Maine gubernatorial election, 2014

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Maine Gubernatorial Election

Primary Date
June 10, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

Race rating: Toss-up

November 4 Election Winner:
Paul LePage Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Paul LePage Republican Party

Maine State Executive Elections

Battleground Races
Maine State Senate

Divided government
WhoRunsTheStates Badge.jpg
State executive offices in Maine
Flag of Maine.png
The Maine gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Paul LePage (R) was running for re-election to a second term. LePage won election to another four-year term.

Maine is one of 12 states to use a strictly closed primary process, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members.[1][2][3]

The race between LePage, Democratic candidate Mike Michaud and independent candidate Eliot Cutler was close throughout 2014. Polling information available in the polls section showed narrow margins between LePage and Michaud. Learn more about developments in the election by reading the race background section or check out the campaign media section for a collection of campaign ads aired during the race.

The gubernatorial race was not the only race on the November ballot that could shift the balance of power in Maine. The Maine State Senate was identified by Ballotpedia as one of the top 20 legislative chambers to watch in 2014. LePage's victory on November 4 prevented a state government trifecta, or single-party control, for the Democrats.


General election

Republican Party Paul LePage - IncumbentGreen check mark transparent.png[4][5]
Democratic Party Mike Michaud - U.S. House Rep.[6][7]
Independent Eliot Cutler - Former congressional aide and 2010 Independent candidate for governor[5][8][9]


Independent Lee Schultheis - Retired finance executive[10]

Failed to qualify

Independent Adam Eldridge - Project Engineer[11]
Independent David Slagger, Maine Green Independent Party - Ex-Maliseet Tribal Rep. to the state legislature and 2012 state house candidate[12]

Race background

Paul LePage ran for a second term as governor in 2014.[13][6] The often divisive Republican was widely considered one of the most vulnerable gubernatorial incumbents facing re-election this year. Sources ranging from Governing, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Washington Post and Daily Kos rated the 2014 Maine governor's race as a tossup.[14][15][16][17] In June 2013, after Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud launched his bid for the office, LePage briefly indicated interest in running for Michaud's seat in the U.S. House in 2014 as a way to avoid the risk of a formidable challenge. LePage ultimately decided to seek re-election as governor.[18][19]

Cutler's declining fortunes in the general election

The back-and-forth results of polls published in October led supporters of Michaud to call for Cutler's withdrawal from the gubernatorial race. Cutler, who lost to LePage by 1.7 percent in 2010, was seen as a drain on Michaud's poll figures due to their similar political leanings. The independent candidate averaged about 13 percent in October polls gathered by Ballotpedia, while LePage and Michaud each approached 40 percent. Cutler called an October 29 press conference to address these concerns, raising the hopes of Democratic supporters who asked for his withdrawal. He announced plans to remain in the race and stated, "Anyone who has supported me but who now worries that I cannot win and is thereby compelled by their fears or by their conscience to vote instead for Mr. LePage or Mr. Michaud should do so."[20]

U.S. Sen. Angus King (I) had a change of heart on the same day as Cutler's press conference. He endorsed Cutler in August, but switched his support to U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D) because "the voters of Maine are not prepared to elect Eliot in 2014."[21][22]

Campaign finance decision in district court

An August 22 decision by U.S. District Court judge D. Brock Hornby regarding campaign finance limits in Maine may have contributed to more money in the gubernatorial race. Hornby ruled that a group of four donors to the campaign of independent candidate Eliot Cutler could go beyond a $1,500 per person limit on general election contributions for unaffiliated candidates. Democratic and Republican candidates in Maine enjoy a higher contribution limit because they can max out the individual donation limit in the primary and general election reporting periods. Both major-party candidates did not face primary challenges this year, though the individual limit reset after the statewide primary on June 10.[23]

Attorneys representing the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices defended the contribution limits, citing their ability to reduce corrupt practices. The state's attorneys also argued that supporters can use PACs to support their preferred candidates. Hornby dismissed these arguments, noting that the current limitation treats contributors differently based on their political leanings. The decision left open the question of whether all donors to Cutler could contribute $3,000 ahead of the general election, or if the ruling focused on the four plaintiffs. The donors who brought the original lawsuit will also pursue further action to enshrine Hornby's decision into state law.[23]

The Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously on August 27 to not enforce the $1,500 limit for each election, opting instead for a $3,000 per individual limit for the 2014 election cycle. The board's decision only applied to the 2014 election, and the Maine State Legislature would need to act for similar changes in future elections.[24]

