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United States Congress elections, 2014

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2014 Congress Elections

Election Date
November 4, 2014

U.S. Senate Elections by State
Alabama • Alaska • Arkansas • Colorado • Delaware • Georgia • Idaho • Illinois • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Montana • Nebraska • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • North Carolina • Oklahoma • Oregon • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Virginia • West Virginia • Wyoming

U.S. House Elections by State
Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

Elections Information
Election DatesVoting in Primaries
Voting on November 4, 2014
Poll Opening and Closing Times
A total of 471 seats in the U.S. Congress (36 Senate seats, including three special elections, and all 435 House seats) are up for election on November 4, 2014.

The best-case scenario for those who believe the November 4, 2014, general election will be a backlash against the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act is that Republicans assume control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, only 36 percent of 2014 Democratic candidates mention support of the Affordable Care Act in their platform.[1]

The GOP currently has a 17-seat lead in the House of Representatives. Democrats outnumber Republicans, 53-45, in the U.S. Senate (with two Independents in the mix).[2][3][4]

Heading into the election, Democrats control the U.S. Senate while Republicans are the majority in the U.S. House. For Republicans to take the majority in the Senate, they need to take six seats currently held by Democrats and retain control of the 14 seats currently held by a Republican. For Democrats to take majority control of the U.S. House, a pick up of 17 seats is needed.[5]

As of October 2014, seven incumbent senators (including John Walsh of Montana who was appointed to the Senate in February 2014, but decided against seeking a full-term) and 41 representatives have announced they are not seeking re-election. Additionally, three senators and 13 representatives left office early.

U.S. Senate

See also: United States Senate elections, 2014

The 33 Class II U.S. Senate seats are up for election. Of those 33 seats, 20 are currently held by Democrats and 13 by Republican senators. Additionally, three special elections will take place in 2014 to fill vacancies that occurred during the 113th Congress (Hawaii, Oklahoma and South Carolina). All three of these special elections will also take place on November 4, 2014, for a total of 36 Senate elections.

For Republicans to gain control of the Senate, they will need to pick up six seats currently held by Democrats and maintain control of all Republican seats up for re-election. Unfortunately for Democratic incumbents, seven of their seats up in 2014 are in states carried by Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Those states are: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. If the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) remains a major issue heading into the midterm elections, Democrats face an uphill battle for the current blue seats in red states.[6]

Open seats

As of October 2014, seven senators (including John Walsh of Montana who was appointed to the Senate in February 2014, but decided against seeking a full-term) have announced they are not running for re-election in 2014. In addition to the following list, four senators left office early: Max Baucus (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK). The deaths of Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and the early resignation of Coburn, will necessitate three special elections to be held with the 33 regular elections on November 4, 2014.

  • Democratic Party 5 Democrats
  • Republican Party 2 Republicans
Name:Party:Current office:
Carl LevinElectiondot.png Democratic Michigan
Jay RockefellerElectiondot.png Democratic West Virginia
John WalshElectiondot.png Democratic Montana
Mike JohannsEnds.png Republican Nebraska
Saxby ChamblissEnds.png Republican Georgia
Tim JohnsonElectiondot.png Democratic South Dakota
Tom HarkinElectiondot.png Democratic Iowa
U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown
Party As of October 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 53 Pending
     Republican Party 45 Pending
     Independent 2 Pending
Total 100 100
This map shows the Senate seats up for election in 2014. The red and blue colors indicate whether the seat is currently held by a Republican or a Democrat, respectively.

Race ratings

Washington Post

For the 2014 election cycle, The Washington Post will release periodic lists of the 10 Senate seats (or 11, with this recent edition) most in danger of changing control in 2014. Their August 2014 rankings are below, along with their April ranking of the race in parentheses:[7]

