Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

Enzi is vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents.

Just two Republican senators have lost in primaries in the last two election cycles, but that’s not stopping a growing number of intraparty challengers this cycle. Conservative third-party groups and candidates hope to give more backup to folks like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who led an effort to defund the health care law.

The GOP brand overall may have taken a significant hit this month and caused at least some concern within the party about obtaining or keeping the majority in either chamber in the next couple of election cycles. But the shutdown only fueled challenges to sitting Republicans.

It’s still too early to know exactly how competitive many of the challengers can be. At this point, there is a big difference in the competitiveness of the races from the top three to bottom three on this list. And as the most recent fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission illustrated, nearly all of the incumbents’ opponents are starting out in deep financial holes.

Still, with outside groups such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund beginning to engage, a challenger’s money isn’t the only threat — and any of these races could theoretically take off.

Here are the seven Republican senators most vulnerable to a primary challenge, in order:

1. Michael B. Enzi, Wyoming

Liz Cheney, a former State Department official and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is not exactly a tea partyer. But she’s taking on Enzi from the right, and her candidacy represents the most dangerous primary challenge to a Republican incumbent this year. Enzi significantly improved his fundraising in the third quarter as the race took off, but Cheney brought in more money by raising a respectable $1 million. That kind of cash goes a long way in an inexpensive state like Wyoming.

2. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky

This primary race won’t just decide the fate of the minority leader, it also plays a determining factor in the future of the GOP. McConnell’s decision to strike a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to reopen the federal government and avoid default invited immediate disparagement from his primary opponent and conservative groups. But Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, whom the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed last week, starts out far behind after one fundraising quarter. Bevin loaned his campaign $600,000 to help get it off the ground. One thing to watch is how much of his nearly $10 million in the bank McConnell will have to expend staving off Bevin in the primary. Should he prevail, McConnell will face Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general.

3. Thad Cochran, Mississippi

This name could leap off the list by the end of this year, as Cochran hasn’t even announced whether he’ll seek re-election. His third-quarter report offered no evidence that he intends to run again, as he raised just $53,000. But the veteran appropriator would likely have no trouble turning on the fundraising engine. Still, outside groups last week quickly endorsed the candidacy of his primary opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. And the Club for Growth is already on TV introducing McDaniel to the state.

4. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

Graham’s top primary challengers have so far raised a fraction of what the second-term senator has been able to bring in this year. But conservative state Sen. Lee Bright and Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of the Citadel, nonetheless see an opportunity against the senator with a record of bipartisan deal-making. The goal for each is to face Graham one-on-one in the runoff, when anything could happen.

5. Pat Roberts, Kansas

Featured on the campaign website of radiologist Milton Wolf is a large photo of him wearing his white lab coat. That’s fitting for an outspoken opponent of Obamacare who launched his challenge to Roberts during the shutdown. But so is Roberts, who has plenty of support within the party back home and is no moderate. Early in the cycle, the senator corralled conservatives in Kansas, including Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leading attorney in several lawsuits that targeted illegal immigration.

6. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

Alexander might have been higher on this list if it weren’t for questions about the competitiveness of his opponents. Atop his challenger list is state Rep. Joe Carr, who stepped back from the 4th District race in August to challenge Alexander instead. Carr raised just $52,000 in the third quarter — about half of what he raised for his House campaign the previous quarter. With $2.8 million in the bank and a bevy of support among state Republicans, Alexander remains a formidable incumbent despite his penchant for deal-making in the Senate.

7. John Cornyn, Texas

Cornyn barely makes this list and will likely be expunged by December. After Cruz’s surprising primary victory last year, Cornyn, now the Senate minority whip, appeared to be among the most vulnerable to an intraparty challenge. But Cornyn is two months from the candidate filing deadline and has so far avoided gaining a significant opponent. Cornyn, who wields a similar voting record to Cruz this year, voted against the deal last week that reopened the government.

  • profnickd

    No evidence Liz Cheney will upset Enzi — she might have some respectable amount of money, but she’s not an actual Tea Party candidate so won’t have the volunteers.

    Neither Graham nor McConnell will win their primaries — although not actually moderate, they’ve taken too high of a profile moderate positions on a few issues that won’t play well in their conservative states.

    Cochran won’t run again, now that he has a genuine opponent with money and Tea Party backing.

    Alexander and Roberts are completely safe, namely because Roberts is quite conservative *and* liked and Alexander, while less conservative *is* well-liked and has only very late opponent with no money.

  • wttexas

    Recycle Congress…

  • waterbuffalo

    Enzi’s record is solidly conservative and Cheney’s a neocon carpetbagger. Sheldon Adelson and his friends will make sure she’s got the funds to campaign but in Wyoming it’s money thrown away.

