Five incumbent House members in primaries

March 13, 2012 at 4:00 AM
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 13 (UPI) -- Five U.S. House incumbents face primary challenges in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, even as most attention was expected to be on the GOP presidential race.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., squares off against state Sen. Scott Beason, a key player in drafting the state's restrictive new immigration law.

Beason -- who has raised less than $75,000 but is supported by the Campaign for Primary Accountability, an anti-incumbent political action committee -- bills himself as providing "true conservative leadership."

Bachus is fending off an insider-trading investigation, The Washington Post first reported a month ago.

CPA has spent more than $200,000 to support Beason, the Post said.

A CPA TV ad says: "Rock the boat. Vote in the March 13 Republican primary."

House Ethics Committee Chairman Jo Bonner, R-Ala., faces a challenge from conservative businessman Dean Young, who has assailed Bonner for voting for the bank bailout in 2008 and for raising the debt ceiling.

CPA has spent $121,000 against Bonner.

Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., a Tea Party freshman, is not a CPA target, the Post said, but is being sharply criticized in TV ads by former Eupora, Miss., Mayor Henry Ross, a former judge and prosecutor, for voting to fund Planned Parenthood clinics, raising the debt ceiling and backing "the war on free enterprise."

Rep. Bennie Thompson -- former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and the lone Democrat in the Mississippi delegation -- faces Greenville, Miss., Mayor Heather McTeer, running as a progressive.

Thompson has a $1.6 million campaign fund that the Post said would be hard for McTeer's $140,000 to overcome.

Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., faces Tea Party candidate Ron Vincent, but has a big financial advantage -- $300,000 to Vincent's self-funded $25,000, the Post said.

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