Dueling campaign finance complaints

The Maine Democratic Party filed an ethics complaints in early October against Paul LePage, claiming that the governor used state property as part of his re-election campaign. The complaint argued that a campaign spokesperson used a state-funded vehicle in order to reach election-related events. The state Republican Party countered with a complaint against Mike Michaud that accused the U.S. House member of using federal campaign money for his gubernatorial campaign. The Maine Ethics Commission unanimously rejected further investigation of both claims on October 10, 2014.[25]

Michaud's revelation

On November 4, 2013, after establishing himself as the race's front-runner, Michaud disclosed in an op-ed column submitted to three of the state’s major news outlets that he is gay.[26] Michaud emphasized that his sexuality was irrelevant to his ability to perform in public office. He said he came out in response to "whisper campaigns" instigated by opponents in order to cast suspicion about his personal life.[27] The revelation put Michaud in the running to become the first openly gay man or woman to be elected governor in the nation's history, though he ultimately lost to Gov. LePage.


Governor of Maine, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPaul LePage Incumbent 48.2% 294,533
     Democratic Mike Michaud 43.4% 265,125
     Independent Eliot Cutler 8.4% 51,518
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 79
Total Votes 611,255
Election Results via Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions.


October 8 debate

Paul LePage (R), Mike Michaud (D) and Eliot Cutler (I) discussed the state's economic health during a debate that seemed unlikely to happen only a month earlier. LePage, who was reluctant to debate his opponents throughout the general election, touted the state's healthy budget and repayments to state hospitals as examples of his first-term successes. He also noted that Michaud was symbolic of the state's Democratic legislators, who had not delivered on past promises.[28]

Michaud countered that he was the only candidate on stage who had worked with Democrats and Republicans during his time in the United States House of Representatives. He also highlighted LePage's argumentative reputation with state legislators as a reason to replace him in the governor's office. Cutler noted that voters had an opportunity to turn their backs on failed policies from Republican and Democratic governors by casting ballots for his independent candidacy.[28]


General election match-ups (October 2014)

2014 Maine gubernatorial election- Three-way race
Poll Mike Michaud (D) Paul LePage* (R)Eliot Cutler (I)Undecided or refusedMargin of ErrorSample Size
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
{September 20-October 1, 2014}
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
(October 5-7, 2014)
Bangor Daily News/Ipsos
(October 6-12, 2014)
Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald
(October 15-21, 2014)
Public Policy Polling
(October 22-23, 2014)
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
(October 16-23, 2014)
Magellan Strategies
(October 23-24, 2014)
Ipsos Poll
(October 23-29, 2014)
AVERAGES 39.95% 39.54% 13.4% 6.86% +/-3.72 936.25
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

General election match-ups (August 2013-September 2014)

2014 Maine gubernatorial election - Three-way race
Poll Mike Michaud (D) Paul LePage* (R)Eliot Cutler (I)Undecided or refusedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
(August 23-25, 2013)
Maine People's Resource Center
(September 8-10, 2013)
Public Policy Poll
(November 8-11, 2013)
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
(January 13-23, 2014)
Public Policy Polling
(April 1-2, 2014)
The Pan Atlantic SMS Group
(March 31- April 5, 2014)
Rasmussen Reports
(April 23-25, 2014)
Public Policy Polling
(May 5-6, 2014)
Maine People's Resource Center
(July 26-28, 2014)
Rasmussen Reports
(September 3-4, 2014)
Public Policy Polling
(September 9, 2014)
Portland Press Herald
(September 18-25, 2014)
Pan Atlantic SMS Group
(September 23-29, 2014)
AVERAGES 40.65% 37.79% 15.48% 6.08% +/-2.38 694.08
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Note: An asterisk (*) is used to denote incumbent status
Hypothetical and other match-ups

2014 Maine gubernatorial election - Two-way race
Poll Mike Michaud (D) Paul LePage* (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research/National Education Association
(July 11-16, 2013)
Public Policy Polling
(August 23-25, 2013)
Maine People's Resource Center
(September 8-10, 2013)
Public Policy Poll
(November 8-11, 2013)
Portland Press Herald
(June 12-18, 2014)
AVERAGES 54.98% 38.42% 6.38% +/-3.81 718.8
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Note: An asterisk (*) is used to denote incumbent status

Hypothetical Match-up Poll
Poll Mike Michaud (D) Paul LePage* (R)Eliot Cutler (I)Margin of ErrorSample Size
Portland Press Herald
(June 12-18, 2014)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Note: An asterisk (*) is used to denote incumbent status

