getting primaried. It gets a lot of attention but actually doesn't
happen that much, although ideological challenges to incumbents are on
the increase over the 2000s, particularly within the GOP. Still, the
numbers are nowhere near historic highs. But then they really don't
have to be. The threat from a group like the Club for Growth is
effective, Boatright says, until the group actually follows through.
Then the legislative campaign committee will invariably kick in and
help the incumbent, who usually prevails.
Here I disagree. I would guess that Joe Lieberman would rather have
avoided the Ned Lamont challenge if he could have. It weakened his
national profile, it destroyed his chances of becoming the Democratic
nominee for president, he ended up owing people like Barack Obama
favors, etc. Even if they're likely to win, incumbents would rather
avoid the challenge if possible. Challenges require too much work and
put you in the debt of others.