The handful of Republican lawmakers who have supported a withdrawal of troops from Iraq may soon find themselves out of a job if GOP loyalists have their way. Republicans like Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina, and Maryland's Wayne Gilchrest are facing tough new challenges from pro-war primary competitors. At least one, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, has decided to retire rather than battle hawkish rivals.
Despite predictions that public opposition to the Iraq operation would convince more GOP lawmakers to back anti-war legislation, Republican support for troop withdrawals has fallen since the beginning of the year. After Hagel criticized President Bush, Nebraskans flocked to support his challenger, and Jones' former constituents are now applauding rival Joe McLaughlin, who calls Jones' stance "a message of defeat."