There is a sudden big push in primary races to "Protect the incumbent" by the Republican caucus. That seems to be a new norm. There are 23 Republican primary challenges this year. That compares to just five primary challenges to GOP incumbents in both 2010 and 2008.
I ran in one of those five primaries. Two if you consider I ran as a sitting legislator when I was running for the senate. I can say for a fact the caucus never in the past got involved in primaries in favor of the incumbent in any way shape or form, at least not this incumbent.
I guess times have changed. Now the governor is saying the same thing as the caucus. That we need to protect the incumbents.
So lets go over what they are doing.
The governor has done a blanket endorsement of all the incumbents.....All two of them.
What? There are more then 2 incumbents you may say. Isn't the governor and caucus going to be fair and support and endorse them all? So far the governor said he is only coming out for. Doug Overby and Richard Montgomery and has said he will do fundraising for them.
On the flip side the TEA party has strongly come out against Overby saying he is target number one. They are calling this "Tennessee's Dick Lugar moment"
Is this a power struggle for the direction of the caucus? What is the governor and caucus criteria for support? Will this be the standard push to "Protect ALL the incumbents" or will it just be for a select few in leadership who fall in line on every issue?
Snubs like that do not ingratiate the rank and file legislators to the incumbents who get the support, the caucus leadership or the governor. If the caucus and the titular head of the party are going to make those sorts of statements of support there should be a standard. Otherwise there could be changes to leadership should the other 21 come back.