  • Roger Cotton

    Get rid of the RINOs. And shove a steel rod up the backside of the GOP.

  • Wyomingite52

    If you lived in Wyoming, you would know that a large majority of the state’s tea party voters support Liz Cheney. The Enzi camp did everything they could to defame Ms. Cheney at the outset, but she is roaring back, appearing all over the state and generating substantial support. Many think Enzi will withdraw from the race by late Spring.

  • waterbuffalo

    LOL, that’s almost exactly the opposite of what I’m hearing.

  • Wyomingite52

    Then you are not on the campaign trail friend.

  • waterbuffalo

    You’re correct on that. I’m not a staffer on either campaign.

  • Wyomingite52

    Nor am I, but I do go see the candidates speak. Liz has been far more articulate, impressive and inspiring than Enzi, Lummis, Barrasso, Cindy Hill, or frankly anyone else in the state. She is going to win by a good margin.

  • WyoRockSprings

    Liz Cheney has my support, and the support of all my neighbors and friends. She is terrific. I’ve voted for Mike before, but not this time.

  • Stacey Newport

    I don’t know who is telling you Alexander is well liked here. Check out the comments on his page to see how “well liked” he is.

  • profnickd

    I’m not saying I like him. But he seems to be well-liked among TN Republicans according to the polls, such as:

  • BBWeekly

    The only reason this list is so one sided is that the tea party did not exist six years ago. Hopefully my (business GOP) wing of the party can get their act together and practice in a few house races this year, to be ready for Senate primaries in 2016.

  • Stacey Newport

    We have had enough of him. I believe Carr has a strong chance of winning.

  • dectra

    “…Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong
    government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their
    ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held

    What planet are you from, Kyle Trygstad??

    The GOP is licking it’s wounds, trying to figure out why it is that only 25-30 of Americans support their idiotic position….and you come along and say,

    “.. gee, we can knock off some Democratic Senators…”

    Boy, put down that wolfweed and start talking to independents and moderate republicans: We DO NOT want the type of leadership the party has shown. PERIOD.

    Sign me STILL EX-GOP

  • dectra

    Great, WyoRock….nice to know you support a carpet bagging east coast wh0re of the establishment.

    And you wonder why folks look at you hard right wingers and laugh…

  • dectra

    Or, Roger Cotton, how about we act like AMERICANS and work together?

    Or is that too much to ask from a Fake Christian, like you?

  • 1mrt1

    What? are you insane?

  • dectra

    She’s an east coast carpet bagger.

  • dectra

    Mr. T.

    Nice to see you’re up and your mommy has fixed your breakfast.

    Now eat your food and hush, the adults are talking.

  • dectra

    No, I’m out with the folks who are working for a living, and not ‘on the campaign trail’.

  • Callawyn

    “avoid default” Have you lost your mind??? There was never the slightest chance of a default.

    Its bad enough we have to hear Obama spew this ignorant lie, worse that the leftist media repeat it and never challenge him on it, but seriously – are there no reporters left on the planet that can tell reality from propaganda??


  • Bunky

    Cornyn is one of the pack of republican jackals that voted for cloture with harry reid to fund obamacare.

  • dectra

    “Nor am I…”

    Okay, Wyomigite, WTF??

    You posted “Then you are not on the campaign trail friend” and now you whine Gee, I’m not on the campaign trail…..?

    You, Madam, are a Hypocrite. PERIOD

  • John R Schuh

    She has lots of brain power from both parents. Lynn could have stepped in as Veep if her husband had faltered physically.

  • dectra

    Thank GOD idiots like you aren’t running anything of consequence. You do realize if the House of Representatives authorized the spending, they must PAY the bill, right?

  • dectra

    Jesus, you really are stupid, John..

  • John R Schuh

    There is a business side that includes lots of Tea Party people, and then there is a 7th street/Wall Street side. Picking a savy businessman like Romney who is a terrible campaigner is a sure way to lose.

  • MVH1

    Too brain-washed to realize that. Don’t bother here.

  • ChefFred

    How are you paying any bills if you have to borrow to pay them?

  • MVH1

    Enzi defamed her? That’s ridiculous. She defamed him.

  • MVH1

    And you are in that closed echo chamber so many Republicans live in, patting each other on the back, doing their own flawed internal polls and thinking they’re way ahead, a la Romney. Go head, fellas. This is interesting. White the rest of the country recoils from your scorched earth bring-the-country-down policies, you just step it up another notch. This is a democracy, which is all about compromise. The rest of the country doesn’t want to live in some hideous utopia Wyoming and Tea Party Texas are selling.

  • Bob Celeste

    If we could find a candidate that is both pro-life and pro-gun to run against collins, she would be at the top of the vulnerable list.