Hypothetical Match-up Poll
Poll Eliot Cutler (I) Paul LePage* (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Portland Press Herald
(June 12-18, 2014)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Note: An asterisk (*) is used to denote incumbent status

Campaign media

Eliot Cutler

Eliot Cutler ad: Jobs & the Economy

Eliot Cutler ad: Wait for Debates

Eliot Cutler ad: Angus King Endorsement

Eliot Cutler ad: Infrastructure

Mike Michaud

Mike Michaud ad: Millworker

Mike Michaud ad: Made in Maine

Mike Michaud ad: Jump-Start

Paul LePage

Paul LePage ad: Truth

Paul LePage ad: Honor Our Veterans

Outside groups

Maine Conservation Voters

Maine Conservation Voters ad: Clear Choice

Maine Forward

Maine Forward ad: Moving Again

Maine Forward ad: Character

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood ad: Trust

Republican Governors Association

RGA ad: Step Back

RGA ad: Trust

RGA ad: Open for Business

Ad spending

The Wesleyan Media Project published a report on September 30, 2014, highlighting spending on gubernatorial races from September 12-25. This report found that Democratic and Republican groups spent a total of $46.84 million on TV ads in 15 states with gubernatorial elections. The following chart details the group's findings, including spending amounts and number of ads:[29]

Note: A bolded number indicates the highest total for this category. A number in italics is the lowest total for this category.

Spending on TV ads, September 12-25, 2014
State Total # of ads  % Democratic-leaning ads  % GOP-leaning ads Total spending-Democratic leaning (in millions of $) Total spending-GOP leaning (in millions of $)
Colorado 2,460 83.1 16.9 1.35 0.39
Connecticut 2,312 61.7 38.3 1.48 0.89
Florida 20,111 38.5 61.5 4.07 6.64
Georgia 4,625 51.1 48.9 1.43 0.99
Illinois 7,793 63.5 36.5 4.17 3.5
Iowa 2,134 47.5 52.5 0.25 0.38
Kansas 5,024 45.7 54.3 0.85 1.17
Maine 3,281 42.3 57.7 0.46 0.32
Michigan 6,767 33.9 66.1 1.14 2.3
Minnesota 1,974 83.9 16.1 0.65 0.29
New York 4,926 61 39 2.18 0.88
Pennsylvania 3,263 50.9 49.1 1.58 1.23
South Carolina 2,883 39.1 60.9 0.33 0.38
Texas 10,330 33.4 66.6 2.24 2.93
Wisconsin 7,374 63.3 36.7 1.36 1.01
TOTALS 85,257 48.2 51.8 23.54 23.3

Campaign finance

Comprehensive donor information for this election has been collected by Follow the Money. Based on available campaign finance records, the candidates raised a raised a total of $8,238,300 during the election. This information was last updated on March 27, 2015.[30]

Campaign Contribution Totals
Candidate Office Result Contributions
Eliot Cutler Independent Governor of Maine Defeated $3,121,781
Michael Michaud Democratic Party Governor of Maine Defeated $3,093,097
Paul LePage Republican Party Governor of Maine Won $2,023,422
Grand Total Raised $8,238,300

Past elections

Margin of victory analysis

The average margin of victory in the past three races for governor was 5.1 percent. The smallest margin of victory was 1.7 percent in 2010, while the largest margin of victory was 7.9 percent in 2006. Third-party candidates have significantly increased their vote shares in the past three elections, earning 11.4 percent, 31.8 percent and 52.7 percent of votes in 2002, 2006 and 2010, respectively. The following chart compares the margin of victory for winners of gubernatorial races with the margin of victory for candidates who won the most votes for the top race on the ballot:[31]

Margin of victory analysis
Year Gov. candidate margin of victory (%) Party of winning candidate Top race on ballot Party of winning candidate Margin of victory (%)
2010 1.7 Republican Party - - -
2006 7.9 Democratic Party U.S. Senate Republican Party 53.6
2002 5.6 Democratic Party U.S. Senate Republican Party 16.8

Note: There was no statewide vote for federal office in 2010.


