Pat Roberts, 2014′s Richard Lugar?
Only time will tell.
Recently the New York Times reported on the Senior Senator of Kansas, Pat Roberts, who has been in Washington for 47 years in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The article in question alleged that Senator Roberts does not live in Kansas, the Senator released a statement that did not contend that point but mentioned how he had visited every county in Kansas and during that time lived with friends and donor while paying them for the use of their homes. In other words he doesn’t live in Kansas.
Richard Lugar the recently retired Senior Senator of Indiana also lived outside of Indiana throughout his Senate career and this was reported ( by Democrats) several months out from his primary. I personally find this patrician behavior disgusting and there should be a law mandating a minimum amount of time a Senator ( or Representative) have to spend in their home states.
In any event this makes Milton Wolf’s attempt at beating Roberts that much more likely to succeed. Roberts has learned from Lugar’s mistake and has tacked Right in order to secure his final term ( during which he will tack back Left in order to secure his “legacy” as his friend Orrin Hatch has done)
Roberts is now in danger of being the Richard Lugar of 2014, the Bob Bennett of 2014. That is an old long time incumbent who should’ve retired.
To give a good summary 2014 is shaping up to be a good year to beat Incumbent Republicans in the primary.
In 2010 we only beat and replaced one Republican incumbent ( Bob Bennett) with Mike Lee. Two if you include Pat Toomey’s waltz to the nomination after scaring Arlen Specter completely out of the Party. Joe Miller in Alaska beat Lisa Murkowski, but then lost to her Write-Ins during the general. Angle, Buck, O’Donnell, Johnson, and Rubio were all candidates for Open seats or against Democrat incumbents.
In 2012 we got Ted Cruz elected in an Open Senate race, Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch were targeted, Lugar lost to a top tier candidate who then failed to win the general election, while Hatch beat a far more marginal candidate easily in his Primary.
2014 on the other hand win the best chance we’ve had since 94 to both win a GOP majority AND remake the party into a more Conservative vision.
We are currently targeting three long term incumbents who should’ve retired.
I originally thought Mike Enzi was the most likely to lose after a top of the line candidate like Liz Cheney declared against him. But Cheney’s perception of being a DC insider/ carpetbagger combined with Enzi’s continued close connections to Wyoming have made him impervious from the Right, this was cemented with Cheney’s decision to withdraw from the race last January.
Neither Roberts or Cochran were considered vulnerable by me back in the Spring of 2013, but both have recently exposed weaknesses that I did not expect.
Cochran has been in Washington for longer then many readers have been alive. His opponent state senator Chris McDaniel has been a thorn in the side of Haley Barbour and the Chamber of Commerce, consistently standing up for personal property rights and fiscal conservatism. He also as a private attorney represented Mississippi in their lawsuit against Obamacare. His victory will tick off Trent Lott and Haley Barbour quite a bit both of whom hate the DeMint-Coburn wing of the party ( in particular Ted Cruz) and will then have to bare having one represent Mississippi. On average we’ve beaten only one Republican incumbent per election cycle since 2010, but 2014 is shaping up to give us a chance at beating as many as 4.
Roberts and Cochran could both end up the Richard Lugars of 2014, though hopefully the people who beat them will be more successful in the General.