  • John R Schuh

    Moderates and independents didn’t win the House in 2010, didn’t even re-elect Bush in 2004, as much as Karl pretended they did. Even IKE would not have won in 1952 without the support of Bob Taft.

  • Michael Bergsma

    For what it is worth, Romney knew he was behind.

  • MVH1

    And there’s lots of evidence that he didn’t believe it but believed his internal polling. Unless you worked right beside him with his family, your opinion on that is probably based on supporting him. Please explain that he had an acceptance speech prepared but nothing in case he lost, which was a good ad libbed speech. And why would he order that huge fireworks display that never made it to the sky? And we all want to know, did that vendor get paid? Mr. Cheap is taking his own sweet time paying his campaign debts.

  • JLM

    Republican Senators have forgotten that there are principles which are bedrock principles and which are the principles of their constituents even if DC has brainwashed them out of the Senator’s head.

    The Republican cause of smaller, less expensive, fiscally sound and conservative government will not miss a single one of these guys as they are long on show and short on go.

    Mitch McConnell might as well be a Democrat given his behavior. The speed with which he folded under the President’s and Harry Reid’s pressure calls into question as to whether he should be allowed to use the men’s room.

    Cornyn is completely safe in Texas and will likely not even draw a opponent.

    The fundraising results will determine almost all of these races. Money is the mother’s milk of politics and Momma is a mean one.


  • Pragmatic Conservative

    As usual, the Tea Party is doing everything possible to lose seats so that the Democrats can get a supermajority in the Senate and guarantee that Obama’s agenda moves forward. After all, aren’t Senators Buck, O’Donnell, Akin, Mourdock and Angle doing a great job (oops, I almost forgot, they all lost easily winnable seats because they were incompetent campaigners and completely out of touch with all but the extreme right).

  • Wade Smith

    Agreed! The senate and obama should work with the people’s house.

  • Scientist5

    You are so right. Brains is not a helpful trait in today’s political battles. To win you must be a good liar, be a storyteller, be incompetent but have a good appearance. What a shame – our democratic system is doomed because of the stupidity of half the voters.

  • Steve851

    The Club for Growth, Heritage, etc. should devote all of their funds to getting rid of Graham.

    Having Enzi first on the list is just plain scary. The last thing the GOP needs is another neocon Cheney

  • Ryan Saylor

    We don’t need any more Todd Legitimate Rape Aikens,Christine “i am not a witch”O Donnell or Richard Mourdocks. I would love to see Lindsey Grahamnesty go. Otherwise,I prefer more electable candidates. You have to consider the general election. Overturning Roe vs. Wade in ALL instances is a kiss of death.

  • Ryan Saylor

    Tea Party needs to endorse electable candidates. Otherwise they are giving Dirty Harry “Coal makes us sick” Reid another vote for judicial and presidential cabinet nominees. I am fed up with the GOP losing seats in states that Romney won in 2012 including IN, MO, ND, and MT. Tea Party needs to give experienced candidates. I want rid of Harry Reid more than I want rid of Cornyn, Graham, McConnell, Enzi, etc.

  • dectra

    You’re one of the same idiots who said ‘gee, we won’t default, we have plenty of money coming in’ right Fred?

    You buy your house with all cash?

    NO, you didn’t. So stop with the false analogy of ‘no one borrows’

  • Guest

    All of these guys could return except one, and I’d be satisfied. That one is Lindsey Graham. Please get this train wreck out of the national conversation.

  • BlueJoubert

    Yes, our history is replete with housewife VP’s. And Darth doesn’t have a heart, much less a brain.

  • BlueJoubert

    So 2/3 of the government should bow to the demands of about 10% of the House. Have you lost your mind?

  • rrm1973

    Hey, look! St. Dectra pronounces Christianity based upon his/her political beliefs. If only the rest of us were so petty and shallow.

  • Montgomery Draxel

    It is unconstitutional to not pay interest on the debt.

    There is more than enough money coming into washington each month to service the debt with plenty left over to pay soldiers.

    Everything else, of course, would be sketchy.

  • Montgomery Draxel

    This is by design. The House controls the purse strings.

    America has remained relatively free for all this time because of divided government.

    The problem is that the House can’t get the President or Senate to listen to any ideas unless they threaten to shut the government down.

    Obama could learn many things from previous Presidents, such as Bill Clinton.

