What to do about the primaries has become Topic A in many a post-election Republican soul-searching session, and now the first steps are being taken to address the issue. For Senate Republicans, that means a modified return to their 2010 posture of openly playing in primaries. A retiring House Republican is starting a super PAC to help House members challenged from the right. And an RNC commission is mulling over changes to the party’s presidential primary.
In the Senate, where at least five GOP losses in the past two election cycles could be attributed to primaries, Republican leaders are planning to intervene in selected 2014 races to ensure preferred candidates win the nomination.
High-profile Senate Republicans are going to try to pre-empt bloody primaries with aggressive, early recruitment and support — effectively trying to clear fields.
“Instead of worrying about resolving a contested primary and upsetting a lot of folks on both sides … you recruit the best candidate on the front end,” explained Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio.), a newly named NRSC vice chairman and close ally of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.