The uncivil war inside the Texas Republican party may be about to break wide open. Elements of the Tea Party are encouraging Tyler congressman Louie Gohmert to challenge U.S. senator John Cornyn in the Republican primary. As minority whip, Cornyn is the second-highest ranking Republican in Congress. His defeat, though unlikely, would be a major setback for the influence of the state of Texas.

The 2014 Republican primary season could evolve into internecine warfare of Republicans vs. Republicans, marking a return to the 2005-2006 era of “RINO” hunts. There are elements of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives that already targeting members; said to be among the targets are J.D. Sheffield and Bennett Ratliff (boasts like, “We’re going to bring your boy Ratliff down” are being thrown around). Joe Straus will likely have to face a rematch with his previous primary opponent as well.

AP Photo | Carolyn Kaster