  • radsenior

    John Cornyn has yet to receive a TEA-type challenger, but will probably get one in time. TEA-party activists are pumped to get another radical into office from Texas after Rafael Eduardo Cruz gained office over Dewhurst.
    Michael Enzi would be better than Liz Chaney as Chaney represents the TEA-fringed element dead-set on taking down the Government.
    Mitch McConnell has been there too damn long.
    Chris McDaniel is just another TEA-type going after a more moderate Republican and would definitely tow TEA-party loyalty which is the same as Rafael Eduardo Cruz from Texas.
    Lindsey Graham would be better than Lee Bright or Nancy Mace as the later are both radical TEA-types and these are the kind not needed in Congress.
    Milton Wolf is already known as a TEA party advocate and everyone knows TEA-types will vote for their man. This Wolf in a white lab coat would be loyal to only the TEA-party.
    State Re. Joe Carr is yet another TEA-type who would tow the TEA-party line of smaller government while not doing anything about jobs. State Re. Joe Carr not conducive for improved working relations with the Obama administration. The bottom line is TEA-types will go after those they want gone to take over the Republican party.

  • ggm281

    No. She is at the top of YOUR list. But you don’t live in Maine.

  • True Observer

    Better to have just 3 or 4 strong Republicans than these 7.
    As shown by Cruz, one man can make a difference.
    All these 7 do is prop up and give cover to Harry and the Dems.

  • rene591

    watch the power of money. if all seven are return Wall Street and chamber have won. if none of the seven return the tea party is in ascendancy

  • john hall

    But, all of you Tea Baggers are petty and shallow, and selfish!

  • john hall

    How many of the folks on that page are Native Tennesseeians, and how many are from OTHER STATES BUTTING IN!

  • guvhog

    If Liz Cheney really is to the Right of Enzi as the article says, the Tea Party people will turn out in droves to support her even if she isn’t exactly a Tea Party member.

  • guvhog

    They should at least have offered a legit compromise instead of telling the GOP led house to kiss off.

  • guvhog

    How does the BIblical scripture go??? “By their fruits, you shall know them”

  • guvhog

    WRONG. The USA is NOT a Democracy, it is a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. There is a BIG difference.

  • bittman

    It would be interesting to see how many of the seven voted for Cloture in the recent efforts by Senators Cruz and Lee to defund Obamacare. A vote for cloture indicates that, if reelected, they will most likely do little or nothing to defund Obamacare in the future irrespective of what they tell the voters in their states.

  • guvhog

    I knew he was behind since the day he won the GOP nomination. Moderate/Centralist GOP candidates cannot win the Presidency without the votes of the Conservative-Tea Party wing.

  • ScorpionsPriest

    It’s time to make Mitch McTurtle disappear.

  • HenryC

    Money does not necessarily mean a strong challenge. Polls do not show Enzi challenged at all, not at least yet.

  • pinecone321

    In Mitch McConnell’s last reelection campaign he was down for the count against the Dem. opponent getting pretty close to election day. It was us conservatives who opened our checkbooks, and ran to Kentucky to drag him across the finish line. He didn’t win in any landslide to be sure. If McConnell doesn’t lose the primary to Matt Bevin, the ideal outcome, then he has little to no chance of beating the Democrat. He won’t be able to count on the conservatives that went to bat for him last time, as he slapped them in the face but good. I’ve little doubt that McConnell is in his last term as a Senator. I would be thrilled to see Matt Bevin sitting in his seat in Washington. Good riddance.

    As to John Cornyn, the last sentence claiming that he voted against the bill to reopen the government is more than a little misleading. Not many conservatives don’t know that he worked hard behind the scenes, along with Mitch McConnell to defeat the Cruz and Lee defund efforts. He knew that if he got enough RINO’s to vote for cloture, it would give Harry Reid the ability to defeat the House defund bill by a simple majority, rather than a super majority. He himself deceived his own constituients by claiming almost immediately that he voted against Obamacare when that simply was not true. If anything, Ted Cruz gave the people the opportunity to learn more about the way those in Washington play political manuvers in order to fool the little guys in fly over country. Those days are past John Cornyn. .

  • califconserv

    The problem with our government now is that the democrats are dominated by the far left and the republicans are being pushed right of our big spending George Bush. Neither side can afford to vote their people out or the other might make gains.
    The Tea Party which is the only group wanting to make government responsible is being demonized by the democrats and the republican elite. Their attacks are repeated ad nausea by the media for being some of the most hateful types of people on earth for their opposition to the fundamental change to America.

  • DaMav
  • thereasonableprogressive

    McConnell “won’t be able to count on the conservatives” like last time. Wow! You folks don’t take any prisoners, do you? If Mitch McConnell isn’t conservative enough, I wonder who is.

  • thereasonableprogressive

    What “difference” did Senators Cruz and Lee make?

  • Tess

    So what you’re saying is that the people who support the actual Republican Party are RINOs and the people who want to blow it up are the true Republicans?

    Sure, that makes sense to me.

  • Tess

    Yes, but there’s a reason that the House can’t pass budgets all by itself. Maybe you remember the whole “checks and balances” thing? Our government was designed to only work when there’s compromise. And compromise isn’t the same thing as one group making extremist demands and everyone else capitulating.

