As we close out 2013, here’s a look at the senators at risk of losing their primaries. It’s worth noting that it’s a relatively rare event for senators to fall in a primary—in 2012, only former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., lost to a primary challenger, and the previous cycle just Sens. Robert Bennet, R-Utah, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, did—though Murkowski came back and won reelection as a write-in candidate. So, keeping in mind that we predicted in our final Hotline Spotlight of the year that no Senate incumbent will lose a primary next year, here are the candidates who should be most wary as we head into 2014.
1. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., appears to be the most in danger of failing to earn renomination. His challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, has lined up a number of outside groups—Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project, Club for Growth—behind him. For the 76-year-old Cochran’s part, he seemed geared up for the challenge when he announced he’d run again. But, to this point, Cochran hasn’t been raising money aggressively (he ended the third quarter with just over $800,000 in the bank), and he hasn’t had a competitive race in 30 years.