Washington (CNN) – Just how bad is the political environment for incumbents?
Even the GOP Senator in charge of electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate admitted to CNN he's glad he's not on the ballot.
"Thank goodness I'm not running this time," said Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Cornyn was responding to a question about dim prospects for his colleague from Utah, Sen. Robert Bennett, a third-term incumbent who could lose his place on Utah's ballot as GOP candidate for re-election.
Utah Republicans will vote at their convention this weekend, and many conservatives are angry about some of Bennett's positions and votes in Washington, such as his support for the bank bailout in 2008.
"This is a really tough year for all incumbents because people are horrified by what they see coming out of Washington these days, and they don't distinguish between people who vote no and people who vote yes," said Cornyn, speaking in a hallway just outside the Senate chamber.
"That's the kind of headwind incumbents, including Republicans, are running into in the primaries."
At the same time, Cornyn suggested he's not altogether comfortable with the efforts of GOP Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina to back conservative candidates in other states around the country.
"I recognize that people as conservative as I am may not be able to get elected in some parts of the country, and my goal is simply to build our numbers so we can provide checks and balances to single party power here in Washington, D.C.," said Cornyn.
The NRSC Chairman said he understands DeMint's goal is to move the Republican conference in a more conservative direction, but Cornyn made clear that may not be practical.
"If that were possible and we were able to win elections all around the country I would be all for it, but I think as a pragmatic matter we have to nominate and elect Republicans who can get elected in their states," said Cornyn.