    After all that hand-wringing, the system finally worked the way it’s supposed to: the people willing to deal made a deal, and the people who stood by a hard-line set of demands no one was going to agree to got their asses handed to them.

  • 1mrt1

    Jealous? At least I know who my mommy is

  • MVH1

    There has to be a mind to begin with. Not one thAt’s been opened and tea crap poured in.

  • Mad Hatter

    It didn’t take long to hear from one of the Daily Kook children.

  • Tess

    It’s unconstitutional not to pay the debt, which is why refusing to raise the debt ceiling to pay bills we already owe (the government doesn’t pay in advance, after all) would be violating the Constitution. And the Supreme Court might well rule that using the debt ceiling to avoid paying bills is unconstitutional.

    But by then, the damage to the US and world economy would be done, and there is an excellent chance that our whole economy would be in a death spiral as investors around the world tried to divest themselves of no-longer-low-risk dollar-denominated investment vehicles and crashed the dollar so hard we’d look like a banana republic. What exactly happens when oil starts being Euro denominated and costs $40 a gallon in devalued dollars? We’re totally screwed, that’s what.

  • Mad Hatter

    As usual, the RINO’s and their voting records are doing everything possible to expand Government, increase spending, and reward foreigners who broke out immigration laws, with a shortcut to citizenship.

  • Mad Hatter

    I would hope that you want to get rid of all big Government, big spending, pro Amnesty politicians regardless what party they’re with. We need politicians that understand Conservative principles, not reject them.

  • Charlie Drew

    Please no more Cheneys!

  • Im#2Itryhardr

    Dialogue was the difference! Cruz and Lee shone a strong light on fiscal insanity that is Obamacare. They will be electorally rewarded

  • Wade Smith

    10% of the house cannot control the house. It takes a majority 218 to control the house. Remember everybody in the house was elected on their promises.

    Article 1, Section 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills is clear. Yes the other part of Congress must negotiate with the House. Holding your breath and refusing to work together is not the approach the founding fathers had in mind.

  • john hall

    Since when did Roll Call become the Taegan Goddard website of the Tea Baggers?

  • john hall

    I would say that Tea Party fruits are stale and rancid.

  • john hall

    Yeah! Time for a Democratic wave hitting Kentucky.

  • john hall

    I wish there were another 10 Democrats in the Senate to make it obstruction proof.

  • john hall

    Like you need a hole in YOUR HEAD!

  • ScorpionsPriest

    I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Bevin is the only thing that stands between McConnell and re-election.

  • The Classical Liberal

    The analogy is more like indulgent parents cutting off loaning more money to a wealthy spendthrift. Imagine, if you would, someone making 250,000/mth but spending 350,000/mth. He’s got a mortgage (the interest on the debt) of about 25,000/mth.

    If no more money is loaned the spendthrift can still pay off the 25,000 mortgage (interest on the debt) and still pay for most things – but he will have to cut back on some things.

  • Pragmatic Conservative

    First of all, the real RINOs are the Tea Partiers, who pretend to be Republicans so they can get elected, and then spend most of their time trying to destroy the party. Second, almost every Republican member of the House and Senate has consistently voted to lower spending and reduce the size of government, and there haven’t been any votes on immigration reform, so you clearly have no idea what you are talking about, which is typical for a Tea Partier. The fact that you are so far to the right that you are incapable of understanding the difference between a Republican and a Democrat tells me all I need to know about your level of political understanding.

  • john hall

    They were the pathetic amusement of us lefties….To bad that the FURLOUGHED couldn’t find them funny!

  • john hall

    Tea Baggers are fiscally insane.

  • john hall

    And I genuinely hope that they succeed!

  • Mad Hatter

    That’s the best you can do, tea baggers? I’m waiting for you to call us terrorists, hostage takers, and anything else that you create in your attempt to smear, slander, and lie about the Tea Party movement.

  • califconserv

    You like the stuff with the NSA, IRS, debt and the health care?

  • Mad Hatter

    You make no sense.

  • Mad Hatter

    The real RINO’s are Tea Party members. LOL, that sounds like a Jon Stewart talking point.

    “almost every Republican member of the House and Senate has consistently voted to lower spending and reduce the size of government, and there haven’t been any votes on immigration reform, so you clearly have no
    idea what you are talking about, which is typical for a Tea Partier”

    Is that the same Republican members that lowered spending under Bush when the Republicans held both the House and the Senate?

    There hasn’t been any votes on “immigration reform”? Really? You’re going to tell me that the Senate didn’t take a vote on the so called “immigration reform”? Speak for yourself when it comes to someone not knowing what they’re talking about. Also, check the record of the Senate votes and how many Rockefeller RINO’s voted for a shortcut to citizenship for those who broke out immigration laws.

