So in what was generally billed the last big 2014 Tea Party primary challenge to the Republican Establishment, at least in Senate contests, Pat Roberts dispatched Milton Wolf by a 48-41 margin, comfortable enough though nothing like Roberts’ lead in most polls. It’s reasonably clear in retrospect that a stronger candidate than Wolf (whose chance of winning was probably destroyed when it came out that the radiologist had posted on Facebook videos of his own self making mocking commentaries on X-ray images of people with terrible injuries) could have taken out Roberts.

It’s also worth remembering that Roberts (who has a lifetime rating of 86% from both the American Conservative Union and Americans for Prosperity) scrambled to cover his right flank when it became obvious he was in potential peril. He voted against an appropriations bill that included a long-cherished project at his alma mater, Kansas State University, and opposed a UN treaty banning discrimination against people with disabilities over the objections of Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum. A conservative Republican Senator became more conservative and survived. That’s pretty much the story of the 2014 GOP Senate primary cycle, really.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.