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August 06, 2013

Why McConnell and Graham are Likely to Survive

Harry Enten looks at the primary challenges to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and points out that all incumbent senators who were defeated or close to being defeated in primaries in the past 20 years "were not very close to the base of their party Senate caucuses."

"All Republicans were in the first quartile for conservatism among Republican senators, while all Democrats were among the first quartile for 'liberalness' among Democratic senators. That is, about 75% of their caucus was less moderate than they were...  So, you can say that there was a real ideological hole for potential primary opponents to run through. No such gaps exist for McConnell and Graham. McConnell was in the 47th percentile for conservatism among Republicans in the 112th Congress. Graham was in the 55th percentile for conservatism among the Republican caucus. In other words, both of them have been right in the middle of their caucuses."


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