    My political understanding is very clear. The Rockefeller RINO’s have moved to Democrat Lite. They left the Conservative platform, not the Tea Party.

  • Mad Hatter

    Nothing like wanting to reward illegal behavior for those who think our immigration laws don’t apply to them.

  • Jay B.

    Funny how Dems who complainted when called unpatriotic by some after 9/11and said it was unfair and dangerous precedent have no problem with calling GOP far worse names. bunch of hypocrites.

  • Gilbert_Sundevil

    No, the people that want to blow up the GOP are Conservatives. Right now there is a huge gap between “Republicans” and “Conservatives.

  • Gilbert_Sundevil

    Tess, Have you seen the annual deficit and the national debt charts? The system didn’t “finally work” when they turned the government back on in order to go-along-to-get-along. It failed miserably and will continue to do so until DC understands the simple axiom that something that can’t continue won’t.

  • tpartynitwit

    If Enzi is judged the most threatened on the list, there’s no reason for this article. Daddy’s Little Girl can’t even get a fishing license without alienating and blaming others.

  • Jay B.

    There’s no such thing as a RINO but some zealots destructively label people who share the same ideas but not the same tactics. Incredibly self defeating and a gift to Dems. The GOP would be running the senate if solid republicans like Mike Castle were not tossed aside by Christine “I am a witch” O’donnell. It is time for the Tea Party to grow up and see how they poison their own efforts. I agree with their aims but I want someone to tell me why you would rather lose with someone who just promises to vote your way 100% rather than win with someone who has shown he votes your way, say 65-75% of the time? Actually, now that I think of it, may be there are real RINOs after all. those are the people who claim to be Republican but who cause Republicans to lose races they could have easily won.

  • Jay B.

    Hey, I just said a similar thing in a different post. Great minds think alike. Except that RINOs are Republicans who cause the party to lose races they could easily win but for some silly purity standard. Democrats shouldn’t knock the Tea Party these days as they have been their best political allies the past two years. And this is coming from someone who agrees with the general substance of the Tea Party.

  • pinecone321

    Of course the progressives like McConnell. That’s why he must go.

    Apparently some lib called Valerie Jarrett an airhead. Gone. You guys don’t take any prisoner’s just for voicing an opinion.

  • Roger Cotton

    Tess, your poor reading comprehension, and naive grasp of politics, make no sense.

  • Roger Cotton

    Oh, there most certainly are RINOs. Just as Democrats are Communists with another name.

  • Roger Cotton

    In doing so, he actually enabled Reid, and, gave himself cover for having voted against funding after the fact.

    You just don’t understand how the game is played.

  • Jay B.

    No, I would be labelled conservative and am GOP. It is someone who can not stand anyone who doesn’t agree with political tactics like Cruz and defunding. That was plain stupid. Now, for saying that, I will now be attacked as a RINO, liberal, etc. except I am totally against Obamacare. I lived in England and know first hand how a socialized medicine environment works. Let’s see the reaction.

  • nadadhimmi

    Not spending money you don’t have is insane? It all depends on which side of the checks you are on, john hall.

  • Tess

    All I have to say is, where the hell were you people when the Bush administration was passing big fat tax cuts with no corresponding spending cuts? The spending related to wars and the economic collapse were at least defensible as responses to crises, and both were designed to sunset as the crises pass. Whatever you think of Obamacare, it was designed to be revenue neutral. But Bush encouraged his Republican Congress to suspend pay as you go rules to get those tax cuts passed, and they widen the deficit more every single year. Even today, we could solve the core of the deficit problems if we simply rolled back to the tax rules we had in the 1990s.

    But the Tea Party folks who shut down the government weren’t even fighting about balancing the budget — they were fighting about the revenue-neutral Obamacare. So spare me the responsible budget lecture, ok?

  • Tess

    Then why do they call their enemies “RINOs” when it’s obvious that their enemies are the actual Republicans?

  • Bob Celeste

    Actually I do I do live in Maine.

    As I said: “If we could find a candidate that is both pro-life and pro-gun to run against collins, she would be at the top of the vulnerable list.

    Collins wins because she is always the lesser of the evils.

  • john hall

    The N.S.A. no
    the debt…..make the rich pay 50% of their income
    ACA should be replaced with Medicare for All.
    The IRS could neuter both the Tea Party and the G.O.P. and I’d be eternally grateful.

  • Callawyn

    No. Dead wrong. They WILL pay the interest on the debt, its only about 10% of revenue. They don’t need to raise the debt ceiling to service the debt.

    They are under no obligation to funding additional spending, whether its been authorized or not, other than interest on the debt. Not raising the debt ceiling, and therefore cancelling that spending, is NOT a violation of the Constitution.

