GOP to Pick Favorites in Primaries?

Given the overwhelming majorities the Republicans hold in the state House and Senate, are they just looking around for ways to spend money?

During this election cycle, the money raised by the House Republican caucus may be spent in Republican primaries. It is not unheard of for Republicans to provide some money for incumbents. But given tea party challenges in primaries of late, and the paucity of Democratic seats to contest, caucus money in primaries could be used to keep incumbents in power. A primary challenge could weaken a Republican candidate and open the door for a Democratic pickup in a marginal district.

The Republicans elected this campaign cycle will choose the next speaker of the House, current Speaker Beth Harwell being up for re-election to another two-year term. Traditionally, new members of the House are grateful for financial support and vote for the caucus candidates. Harwell seems firmly in control of her members and has ultimate authority of the expending of caucus funds.

It is not likely that there will be an effort to elect more conservative Republicans and possibly challenge Harwell.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, some members are getting hefty five-figure contributions from a fellow member. This usually is the method used by some to garner support to run for Senate speaker, aka lieutenant governor. It isn’t likely that anyone will challenge the popular Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who has used his RAMPAC money to help keep his Republican majority. But if he should decide not to run again, maybe somebody wants to be ready.

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