See also: Maine gubernatorial election, 2010
Governor of Maine, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPaul LePage 37.6% 218,065
     Independent Eliot Cutler 35.9% 208,270
     Democratic Elizabeth Mitchell 18.8% 109,387
     Independent Shawn H. Moody 5% 28,756
     Independent Kevin L. Scott 1% 5,664
     Blanks - 1.3% 7,772
     Others Various 0.5% 2,624
Total Votes 580,538
Election Results via Maine Secretary of State


Governor of Maine, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn E. Baldacci Incumbent 38.1% 209,927
     Republican Chandler E. Woodcock 30.2% 166,425
     Independent Barbara Merrill 21.6% 118,715
     Green Patricia H. LaMarche 9.6% 52,690
     Independent Phillip Morris Napier 0.6% 3,108
Total Votes 550,865
Election Results via Maine Secretary of State


Governor of Maine, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn E. Baldacci 47.1% 238,179
     Republican Peter E. Cianchette 41.5% 209,496
     Green Jonathan K. Carter 9.3% 46,903
     Independent John M. Michael 2.1% 10,612
Total Votes 505,190
Election Results via Maine Secretary of State

Voter turnout

Political scientist Michael McDonald's United States Elections Project studied voter turnout in the 2014 election by looking at the percentage of eligible voters who headed to the polls. McDonald used voting-eligible population (VEP), or the number of eligible voters independent of their current registration status, to calculate turnout rates in each state on November 4. He also incorporated ballots cast for the highest office in each state into his calculation. He estimated that 81,687,059 ballots were cast in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, representing 35.9 percent of the VEP.[32] By comparison, 61.6 percent of VEP voted in the 2008 presidential election and 58.2 percent of VEP voted in the 2012 presidential election.[33]

Quick facts

  • According to PBS Newshour, voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was the lowest since the 1942 midterms, which took place during the nation's involvement in World War II.[34]
  • Forty-three states and the District of Columbia failed to surpass 50 percent turnout in McDonald's analysis.
  • The three states with the lowest turnout according to McDonald's analysis were Texas (28.3 percent), Tennessee (28.6 percent) and Indiana (28.8 percent).
  • Maine (58.5 percent), Wisconsin (56.5 percent) and Colorado (54.5 percent) were the three states with the highest turnout.
  • There were only 12 states that increased voter turnout in 2014 compared to the 2010 midterm elections.[35]
Voter turnout rates, 2014
State Total votes counted  % voter eligible population Top statewide office up for election Size of lead (Raw votes) Size of lead (%)
Alabama 1,191,274 33.2 Governor 320,319 27.2
Alaska 285,431 54.4 Governor 4,004 1.6
Arizona 1,537,671 34.1 Governor 143,951 12.5
Arkansas 852,642 40.1 Governor 118,664 14
California 7,513,972 30.8 Governor 1,065,748 17.8
Colorado 2,080,071 54.5 Governor 50,395 2.4
Connecticut 1,096,509 42.5 Governor 26,603 2.5
Delaware 234,038 34.4 Attorney General 31,155 13.6
District of Columbia 177,176 35.8 Mayor 27,934 19
Florida 6,026,802 43.3 Governor 66,127 1.1
Georgia 2,596,947 38.5 Governor 202,685 8
Hawaii 369,554 36.5 Governor 45,323 12.4
Idaho 445,307 39.6 Governor 65,852 14.9
Illinois 3,680,417 40.9 Governor 171,900 4.9
Indiana 1,387,622 28.8 Secretary of State 234,978 17.8
Iowa 1,142,284 50.2 Governor 245,548 21.8
Kansas 887,023 43.4 Governor 33,052 3.9
Kentucky 1,435,868 44 U.S. Senate 222,096 15.5
Louisiana 1,472,039 43.8 U.S. Senate 16,401 1.1
Maine 616,996 58.5 Governor 29,820 4.9
Maryland 1,733,177 41.5 Governor 88,648 6.1
Massachusetts 2,186,789 44.6 Governor 40,361 1.9
Michigan 3,188,956 43.2 Governor 129,547 4.3
Minnesota 1,992,613 50.5 Governor 109,776 5.6
Mississippi 631,858 28.9 U.S. Senate 141,234 33
Missouri 1,426,303 31.8 Auditor 684,074 53.6
Montana 373,831 47.3 U.S. Senate 65,262 17.9
Nebraska 552,115 41.5 Governor 97,678 18.7
Nevada 547,349 29 Governor 255,793 46.7
New Hampshire 495,565 48.4 Governor 24,924 5.2
New Jersey 1,955,042 32.5 N/A N/A N/A
New Mexico 512,805 35.7 Governor 73,868 14.6
New York 3,930,310 29 Governor 476,252 13.4
North Carolina 2,939,767 41.2 U.S. Senate 48,511 1.7
North Dakota 255,128 45 U.S. House At-large seat 42,214 17.1
Ohio 3,149,876 36.2 Governor 933,235 30.9
Oklahoma 824,831 29.8 Governor 122,060 14.7
Oregon 1,541,782 53.5 Governor 59,029 4.5
Pennsylvania 3,495,866 36 Governor 339,261 9.8
Rhode Island 329,212 42.2 Governor 14,346 4.5
South Carolina 1,261,611 35.2 Governor 179,089 14.6
South Dakota 282,291 44.9 Governor 124,865 45.1
Tennessee 1,374,065 28.6 Governor 642,214 47.5
Texas 4,727,208 28.3 Governor 957,973 20.4
Utah 577,973 30.2 Attorney General 173,819 35.2
Vermont 193,087 38.8 Governor 2,095 1.1
Virginia 2,194,346 36.6 U.S. Senate 16,727 0.8
Washington 2,123,901 43.1 N/A N/A N/A
West Virginia 451,498 31.2 U.S. Senate 124,667 27.6
Wisconsin 2,410,314 56.5 Governor 137,607 5.7
Wyoming 168,390 39.3 Governor 52,703 33.6