    Seriously, how clueless can you be??? The ONLY thing the Constitution requires to be paid is interest on the debt, and default only occurs if that interest isn’t paid.

    You are conflating the obligation to service the debt with additional spending that we don’t have the funds for.

  • Tess

    From the 14th Amendment, Section 4:
    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

    As a technical matter, when the government hits the debt ceiling, it’s because the government has already incurred liabilities that it cannot legally borrow any more money to pay. The Constitution requires that those outstanding liabilities be paid. And any further liabilities incurred for salaries to essential government personnel are also required to be paid. I think it’s entirely possible that the Supreme Court would rule that it’s unconstitutional to not pay those debts.

  • xbox361

    get rid of mcconnell and graham and the rest will fall into line
    cut off the head to kill a great serpent
    mao or doonesbury

  • John Rivas

    Since it is impossible to know which practices will be best suited for unpredictable future circumstances, we mainly depend upon the customs and traditions that have already been proven in the fires of history’s forge.

  • ObservingChristian

    We’ll have to vote, and analyze the results in the 2014 elections to know the answer to your question. I make no predictions, but I definitely have opinions that I’ll keep to myself for now.

  • Bunky

    Excuse me Roger, but what did I write that indicates that I don’t understand?

  • The Classical Liberal

    Obama and his supporters continued to defend Obamacare and refused to negotiate even to the point of refusing to postpone it for one year. Now, if they come back to push it back one year the Republicans can say “only if x is done.” Remember “it’s settled law.” The dems wrote the bill. Now they have to live with it as is.

    When you fight to win you push the envelope. Remember Braveheart before the first battle with the English? McCain is “let us negotiate.” Cruz is Mel Gibson.

  • Gilbert_Sundevil

    Tess, A lot of us were screaming at the Repubs in Congress and at W for their utterly disastrous lack of control on spending. The PorkBusters movement ( – a precursor to the Tea Party – was born in 2005 because of the spending problem the Repubs had. I personally left the Repub party during that same time.
    So, we were complaining… Nobody in the national media was listening.
    By the way, you’re smoking a special kind of medicinal plant if you believed the folks that said ObamaCare was going to be revenue neutral.

  • Gilbert_Sundevil

    JayB, A RINO is a politician that runs hard to his right during the primary (and sometimes even during the general) in order to get elected, and then once in DC, abandons conservative principles when they matter most. I don’t demand ideological purity of the Republicans politicians I vote for, but it sure would be nice if they would quit poking a stick in the eye of conservatives at critical times when we need them to have a backbone.
    I speak with some level of experience because the blasted voters in my state of Arizona keep sending McCain back to office year after year.
    To pick a specific example, both my Senators – McCain and Flake – ran a “tough on immigration” campaign. But once safely in DC they both voted for that 1200 page monstrosity of an immigration “reform” bill that’s uploaded up front with give-aways and backloaded with empty promises of enforcement. RINOs

  • Pragmatic Conservative

    I stand corrected on the immigration bill issue. I was trying to respond quickly and simply forgot that the Senate had actually voted on that one. My bad.
    As for the budget, yes, the GOP did vote for too much spending during the Bush years, especially with the ridiculous development of Medicare Part D. I was referring to more recent history, where Republicans have consistently opposed the massive spending increases proposed by Obama. I take that as I sign that they’ve learned their lesson and are willing to return to GOP principles of limited spending, but apparently that’s not good enough for you.
    In the end, though, my primary point remains – Tea Partiers are much more libertarian than Republican, and they use the GOP to advance their own agenda. Given the opportunity, those few Tea Partiers who have actually won elections (many, many have lost because their views are simply unacceptable to most Americans) have far too frequently worked to oppose the GOP.
    I can work with someone who agrees with me 80% of the time, and has an honest disagreement with me on the other 20%. I can’t work with someone who pretends to support me and then stabs me in the back at every available opportunity. Tea Partiers like Cruz and Lee fall into the latter category.

  • califconserv

    Pay for what? The losses being taken by the postal service? The fraud that looked a lot like the fraud our Nobel Prize winning president claimed was plaguing Medicare and is bankrupting the disability insurance system? How about paying for the six departments identified by the inspectors general that do the same job?
    Giving government a tax increase is saying you like the way they run our government.
    Do you realize the president has said the cost of health care has been going down? How? Are efficiencies being introduced?
    Do you also realize we in the United States of America have 50% fewer doctors as Russia or Belgium? More doctors = more providers = less cost.


    Take out every f***ing one of these RINOs!

  • Michael Steven Mathis

    Dwayne Stovall is running in the Texas GOP primary to replace Cornyn. Dwayne is a TEA party candidate and a member of the NRA. He is a strong conservative.