  • 11. Republican Party Georgia: "Businessman David Perdue's (R) primary runoff win over Rep. Jack Kingston means he faces off against Democrat Michelle Nunn. Most recent polling shows Perdue with a slight edge, but the National Republican Senatorial Committee just launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign here. Clearly, they see Nunn as a real threat, despite Georgia's continued GOP lean (it's turning purple more slowly than most people think). (Previous ranking: 10) (Previous ranking: 10)"[7]
  • 10. Democratic Party Colorado: "Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), after some uncertainty, announced last month that he would oppose ballot measures, pushed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), that were aimed at cracking down on fracking. Eventually, the measures were scrapped anyways, but the decision was somewhat surprising from a senator who has often aligned with environmentalists. Democrats fretted rather openly about the measures hurting Udall on the ballot in November. Rep. Cory Gardner (R), though, remains an underdog. (Previous ranking: 9)"[7]
  • 9. Republican Party Kentucky: "The Democrats' best shot at a pickup might be in the Bluegrass State, where polling continues to show one of the tightest races in the country. Despite this, though, election models of 2014 have Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as a strong favorite over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes – in large part because the state is so red. FiveThirtyEight says McConnell has an 80 percent shot to win, and the Post pegs his chances even better than that. We'll see if those models are accurate. (Previous ranking: 7)"[7]
  • 8. Democratic Party Alaska: "The big news Friday was that Joe Miller, the 2010 GOP nominee with strong tea party ties, said that he would support the GOP nominee and not run a third-party campaign if he lost the primary Aug. 19. Anything other than a win by former state attorney general Dan Sullivan in that primary would be a pretty big surprise, and Miller's assurance has got to make Republicans breathe a little easier. But Sen. Mark Begich (D) is doing a lot of things right (Previous ranking: 8)"[7]
  • 7. Democratic Party Iowa: "A recent Roll Call story by Alexis Levinson captured the state of this open seat race nicely: State Sen. Joni Ernst (R) moved through the Iowa State Fair doing a lot of hugging — both people she knew and people she didn't. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, meanwhile, delivered a dry policy address from the fair's legendary soapbox. Ernst is clearly the candidate with the momentum in this race but, as Levinson noted, Braley might be more closely aligned to the preferred policies of the electorate. (Previous ranking: N/A)"[7]
  • 6. Democratic Party North Carolina: "Senate Democrats' campaign arm just dropped a stunning $9.1 million into a new advertising campaign here, reinforcing that this is the race to watch this fall. It's the least conservative of the four Romney states where Democrats are running for reelection. If Sen. Kay Hagan (D) can hold on to her seat, Democrats give themselves some critical breathing room in the battle for the majority. If state House Speaker Thom Tillis wins (R), the GOP path to the majority becomes much wider. (Previous ranking: 5)"[7]
  • 5. Democratic Party Arkansas: "Rep. Tom Cotton (R) has led the last six public polls of this race — all by between two and four points. Shortly before that, an NBC News/Marist poll incredibly showed Sen. Mark Pryor (D) ahead by 11. We tend to think this is a pretty pure toss-up right now. (Previous ranking: 6)"[7]
  • 4. Democratic Party Louisiana: "It seems likely no one will clear 50 percent threshold in the all-party primary and that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) will face a runoff against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Dec. 6. Just imagine the November frenzy in the Bayou State if the Senate majority ends up riding on the outcome. (Previous ranking: 4)"[7]
  • 3. Democratic Party West Virginia: "It seems more and more like Montana and South Dakota are lost causes for Democrats. But West Virginia's not there yet. The Democratic super PAC Senate Majority PAC recently bought broadcast advertising time there, and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) has run a surprisingly strong campaign. That doesn't mean she's going to upset Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R). It just means West Virginia's not a done deal. (Previous ranking: 2)"[7]
  • 2. Democratic Party Montana: "The decision by Walsh not to seek a full term this fall in the wake of revelations about plagiarism takes an already-difficult race and makes it virtually impossible for Democrats. Democrats will decide on their nominee at a special state convention this weekend. Freshman state Rep. Amanda Curtis seems like the likeliest pick and cuts a very interesting profile. But this race is probably a lost one for Democrats, and Rep. Steve Daines (R) is the heavy favorite to be the next senator. (Previous ranking: 3)"[7]
  • 1. Democratic Party South Dakota: "The good news for Democrat Rick Weiland: Former GOP senator Larry Pressler is pulling nearly one-fifth of the vote as an independent. The bad news: Pressler has raised just $50,000 for the campaign, self-funding another $50,000. As we’ve written before, third-party candidates with little chance of winning tend to see their vote totals fall off at the end. Former governor Mike Rounds (R) is still the big favorite unless something changes in a major way. (Previous ranking: 1)"[7]

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report releases race ratings for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors. There are seven possible designations:[8]

     Solid D
     Likely D
     Lean D

     Tossup

     Lean R
     Likely R
     Solid R

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- U.S. Senate
Month Solid D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Solid R Total D Total R Total races
June 27, 2013[9] 6 5 6 3 0 4 11 17 15 35
August 2, 2013[10] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
October 17, 2013[11] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
December 19, 2013[12] 7 5 4 3 3 1 12 16 16 35
February 7, 2014[13] 6 6 4 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
February 27, 2014[14] 6 5 5 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
March 19, 2014[15] 8 2 3 7 2 2 12 13 16 36
April 25, 2014[16] 8 2 2 8 2 2 12 12 16 36
August 15, 2014[17] 7 3 1 9 2 3 11 11 16 37

Campaign finance

August 2014

According to OpenSecrets.org, below are the races that had the most outside spending by August 2014. They included the U.S. Senate races in North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Arkansas.

