One of Many

Far away from our own commonwealth, word that an incumbent congresswoman in Kansas will be seeing a primary challenge from the right. From CQ Politics:

A Kansas state senator announced Tuesday that he is considering challenging Republican freshman Rep. Lynn Jenkins in the GOP primary in August 2010.

“When Lynn was elected, there were a lot of Republicans who were suspect of how genuine a conservative she was,” Pyle said in his announcement. “But most of us decided to take a wait-and-see approach. With her record before she was elected to Congress, and just a few votes while in Congress, it is abundantly clear that Lynn is not a conservative.”

What’s interesting about this case is that this not some lone activist mounting a challenge against an “impure” Republican. The candidate is a sitting official, so they already have a platform and an activist base. Additionally, Jenkins has not exactly been a breakaway figure in the House–she stuck with her fellow Republicans on the stimulus and health care. Her biggest sin is the same one former Congressman Jim Ryun brought up when he faced off against Jenkins for the nomination in 2008: Jenkins is pro-choice to the point where she publicly allies herself with fellow pro-choice Republicans.

As it should be pointed out whenever we talk about primaries, all politics is local. Kansas has a long and storied history of fighting within its GOP between moderates and conservatives. Indeed, the state’s current Governor is a Democrat who bolted the GOP to run with now HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Still, this is not the first challenge to a sitting GOPer, nor will it be the last. The brand is in such bad shape that there’s a brewing conservative movement to boot as many moderates and “soft” conservatives as possible in favor of starting over again with principled candidates. Indeed, this has reached our backyard in the visage of a challenge against Frank Wolf (though I suspect this gu will do no better than the last one, who barely cracked 10%). There’s even been word of a challenge to Congressman Goodlatte, who voted against the intitial TARP package last fall. If that’s not a true conservative, than I don’t know what is–though again, Goodlatte’s is a case of local interests meshing with national movements.You can bet your bottom dollar, though, that I’ll do everything in my power to keep Goodlatte in the House.

My guess: pretty much any Republican with less than a 80% lifetime score from the American Conservative Union will see a challenge, though the strength of the candidates will vary widely.

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  1. December 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Conservatives and progressives should purge their respective parties simultaneously. Then David Broder’s head will explode as he contemplates the extinction of political moderates in America.

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