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How badly have Republicans hurt themselves?

October 21, 2013, at 2:34 PM
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a primary challenge in Kentucky.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a primary challenge in Kentucky. Photo: (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

With the the federal government reopened and the debt ceiling lifted, we're just starting to see the political ramifications of the three-week stalemate.They're mostly negative for Republicans. But it's more than a year until the 2014 elections, which is a very long time in politics. We're not going to know for several months how much electoral damage Republicans inflicted on themselves.

Here's what I'll be looking for over the next few months:

1. Will Democrats be able to recruit stronger House candidates?

Former FEMA Director James Lee Witt (D) announced he would run for Congress in Arkansas for the seat currently held by Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). This is exactly the type of high-profile candidate Democrats are looking to recruit.

2. Will Republican incumbents face the primary challenges they said they feared during the standoff?

Six of the 12 Republican senators up for re-election already have primary challenges, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Sarah Palin and conservatives like Erick Erickson are eager for more GOP primary challengers.

3. How will fundraising be impacted for either side?

After a botched 2012 election cycle, big GOP donors are growing frustrated with their party and are appalled at how little has changed.

4. Will any lawmakers decide against running for re-election?

Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) announced today he would not run again after just two terms despite a very promising career ahead. It can't be much fun to be a member of Congress these days.

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