Note: Information from the United States Elections Project was last updated on December 16, 2014.

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
June 10, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
January 6, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials

Ballotpedia reports

To learn more about developments in this race, check out the following news articles from Ballotpedia:

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Maine Gubernatorial Elections News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  3. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  4. LePage for Governor 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 9, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2013-2014 Gubernatorial Races," March 4, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Washington Post blogs, "Rep. Mike Michaud steps into Maine governors race," June 13, 2013
  7. Michaud 2014 For Governor Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed June 26, 2013
  8. Eliot Cutler for Maine 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 9, 2013
  9. Bangor Daily News, "Independent Eliot Cutler announces run for governor in Bangor," September 24, 2013
  10. GBNR 2014 Official Campaign Website of Lee Schulteis, "Homepage," accessed September 9, 2013
  11. Kennebec Journal, "Michaud to formalize gubernatorial bid Thursday in Lewiston," August 14, 2013
  12. David Slagger for Governor 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed September 9, 2013
  13. Maine Biz, "LePage eyes long-term goals, says 2014 run likely," May 8, 2013
  14. University of Virginia Center for Politics: Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2013-2014 Gubernatorial Races," April 29, 2013
  15. The Washington Post, "The Fix's top gubernatorial races," September 27, 2013
  16. Daily Kos, "Daily Kos Elections gubernatorial race ratings: Initial ratings for 2013-14," October 6, 2013
  17. Governing Politics, "2013-2014 Governor's Races: Who's Vulnerable?," December 12, 2012
  18. The Morning Sentinel, "LePage: Sorry if you were offended," June 24, 2013
  19. The Washington Post blogs, "Rep. Mike Michaud steps into Maine governors race," June 13, 2013
  20. Portland Press Herald, "Cutler staying in race, insists Mainers should ‘vote their conscience’," October 29, 2014
  21. Bangor Daily News, "King endorses fellow independent Cutler for Maine governor," August 19, 2014
  22. Portland Press Herald, "Angus King switches endorsement from Cutler to Michaud," October 29, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 The Bellingham Herald, "Judge: Cutler donors can increase contributions," August 22, 2014
  24. Bangor Daily News, "Maine Ethics Commission changes donor limit rule in governor’s race," August 27, 2014
  25. Portland Press Herald, "Maine ethics panel dismisses complaints in governor’s race," October 11, 2014
  26. Portland Press Herald, "Rep. Michaud’s op-ed column: Yes, I’m gay. Now let’s get our state back on track," November 4, 2013
  27. Portland Press Herald, "Maine governor candidate Mike Michaud: I’m gay ," accessed November 4, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 Reuters, "Maine governor, Democratic challenger face off amid tight race," October 8, 2014
  29. Wesleyan Media Project, "GOP Groups Keeping Senate Contests Close," September 30, 2014
  30. Follow the Money, "Overview of Maine 2014 elections," accessed March 27, 2015
  31. Maine Department of the Secretary of State, "Election Results," accessed September 25, 2014
  32. United States Elections Project, "2014 November General Election Turnout Rates," November 7, 2014
  33. TIME, "Voter Turnout in Midterm Elections Hits 72-Year Low," November 10, 2014
  34. PBS, "2014 midterm election turnout lowest in 70 years," November 10, 2014
  35. U.S. News & World Report, "Midterm Turnout Down in 2014," November 5, 2014