List of the races receiving the most in independent expenditure in August 2014, according to OpenSecrets.org.

July 2014

In July 2014, Politico released the highlights from the second quarter 2014 fundraising reports. They included:[18]

April 2014

According to an April 2014 Politico report, vulnerable Democrats were being outraised by Republican challengers.[19] The candidates highlighted in the article were:

August 2013

An August 2013 Politico report reported that the 27 incumbents running for re-election in 2014 had together raised about $125 million by the end of June 2013.[20] The report also found that 2014 may be the most expensive midterm election to date, pointing to the fact that the total amount raised for incumbents seeking re-election is $30 million more than at the same point in 2012 and on par with the amount they had raised in 2010.[20]

The incumbents highlighted in the article were:[20]

April 2013

According to an April 2013 Politico report, incumbent Democrats in red states raised "millions" in the first three months of 2013.[21] The candidates highlighted in the article were:

  • Democratic Party Mary Landrieu (LA) had raised $1.2 million and had $3.5 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Mark Pryor (AR) had raised $1.9 million and had $3.4 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Kay Hagan (NC) had raised $1.6 million and had $2.7 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Mark Begich (AK) had raised $948,000 and had $1.5 million cash on hand[21]

DSCC and NRSC

Both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) work to elect candidates from their respective parties to the U.S. Senate.

Fundraising numbers

July 2014

The DSCC had its strongest second quarter in organization history, raising $21.7 million during the quarter. As of July 2014, the DSCC had raised $70.3 million in the 2014 cycle, while the NRSC had raised $68.6 million in 2014.[22]

April 2014

The DSCC outraised the NRSC, $6.3 million to $6.04 million. In April, the DSCC ended the month with $25 million on hand, while the NRSC had $21.9 million in the bank. Both organizations remained debt-free.[23]

October 2013

The DSCC outraised their GOP counterpart, the NRSC, by one million dollars in October 2013. The DSCC raised $4.8 million compared to the NRSC's $3.8 million. This was the organization's best off-year October in their history.

At that time, the DSCC had raised $14 million more than the NRSC, a total of $43.5 million raised. They reported $11.1 million cash on hand. However, the organization was also carrying $6.2 million in debt. The NRSC had $5 million cash on hand at the end of October 2013.[24]

July 2013 memo

In July 2013, NRSC president, Rob Collins, circulated a memo to top donors outlining the path to a majority in the Senate for the Republican Party. From the memo:

"Montana now joins West Virginia and South Dakota as the third red-state where Democrats have not only failed to land their top candidates, but to recruit a candidate capable of winning a general election matchup."

Collins reiterated that Republicans need to win just three seats in states with incumbent Democratic senators.[25]


U.S. House

See also: United States House of Representatives elections, 2014

Democrats are hoping to survive a possible referendum on the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act and not lose further ground in the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives during the November 4, 2014 general election. All 435 seats of the U.S. House are up for election.

U.S. House Partisan Breakdown -- Pre 2014 Election
Party As of October 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 199 Pending
     Republican Party 233 Pending
     Vacancy 3 Pending
Total 435 435

Battleground study

See also: U.S. House battleground districts, 2014
The purple districts on the Census district map are those found to be competitive in Ballotpedia's study.

Five criteria

A district must have met one or more of the following criteria:

1. If a district had all six quantifiable predictions/results highlighted (Cook, Fairvote, MOV, 2012 presidential, 2008 presidential, and incumbent years in office) and four were of the most competitive nature, purple, they automatically made the cut.

Nineteen districts fit in this category.

2. The district would be considered competitive if it had all six quantifiable predictions/results highlighted (Cook, Fairvote, MOV, 2012 presidential, 2008 presidential and incumbent years in office) with three of the highlighted factors being most competitive (purple) and two being intermediate competitive (orange). The district must also have a “special factor” (high outside spending, redistricting) to be added to the most competitive list.

Two districts fit into this category.

3. Anomalies: This includes Republicans or Democrats in a district that otherwise trends heavily toward the other party. The district must also have some other qualifying factor, such as an MOV of ten percent or less, an incumbent who has served less than ten years or a competitive 2014 candidate. Both Utah's 4th Congressional District and North Carolina's 7th Congressional District were examples of this before Reps. Jim Matheson and Mike McIntyre announced their retirements.

One district fits into this category.

4. Presidential differences: A district that may not have all the categories highlighted, but has voted for the other party in the most recent presidential election and the numbers are tight for the incumbent (redistricting was also factored in here).

One district was considered “Most Competitive” based only on this factor.

