Have primaries ever been used to remove a popular incumbent in the United States or elsewhere?
I was thinking about an interesting idea. Sometimes one candidate attracts a lot of crossover support because they themselves take crossover stances to appeal to voters.
However, let's say this candidate (called candidate X1) is not super popular because of the state's partisan demographics, the candidate is not "good enough" for the normally dominant party, or a combination. Here is how this would go down in theory:
Let's say party Y's voters make a decision to vote in Party Z's primary as a group/en masse to elect a more ideological candidate to advance to the general election, thus firing Candidate X1 and giving Candidate X2 little chance in the general. They choose to do this because they believe this is the most feasible way to remove Candidate X1 from office.
Interestingly, this forms a coalition between loyal members of both parties. This is because there are a lot of independent voters in this state who are willing to cross over for the moderate candidate X1 in the general election but not the more polarizing X2.
Candidate A1 advances to the general election as a member of Party Y. Because A1 is running against X2 and not X1, A1 is no longer considered a "sacrificial lamb". As a result of this and the state's partisan lean, A1 is elected as the governor of this hypothetical state.
Has such an event happened in real life or been tried in the US or elsewhere?