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Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2012 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky, listens at right as Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Twice burned, Republicans are treading carefully around tea party groups as they pursue a Senate majority that slipped through their fingers in 2010 and 2012. "You'd have to be an idiot not to prepare" for primary challenges, says one past director of the Republicans' Senate campaign committee. Strongly conservative candidates have captured primaries in the past two election cycles, only to lose winnable races in the fall. Sen, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is at left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. is second from right.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)

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