Cornyn has said he is expecting a primary challenge in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 1:17 p.m. | The founder and director of a grass-roots conservative group said he expects Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, to face a primary challenge. Cornyn is up for re-election in 2014.
“I don’t know how good of a primary challenge he is going to get at this point, but he will get a primary challenge,” said Dean Wright, co-founder and director of New Revolution Now, based in Austin, Texas.
“There is vetting going on,” Wright said, but he did not have any other details. He noted that one possible challenger could be Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is viewed as much more likely to run for governor in 2014. Abbott and Cornyn are known to have a cordial relationship, with Cornyn once touting Abbott as a possible Senate candidate.
“He would, if he did run, most likely bring in the tea party and the conservative grass roots behind him,” Wright said, adding that his group would likely support Abbott.
Abbot came to the national stage in 2005 when he defended before the U.S. Supreme Court, and won, the right of the state to display a Ten Commandments monument on the state capitol grounds.
Still, the idea that Abbott would challenge Cornyn seems far fetched at this point. “Anyone who knows anything about Texas politics knows that Abbott is gearing up to run for governor,” a Texas GOP source said.
Cornyn has said he isn’t taking his seat for granted and is expecting a primary challenge.
Others agree that a challenge could be in the offing, but were skeptical of the challenger winning.
With Cornyn considered “part of the establishment, maybe he’ll draw a primary opponent, but I don’t anticipate any strong opponent,” said a Texas Republican political operative.
A Texas GOP political consultant said there is definitely a segment of the party that wants Cornyn to be challenged, but the movement may be waning, which could help the minority whip retain his seat.
“When it comes to crazies Texas really is a whole different level,” the consultant said. “I’m not sure their thirst can be quenched. He’s preparing for somebody.”