5. Recent effects of redistricting: This is relevant to three districts (IL-12, IL-13 and MN-08). Redistricting in the past three years has caused these districts to be extremely tight and have the opportunity for a very close midterm election (the first midterm cycle these new districts will be going through).

Three districts were pushed into the most competitive list because of this, just missing meeting the other criteria listed above.


The 26 most competitive

  • Cook's PVI is Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index.[26]
  • FairVote's %D is FairVote.org's 2014 congressional election projections.[27]
  • Both the 2012 and 2008 presidential MOV have either "✓" or "-" before the number. The "✓" indicates the district went in favor of the winner, in both years this was President Obama. The "-" indicates the district favored the Republican who lost in each election, Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008.

DCCC & NRCC fundraising

April 2014

In the month of April 2014, the NRCC reported raising $4.1 million, falling short of the $7.1 million the DCCC raised. The NRCC ended the month with $32.3 million cash in the bank, while the DCCC had $43.5 on hand.

The DCCC has brought in over $20 million more than the NRCC overall during this election cycle.[28]

December 2013

As of December 2, 2013, the NRCC reported raising $52,404,530 and spending $35,697,047, leaving it with $18,242,094 cash on hand.[29] Comparatively, the DCCC reported raising $65,202,181 and spending $41,423,695, leaving it with $25,266,707 cash on hand.[30]

September 2013

The DCCC raised $8.4 million in September compared to the $5.3 million the NRCC raised during the same period. This brought the total raised for 2013 through the third quarter, to $58.2 million for the DCCC compared to the NRCC's $42.6 million. As for cash on hand, the DCCC still had an edge: $21.6 million to NRCC's $15.7 million.[31]

August 2013

According to an Open Secrets report on FEC filings released on August 13, 2013, the DCCC had raised $40.8 million to the NRCC's $34.3 million.[32]

July 2013

As of July 2013, the DCCC had outraised the NRCC by $6.5 million.[33]

Outside race ratings

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report releases race ratings for U.S. Senate and U.S. House (competitive only) elections. The races detailed below are only those considered competitive. There are six possible designations.

     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic
     D Tossup

     R Tossup
     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- 2014 U.S. House Competitive Districts
Month Likely D Lean D D Tossup R Tossup Lean R Likely R Total D Total R Total Competitive races
August 8, 2013[34] 14 16 8 1 11 17 28 29 57
September 5, 2013[35] 14 15 9 1 11 17 38 29 67
October 21, 2013[36] 14 15 9 1 11 17 36 34 70
October 30, 2013[37] 12 15 10 2 16 16 37 34 71
December 18, 2013[38] 14 14 10 4 15 15 38 34 72
January 7, 2014[39] 14 15 10 4 16 16 39 36 75
January 15, 2014[40] 14 14 11 4 16 18 39 38 77
February 13, 2014[41] 14 13 11 4 16 18 38 38 76
March 13, 2014[42] 15 13 11 3 16 18 39 37 76
April 4, 2014[43] 15 13 11 3 17 19 39 39 78
June 26, 2014[44] 16 14 11 2 16 18 41 36 77
August 8, 2014[45] 15 13 13 3 9 17 41 29 70

Sabato's Crystal Ball

Each month the Crystal Ball releases race ratings for U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors. There are seven possible designations:[46]

     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic
     D Tossup

     R Tossup
     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican

Sabato's Crystal Ball Race Rating -- U.S. House
Month Likely D Lean D D Tossup R Tossup Lean R Likely R Total D Total R Total Competitive races
October 23, 2013[47] 7 20 5 3 15 12 32 30 62
December 17, 2013[48] 8 19 5 6 14 14 32 34 66
January 7, 2014[49] 8 19 5 7 14 14 32 35 67
March 12, 2014[50] 10 15 7 5 14 15 32 34 66
March 31, 2014[51] 10 15 7 5 15 16 32 36 68
August 6, 2014[52] 9 13 10 3 11 16 32 30 62


Party targets

DCCC Frontline

The DCCC's Frontline Program is designed to help vulnerable incumbents win re-election. The following table lists the current members of the Frontline Program.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Frontline Program
District Incumbent
Arizona's 2nd District Ron Barber
Georgia's 12th District John Barrow
California's 7th District Ami Bera
New York's 1st District Tim Bishop
California's 26th District Julia Brownley
Illinois' 17th District Cheri Bustos
California's 24th District Lois Capps
Washington's 1st District Suzan DelBene
Illinois' 12th District Bill Enyart
Connecticut's 5th District Elizabeth Esty
Texas' 23rd District Pete Gallego
Florida's 26th District Joe Garcia
Arizona's 1st District Ann Kirkpatrick
New Hampshire's 2nd District Ann McLane Kuster
New York's 18th District Sean Patrick Maloney
New York's 24th District Dan Maffei
Utah's 4th District Jim Matheson
North Carolina's 7th District Mike McIntyre
Florida's 18th District Patrick Murphy
New York's 21st District Bill Owens
California's 52nd District Scott Peters
California's 36th District Raul Ruiz
Illinois' 10th District Brad Schneider
New Hampshire's 1st District Carol Shea-Porter
Arizona's 9th District Kyrsten Sinema
Massachusetts' 6th District John Tierney
West Virginia's 3rd District Nick Rahall
DCCC Jumpstart

