his campaign and recently drew the support of the Senate Conservatives Fund. If McConnell gets past Bevin, he also has a tough fight in the general election against Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The lone Democrat on the list was Hawaii’s Brian Schatz who is in a very close race with Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. Hanabusa has drawn a lot of outside support but the incumbent, as most incumbents, has maintained a solid fundraising lead.
(Image courtesy of Department of Defense)