  • Michael Steven Mathis

    Cornyn has a Opponent. Dwayne Stovall is running to replace him. Dwayne is a TEA party conservative and a member of the NRA.

  • Michael Steven Mathis

    If the rich had to pay 50% to the government what would be the incentive for future people to become rich knowing that they would have to surrender 50% of what they made?

  • Tess

    Porkbusters was great, but it got kind of a late start. We were screwed on the budget from the day the pay-as-you-go rules got jettisoned to make the Bush tax cuts possible. But people were so amped about tax cuts that they skipped right past this.

    I remember the budget problems that showed up under Reagan. Reagan did a lot of good things, but his ’81 tax cuts damaged the budget. This was partially fixed in the ’86 tax reform (which Reagan supported because he acknowledged the importance of trying to bring the deficit back under control, but it had to be revisited in the 1990 budget deal during Bush, Sr.’s term (when he broke his “no new taxes” pledge) and again under Clinton. Once the basic fixes were in place, the pay as you go rule was the fundamental mechanism for keeping pork under wraps: it’s one thing to go along with someone’s boondoggle in isolation, but it’s quite another to have to cut from something more important (or worse, raise taxes) in order to pay for it.

    As far as Obamacare goes, the CBO has been consistently very reliable in estimating costs, so if the CBO scored Obamacare as revenue neutral, that’s the best estimate we’re going to get. That still doesn’t prove it’s a good law, of course, and it’s easy to disagree with many of the details — like the much disliked medical devices tax that’s one of the ways the ACA stays revenue neutral. Or to disagree with the core of it — health plan exchanges, an individual mandate, and individual subsidies. But the best analysis we have estimates that its impact on the budget is not one of its problems, so we can probably leave it out of deficit discussions.

  • Roger Cotton

    Coming from a fake American like you, yes. A bit too much.

  • yaz reggae

    Compared to what the pundits say, these fellows still have the confidence of the people who voted them there so they are safe, no matter what. Quite a few of them even stated publicly or their surrogates,that black Americans should be grateful for slavery and stuff like that so there are people out there who want to see this type of following.

  • John R Schuh

    What passes as wit these days?

  • John R Schuh

    Compromise being a right to fine tune what the Democrats have built from the ground up.

  • MVH1

    I’m just not sure what you mean by that.

  • MVH1

    Or just plain insane.

  • MVH1

    Paying bills you’ve already racked up has to be done. Tell your boys that.

  • john hall

    Question is this Taeggan Goddards bizarro world of the right?

  • MVH1

    Has to be.

  • Vorenious

    Let’s start the 2016 list as well and put John McCain on the top. At eighty years old, it is past time for him to go. Since he is no longer a republican, but a RINO, he has zero chance here in Az!

  • whitneymuse

    every little bit helps: my bit has been cashed, and that will have to do for now.

  • Yanika

    FYI: Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite.

  • The Classical Liberal

    I take it that’s sarcasm? A dig at liberals trying to obscure an argument by bringing in a tangential objection?

  • Backpacker

    The polls show the Tea Party is more wealthy and more educated than average voters. The statement they “are fiscally insane” is what is insane. Google it for yourself, if you know how and see how FleeBaggers, like yourself, are babbling about something they can’t comprehend.

  • CupertinoKid

    Too bad Enzi is at the top of this list. Cheney supports Same Sex Marriage – which requires an expansion of the state.

  • Fred Beloit

    I live in Fla., but I hope the citizens of Montana will at least consider Enzi’s efforts to weaken a particularly odious element of the ACA and to expose the vile lies by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi that citizens could keep their health plan period.

  • teapartyidiots

    Miss Lindsey is introducing an abortion ban to make the tea partiers happy. Should save him.

  • teapartyidiots

    I don’t know….Obamacare is (gasp!) really popular in Kentucky.

  • 2summer4

    Don’t buy anything he’s selling. That’s what his friend, Johnny McCain does every 6 years and (some) people buy it. And he gets re-elected and look how that turns out. Graham is a progressive “Republican” – not a conservative. SC is a conservative state. They should elect a conservative and stay away from Lindsey Graham.

  • teapartyidiots

    Well, the ban is blatantly unconstitutional, which he knows. So, hey, why not?

  • TheSunDidIt

    ABORTION is what is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. YOU CANNOT deny one person their LIFE for the convenience of another citizen. And citizenship, while based upon PLACE of birth has little to do with it because in ALL other places in the Constitution even VISITORS to the nation get our laws’ protections.

  • teapartyidiots

    Right….well, SCOTUS disagrees, and sorry, even your precious bible says life begins at first breath.

  • Freempg

    Ted Cruz’s father should primary Cornyn.

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