The DCCC's Jumpstart Program provides early support to candidates during the beginning stages of the 2014 election cycle.[53]

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Jumpstart Program
District Challenger Incumbent
California's 10th District Michael Eggman Jeff Denham
California's 31st District Pete Aguilar Gary Miller
Colorado's 6th District Andrew Romanoff Mike Coffman
Florida's 2nd District Gwen Graham Steve Southerland
Illinois' 13th District Ann Callis Rodney Davis
Iowa's 3rd District Staci Appel Tom Latham
Michigan's 1st District Jerry Cannon Dan Benishek
Michigan's 7th District Pam Byrnes Tim Walberg
Montana's at-large District John Lewis Max Baucus
Nevada's 3rd District Erin Bilbray-Kohn Joe Heck
New Mexico's 2nd District Roxanne Lara Steve Pearce
New York's 11th District Domenic Recchia Michael Grimm
New York's 23rd District Martha Robertson Tom Reed
Ohio's 6th District Jennifer Garrison Bill Johnson
Pennsylvania's 8th District Kevin Strouse Michael Fitzpatrick
Virginia's 2nd District Suzanne Patrick Scott Rigell
NRCC Patriot

The NRCC's Patriot Program is the counterpart of the DCCC's Frontline Program and is designed to assist vulnerable incumbents in their re-election bids. The following table lists the current members of the Patriot Program.

National Republican Congressional Committee Patriot Program
District Incumbent
Michigan's 1st District Dan Benishek
Colorado's 6th District Mike Coffman
Illinois' 13th District Rodney Davis
California's 10th District Jeff Denham
Pennsylvania's 8th District Michael G. Fitzpatrick
New York's 19th District Chris Gibson
New York's 11th District Mike Grimm
Nevada's 3rd District Joe Heck
Ohio's 6th District Bill Johnson
Florida's 13th District David Jolly
Ohio's 14th District David Joyce
New York's 23rd District Tom Reed
Virginia's 2nd District Scott Rigell
Florida's 2nd District Steve Southerland II
California's 21st District David G. Valadao
Michigan's 7th District Tim Walberg
Indiana's 2nd District Jackie Walorski
NRCC targets

The following Democratic incumbents have been targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in 2014.

National Republican Congressional Committee, Targeted incumbents
District Targeted incumbent November 4 Results
Arizona's 1st District Ann Kirkpatrick Pending
Arizona's 2nd District Ron Barber Pending
Georgia's 12th District John Barrow Pending
Minnesota's 7th District Collin Peterson Pending
North Carolina's 7th District Mike McIntyre Pending
Utah's 4th District Jim Matheson Pending
West Virginia's 3rd District Nick Rahall Pending

Nick Rahall
In September 2013, the NRCC issued a press release in response to Rahall, one of the organization's main targets in 2014, mistaking an umbrella for a lump of coal during a press conference. The press release stated:

"But Barack Obama, the EPA, and Nick Rahall aren’t waging a war on umbrellas – they are waging a war on coal. And yesterday, Bloomberg reported a new front opening in that war – the EPA is set to issue a rule that will completely halt the development of new coal-fueled plants by requiring they meet unachievable carbon standards."[54]

Media mentions

Across the country, media and experts publish stories that chronicle the incumbents that are in danger of losing their bid for re-election. Some of those incumbents mentioned included:[55]

"The Monkey Cage"

In December 2013, John Sides' column, "The Monkey Cage," a blog published by The Washington Post, released his first predictions for the 2014 elections. Sides and Eric McGhee, a political scientist, developed a forecasting model that uses numerous factors, including: presidential popularity, economic growth and whether it is a presidential or midterm election cycle. "The Monkey Cage" will publish any changes in the forecast.

  • September 2014:[56]
    • Democrats will win 191 seats, for a loss of ten seats.
  • December 2013:[57]
    • Democrats will win approximately 48 percent of the popular vote for the House.
    • Democrats will win 196 seats, for a loss of five seats.

Independent expenditures in 2014

According to OpenSecrets.org, four of the five organizations donating the most in independent expenditures as of October 2014 were liberal organizations (as denoted in the chart by the L, for liberal, or C, for conservative, under the "View" column).

