"Still, the alarm is most acute in the Senate. Party strategists have seen private polling in a number of states that shows McConnell deeply unpopular with his fellow Republicans. In Arizona they have found Flake trailing his primary challenger, Kelli Ward, a former state senator, by a significant margin."
Republicans are confronting an insurrection on the right that is angry enough to imperil their grip on Congress, with a conservative base that now loathes its leaders in Washington the same way it detested President Barack Obama.
The defeat of Sen. Luther Strange, Republican of Alabama, in a primary election on Tuesday night appears to have ushered in a season of savage nomination fights and activist-led attacks on party leaders, especially on Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. Despite enjoying the strong backing of President Donald Trump, Strange lost by a wide margin to Roy Moore, a firebrand religious activist and former judge, who denounced Strange as a puppet of the Senate leader.
Strange’s demise, senior party strategists and conservative activists said Wednesday, makes it likelier that Republican incumbents in the House and Senate will face serious primary challenges in 2018, fueled by anger at the party’s apparent ineptitude at wielding power in Washington. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist and a vehement antagonist of the party establishment, said on Tuesday night that he intends to target Republican senators in Mississippi, Arizona and Nevada for defeat.
“If you can defeat a guy like Luther Strange by simply tying him to Mitch McConnell, what does that mean for guys like Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, who are literally Never Trumpers, or a guy like Roger Wicker, who’s in Senate leadership?” said Surabian. His comment was in reference to GOP senators from Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi. “I hope none of them have a long-term lease in Washington, D.C.”
And that rebellion could spread.