There are a dozen sitting Republican US Senators running for re-election in 2010. As incumbents they have a built-in advantage of more money, more campaign support from Senate colleagues whose
term are not up this year, and more support from the RNC and the NRSC than any primary challenger will have. It comes as no surprise that incumbents almost never lose in a primary or in a general election. However tea-partiers have made enough noise already to make 2010 a different kind of election year.
I don't know if they will make enough of a difference to get any of these incumbents primaried, but I suspect they might. There are some who might think that it is as simple as electing in the primary the candidate with the best voting records that keep with the core principles of keeping the size and scope of the federal government limited, keeping the size and scope of the federal debt small, and keeping the size and scope of the federal taxes small. I wish it was that simple.
Everything starts with precinct committeemen. They are the folks who determine who are going to be slated for all local, state, and federal elections. The US Senators are supposed to be the
voice of their state, and to vote with the best interests of their states being their top priority. So you actually need to elect conservative Governors and state legislators if you want
the US Senators that are conservative.
It's true that many incumbent US Senators are not doing what they are supposed to be doing in terms of the best wishes of the Governor and state legislators from where they are elected. They get enamored with power and their measure of success is based on how many more people call them for help. A better measure of success would be based on how many more people are no longer in need of any help. The longer that a person serves as a US Senator the more prone they are to become remote and detached from their state and more enamored with personal power. I am only aware of two of these dozen even getting challenged in the primary, John McCain of AZ and Bob Bennett of UT. It is wrong to simply be against an incumbent senator if you have no challenger who you are for. Another thing to recognize is how difficult it is to have a very conservative senator from a state that has elected a very liberal governor and state legislators.
Here are the twelve incumbent Republican Senators running for reelection.
BENNETT, Robert, (1933 - ) Senate Years of Service: 1993-
BURR, Richard M., (1955 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2005-
COBURN, Thomas Allen, (1948 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2005-
CRAPO, Michael Dean, (1951 - ) Senate Years of Service: 1999-
DeMINT, James W., (1951 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2005-
GRASSLEY, Charles Ernest, (1933 - ) Senate Years of Service: 1981-
ISAKSON, Johnny, (1944 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2005-
McCAIN, John Sidney, III, (1936 - ) Senate Years of Service: 1987-
MURKOWSKI, Lisa, (1957 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2002-
SHELBY, Richard C., (1934 - ) Senate Years of Service: 1987-
THUNE, John, (1961 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2005-
VITTER, David, (1961 - ) Senate Years of Service: 2005-