List of the top independent expenditure players in mid-2014 according to OpenSecrets.org.

Primary elections

See also: At least 52 new members will walk the halls of the U.S. Congress in 2015

Only four U.S. Representatives and no U.S. Senators were defeated in their primaries during the 2014 election cycle. One article from National Journal suggests that, despite the small number of defeats, incumbents have been gradually losing their advantage. The article states, "Fewer and fewer incumbents are running unopposed each election, and the rate of incumbents finishing under 60 or 70 percent in their primaries has more than doubled in recent elections."[58] Studies on the competitiveness of U.S. House primaries further support this conclusion. According to a 2013 Ballotpedia study on contested primaries, in the four congressional elections between 2004 and 2010, an average of only 26.3 percent of incumbents faced primary challengers. By 2012, this percentage had almost doubled, with 51.40 percent of incumbents facing primary challengers.

Incumbents defeated in 2014 primary elections

Republican Party Ralph Hall

Ralph Hall.jpg

Name: Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Office: U.S. Representative for Texas' 4th Congressional District
Years in office: 1981-present
2014 election: Texas' 4th Congressional District elections, 2014
Defeated by: John Ratcliffe

Ralph Hall was defeated by John Ratcliffe in a runoff primary on May 27, 2014, after failing to secure 50 percent of the vote in the initial Republican primary on March 4. Hall, 91, is the oldest U.S. Representative in history, and one of only two remaining World War II veterans in Congress.[59] Hall had previously run as a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party in 2004.[60] Ratcliffe, Hall's tea party-backed challenger, formerly served as the mayor of Heath, Texas, as a U.S. Attorney and as the Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas.[61] Although Ratcliffe trailed by 16.6 percent in the Republican primary, he jumped ahead in the runoff, defeating Hall by a 5.6 percent margin of victory.[62] In addition to large personal loans to his campaign, Ratcliffe had support from conservative groups such as Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.[63] Hall had promised to make 2014 his last term in office, and he stated regarding his loss, "I’m not hurt about it. I’m not really terribly surprised about it, and I’m not happy about it. I’m going to keep on doing my job and coming home and visiting people that I love."[64]


U.S. House, Texas District 4 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRalph Hall Incumbent 45.4% 29,848
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Ratcliffe 28.8% 18,917
Lou Gigliotti 16.1% 10,601
John Stacy 4.3% 2,812
Brent Lawson 3.5% 2,290
Tony Arterburn 1.9% 1,252
Total Votes 65,720
Source: Texas Secretary of State
U.S. House, Texas District 4 Runoff Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Ratcliffe 52.8% 22,271
Ralph Hall Incumbent 47.2% 19,899
Total Votes 42,170
Source: Texas Secretary of State Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.


Republican Party Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor.JPG

Name: Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Office: U.S. Representative for Virginia's 7th Congressional District
Years in office: 2001-2014
2014 election: Virginia's 7th Congressional District elections, 2014
Defeated by: David Brat

Eric Cantor's loss to David Brat in the Republican primary on June 10, 2014, was the biggest and most shocking upset of the 2014 primary season, making Cantor the first-ever sitting House Majority Leader to lose a primary bid.[65] Leading up to the election, Cantor had a significant financial advantage, having spent around $1 million in the weeks prior to the primary. Brat, in contrast, had raised only about $100,000 during his entire primary campaign.[66] Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, had never before run for public office, and he did not receive any donations from political action committees (PACs).[67] Though he had a disadvantage in these areas, as well as name recognition, Brat attributed his success to his grassroots efforts and spending large amounts of time knocking on doors and talking with constituents. In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Brat explained, "The good news is dollars don't vote, people do."[68]

Cantor stepped down from his position as House Majority Leader on July 31, 2014, and resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives on August 18, 2014. Kevin McCarthy of California took over the position of House Majority Leader after Cantor's resignation.[69]


U.S. House, Virginia District 7 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Brat 55.5% 36,110
Eric Cantor Incumbent 44.5% 28,898
Total Votes 65,008
Source: Results via Associated Press


Republican Party Kerry Bentivolio

Kerry Bentivolio.jpg

Name: Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)
Office: U.S. Representative for Michigan's 11th Congressional District
Years in office: 2013-present
2014 election: Michigan's 11th Congressional District elections, 2014
Defeated by: Dave Trott

