Four Democratic senators facing tough reelection fights voted in favor of the immigration reform measure on Thursday afternoon, opening themselves up to likely attacks from conservatives heading into 2014 and beyond.
Sen. Al FrankenAl FrankenDems press ITT Tech to give students right to sue Consumer internet privacy: Leaving the back door unlocked Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (D-Minn.), who is also up for reelection but considered less vulnerable, also voted for the bill. No Democrats voted against the legislation.
A handful of Republicans in blue and swing states — some of who could see primary challenges — voted for passage.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' MORE (S.C.), up for reelection in 2014, voted for the bill.
He has long faced criticism from conservatives for his record, though no primary challenger has yet emerged, and he's long been an outspoken supporter of reform.
Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill MORE (N.H.), Marco RubioMarco RubioFla. Senate candidate bashes Rubio The Hill's 12:30 Report Rubio: 'Maybe' would run for Senate seat if 'good friend' wasn't MORE (Fla.) aren't up for reelection until 2016, but their support for the reform measure is already causing consternation among conservatives.
Most notably, Tea Party leader Sarah Palin suggested the two should face primary challenges.
And Rubio, who is seen as a probable 2016 contender, has seen his poll numbers drop in the past month, as debate over the bill intensified.
Critics say his role in crafting and selling the measure to the public could hurt him with Republican primary voters and jeopardize his presidential aspirations.
Also up for reelection in 2016 is Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkFunding boost for TSA sails through committee GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo VA chief 'deeply' regrets if Disney comment offended vets MORE (R-Ill.), whose vote for the bill could help him appeal to centrist voters in his blue state.
Sen. Dean HellerDean HellerLake Mead hits record low water level Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump Press: Forget about GOP unity in 2016 MORE (R-Nev.), up in 2018 in a swing state, will also need to appeal to that voting bloc.
GOP debate over the bill has highlighted a split within the party on reform. Conservatives generally oppose what they say is a temporary stop-gap measure that does little to solve the problem and offers inadequate border security provisions.
The no-votes from National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry MoranJerry MoranGOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Passing the Kelsey Smith Act will help law enforcement save lives Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (Kans.) and his NRSC deputies, Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanJuan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video Liberal super-PAC hits Johnson for supporting Trump MORE (Ohio) and Ted CruzTed CruzMcConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Cruz holds back support for Trump with eye on abortion Trump takes victory lap over rivals' remarks MORE (Texas), underscore what a politically perilous issue immigration may be for some Republicans going forward.
In the House, a large contingent of far-right members have pledged to oppose the Senate measure.