Sullivan latest congressional incumbent to be defeated

Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) talks with reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol September 21, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK)
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(CBS News) Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., became the ninth incumbent to lose his Congressional seat in a primary this year, losing to tea party-backed Jim Bridenstine on Tuesday.

The nine incumbent defeats has surpassed 2010's total, when four incumbents lost, but is still far fewer than 1992, when 19 incumbents did not make it to the general election.

Even though Congress' approval ratings are at historic lows, like it was in 2010 when 54 members were defeated in the general election but less than a handful in the primary, this year resembles the circumstances of 1992 for a couple of reasons: It is an election year and many districts faced new boundaries and demographics through redistricting which takes place every ten years.

Of the nine lawmakers who have lost so far this year, four lost to their colleagues through redistricting fights and five lost to outside challengers.

Lawmakers who lost to primary challengers this year:

  • Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, lost to tea party-backed primary challenger Brad Wenstrup
  • Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa., lost to attorney Matt Cartwright
  • Rep. Sylvestre Reyes, D-Tex., lost to former El Paso city councilman Beto O'Rourke
  • Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., lost to tea party-backed Richard Mourdock
  • Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., lost to tea party-backed Jim Bridenstine

Member vs. member races:

  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, lost to Rep. Marcy Kaptur
  • Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., lost to Rep. Adam Kinzinger
  • Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., lost to Rep. Mark Critz
  • Rep. Steven Rothman, D-N.J., lost to Rep. Bill Pascrell

Nineteen more states will hold primaries this year and although incumbents are expected to win, a handful of races are pitting incumbents against each other in newly formed districts in Florida, Arizona and Louisiana.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for