Of the four incumbents who were defeated in primaries in 2014, Kerry Bentivolio lost by the widest margin. Bentivolio lost to Dave Trott in the Republican primary on August 5, 2014, by a margin of 32.6 percent.[70] While it was common in the 2014 Republican primaries to see a tea party-backed challenger taking on the Republican "establishment" incumbent, Michigan's 11th District turned this narrative on its head. Bentivolio's spokesman explained the race from the incumbent's perspective, saying, "This is really a race about the establishment versus the tea party. It just so happens that the incumbent is the member of the tea party who is being targeted by a wealthy foreclosure attorney who simply wants to be a congressman."[71] Bentivolio had received many negative headlines throughout his term. He had often been referred to as an "accidental" congressman, referring to his 2012 election, when he easily won the Republican nomination after incumbent Thaddeus McCotter submitted invalid signatures and chose to resign. Bentivolio was also known for being a reindeer farmer and Santa Claus impersonator.[72]


U.S. House, Michigan District 11 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Kerry Bentivolio Incumbent 33.6% 21,254
Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Trott 66.4% 42,008
Total Votes 63,262
Source: Michigan Secretary of State


Democratic Party John Tierney

John F Tierney.jpg

Name: John Tierney (D-MA)
Office: U.S. Representative for Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District
Years in office: 1997-present
2014 election: Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District elections, 2014
Defeated by: Seth Moulton

John Tierney was the only Democratic congressman to lose his primary election in 2014. On September 9, 2014, Seth Moulton, a former Marine and a veteran of the Iraq War, defeated Tierney by 7.9 percent, making Tierney the fourth and final incumbent to be defeated in the 2014 primary election season.[73] Tierney was a vulnerable incumbent in 2012 and won re-election by a mere 1.1 percent margin of victory against Republican Richard Tisei, who is running again in 2014.[74] In 2011, Tierney's wife was involved in a scandal, when she served time in jail for "aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns" for her brother, Robert Eremian, who was accused of running an illegal gambling business.[75]

Both Tierney and Moulton ran well-financed campaigns, raising $1.9 million and $1.6 million, respectively.[76] Tierney led in the Democratic primary polls, and had support from influential Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi from California.[77]


The primary elections included:

See also: Contested primaries in U.S. Congressional elections, 2014 and Signature requirements and deadlines for 2014 U.S. Congress elections

September 9, 2014

August 26, 2014

August 19, 2014

August 12, 2014

August 9, 2014

August 7, 2014

August 5, 2014

June 24, 2014

June 10, 2014

June 3, 2014

May 20, 2014

May 6, 2014

March 18, 2014

March 4, 2014

Five primaries to watch

Politico published a list of the five primaries to watch in 2014. Of their five predictions, only one of the incumbents (Rep. John Tierney) was defeated. Politico's narratives about each race are included:[78]

