Big 2014 for incumbents so far

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The 2014 primary season has so far been a showcase for the power of incumbency.

Writing in “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,”Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics says 273 of the 275 House incumbents who sought re-election were renominated for their seats — as were all 18 Senate incumbents.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Ralph Hall of Texas, both Republicans, have been the only incumbents to come out on the losing end of a primary race this year.

“Forgive us for being a broken record on this point, but it’s still very beneficial to be an incumbent in a congressional election, particularly a primary,” Mr. Kondik said, adding that a handful of House members — and a senator — will have to lose in the remaining primaries just to match postwar averages.

“Since the end of World War II, just 1.6 percent of House incumbents who have sought another term were not renominated by their party, and just 4.6 percent of Senate incumbents,” he said. “Anti-incumbent insurgents are going to have to hustle to even match the paltry postwar averages.”

Mr. Kondik said that the best chances for an incumbent loss in the Senate could be in Hawaii, where Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and Kansas, where Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, faces a challenge from Milton Wolf.

On the House side, Mr. Kondik said that, among other places, incumbents could be in trouble in Michigan, where Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, a Republican, faces off against wealthy foreclosure attorney David Trott, and Tennessee, where Rep. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is running against state Sen. Jim Tracy.

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