Twenty-eight Republicans voted yes on the debt ceiling vote
and unlike some past
votes that broke with most of the GOP, this one does not look like it
was driven by members in tough re-election fights.
Instead it looks mainly about the leadership (including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.) along with some
added members who took a tough vote. We count just five of the 28 running
for re-election who are in some of the tougher general election fights for 2014
The average partisanship of the districts of "yes" voting Republicans is
+5 for the GOP, which is a fairly comfortable number these days (and
which is partly explained by the votes of House leadership, who tend to
hail from safer districts.) Still, it was far from a leadership sweep -
with members like Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and House Budget
Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as "no" votes as well as some committee chairs.
The other interesting note is geography: most of the "yes" votes came from
members in blue states - even if not in marginal districts - including a
heavy contingent from California, New York, and Pennsylvania.
We'll watch to see whether some conservative groups urge primaries
against any of the members - which has generally been a threat through
previous fiscal fights. But politically that's a delicate balance. Given
the polling hit that the party took during the last shutdown, some will
argue that avoiding another such prolonged battle could have saved
broader damage to the party brand. On average, their districts are
comfortable for the GOP, but not entirely unassailable should a
Republican incumbent be replaced in a primary.
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