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Early in the election cycle, it appeared that the Democrats would have several exciting primary races.To date, however, what is most intriguing is the success “establishment” Democrats have had in resolving competitive open seat primaries.Democrats have also seen their down-ballot primaries reshaped by the presidential race.Democratic primaries have been less competitive than those of Republicans for the past three election cycles.If one group, or a small number of groups working together, focuses resources on two or three primary elections, a message is sent to moderate members of Congress that bipartisan compromise carries with it the risk of “getting primaried” – or being replaced by a more ideologically extreme candidate of your own party.Even if such efforts are ultimately unsuccessful, they can generate enough media coverage to frighten other incumbents.Two Republican incumbents have lost their seats due to unusual, court-ordered mid-decade redistricting in North Carolina and Virginia.
There have been a few races that wound up being less competitive than this, such as those of Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) and Representative David Joyce (R-OH), where money was spent on behalf of conservative challengers.
In such cases, the money did not yield competitive races.
In the Senate, where five centrist Republicans (Pat Roberts, Lamar Alexander, Mitch Mc Connell, Thad Cochran and John Cornyn) fended off conservative primary opponents in 2014, there have not yet been any competitive races.
Three of these incumbents were running in Texas, a state that supported Ted Cruz in the primary.
More so than in any other state, Texas Republican primary candidates had something to gain by tying their campaigns to Cruz’s since he was such a heavy favorite in the state.
Americans have been riveted by the 2016 presidential primaries and the media spectacle that has surrounded the Donald Trump campaign.