"Simpson, a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, is facing what some are calling his most serious race since he was first elected to the House in 1998.[78]
Attorney Bryan Smith, who has the backing of the anti-tax Club for Growth and RedState founder Erick Erickson, is portraying the incumbent as insufficiently conservative and soft on spending issues.[78] Smith also has the backing of Rod Beck, a former state senator and an influential GOP activist in the state.[78]
Simpson, however, is taking the race seriously, raking in an impressive $306,000 during the second quarter. Smith, meanwhile, suffered an early setback when The Associated Press published a report last week that he had been using a donor’s private airplane to fly to campaign events.
Since 1918, just one Idaho representative has failed to win his party’s nomination before managing to win in the general election."[78]
Results: Simpson defeated Smith by over 23 percentage points.
U.S. House, Idaho District 2 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMike Simpson Incumbent 61.6% 48,632
Bryan Smith 38.4% 30,263
Total Votes 78,895
Source: Idaho Secretary of State
"Shuster’s (R) primary will pit an incumbent against the anti-establishment wing of the party.[78] It’s not the first time Shuster has faced a serious primary. In 2004, he held off Republican challenger Michael DelGrosso, 51 percent to 49 percent.[78]
He must beat challenger Art Halvorson, who has won early endorsements from RedState founder Erick Erickson and the Madison Project, a conservative group that recently ran a 60-second radio ad hammering Shuster for his votes to raise the debt ceiling.[78]
Halvorson, a wealthy commercial real estate developer who has already put $100,000 towards his campaign, has hammered Shuster for his record on spending issues. Travis Schooley, an Army veteran, is also running."[78]
Results: Despite the high profile endorsements, Shuster won by over 15 percentage points.
U.S. House, Pennsylvania District 9 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBill Shuster Incumbent 52.8% 24,106
Art Halvorson 34.5% 15,761
Travis Schooley 12.7% 5,802
Total Votes 45,669
Source: Results via Associated Press
"Honda is regarded on Capitol Hill as a well-liked and congenial figure who coasts to victory every other year.[78]
Challenger Ro Khanna, who has taught at Stanford University and works at a Silicon Valley law firm, is tapping a vast network of tech donors to give Honda a surprisingly tough fight in 2014.[78] During the second quarter of 2013, the challenger raised over $1 million and reported having $1.7 million cash on hand — more than four times the amount Honda had.[78] Khanna has built a formidable operation filled with veterans of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, including Jeremy Bird, Obama’s national field director in 2012, and David Binder, one of the president’s pollsters.[78]
Honda has the president’s endorsement — and the backing of Democratic power brokers such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel.[78] While Khanna is likely to draw support from Silicon Valley’s large Indian-American population, Honda enjoys long-standing ties to the Asian-American community, which makes up nearly half the district.[78]
The race is almost certain to extend beyond the June 3 primary.[78] Under California’s newly implemented “Top-Two” system, the top two finishers advance to the November general election, regardless of their party affiliation."[78]
Results: The predictions were correct. The race came down to the two Democratic front runners. In California's blanket primary system, both Ro Khanna and Rep. Mike Honda are advancing to the general election.
U.S. House, California District 17 Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMike Honda Incumbent 48.2% 43,607
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRo Khanna 28% 25,384
     Republican Vanila Singh 17% 15,359
     Republican Joel Vanlandingham 6.8% 6,154
Total Votes 90,504
Source: California Secretary of State
"According to Politico there is no incumbent more likely to lose a primary than DesJarlais, the scandal-plagued sophomore Republican congressman.[78] During the final weeks before the 2012 general election, sworn testimony from his 2001 divorce trial was uncovered in which DesJarlais, a former physician and hospital chief of staff, acknowledged having sexual relationships with patients and even prescribing drugs to one of them.[78] DesJarlais still managed to win re-election in the conservative district.[78]
On August 7, 2013, DesJarlais formally launched his bid for a third term.[78] In 2014, DesJarlais will be confronting several serious primary opponents, including state senator Jim Tracy and state representative Joe Carr.[78] While DesJarlais has raised $160,000 in 2013, Tracy has taken in nearly $740,000 and Carr $305,000.[78]
With Tracy, Carr and several other less-well-known Republican challengers running, there is the possibility that the anti-DesJarlais vote could splinter and allow him to skate by with a plurality of the vote."[78]
Results: In what truly was a competitive race, DesJarlais won by just over 30 votes.
U.S. House, Tennessee District 4 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngScott DesJarlais Incumbent 44.9% 34,793
Jim Tracy 44.8% 34,755
John Anderson 5.9% 4,592
Steve Lane 1.9% 1,483
David Tate 1.2% 938
Michael Warden 0.9% 659
Oluyomi Faparusi 0.4% 284
Total Votes 77,504
Source: Tennessee Secretary of State
"Vulnerable after the scandal surrounding his wife, Tierney barely managed to win re-election in 2012.[78] In 2010, Patrice Tierney pleaded guilty to helping her brother file false tax returns in connection with his operation of an illegal offshore casino.[78]
Republicans criticized Tiernery about his wife, alleging that he was fully aware of her conduct.[78] He ultimately defeated Richard Tisei (D) by fewer than 4,000 votes -- or 1 percent of the vote -- in the general election.
Tisei, a former state house minority leader, is likely to run again in 2014.[78] This time, Tierney will have an added obstacle for re-election, a Democratic primary. Seth Moulton, a Harvard-educated former Marine, has launched a campaign to unseat the congressman. He has recruited veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi to help with his campaign.[78] Also running is Marisa DeFranco (D), an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012."[78]
Results: Tierney was defeated in the primary by Seth Moulton.
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 6 Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSeth Moulton 50.8% 36,575
John Tierney Incumbent 40.1% 28,915
Marisa DeFranco 6% 4,293
John Devine 2.1% 1,527
John Gutta 1% 691
All others 0% 36
Total Votes 72,037
Source: Massachusetts Elections Division


Congressional polling

Congressional Approval Rating
Poll Total Approve Total Disapprove Margin of Error Sample Size
The Economist/YouGov (September 21-23, 2013) 9 72 +/-5.1 690
CBS/New York Times (September 19-23, 2013) 14 80 +/-3 1014
CNN/ORC (September 27-29, 2013) 10 87 +/-3.5 803
Gallup (October 3-6, 2013) 11 85 +/-4 1028
Gallup (November 7-12, 2013) 9 86 +/-4 1039
The Economist/YouGov (January 11-13, 2014) 8 77 +/-4.3 696
The Economist/YouGov (February 22-24, 2014) 10 74 +/-4.5 710
The Economist/YouGov (March 29-31, 2014) 8 76 +/-4.5 1000
Gallup (June 5-8, 2014) 16 81 +/-4 1027
The Economist/YouGov Poll (August 16-18, 2014) 11 71 +/-4.6 1000
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 editor@ballotpedia.org.

Republicans in Congress

In a September 2014 poll, 72 percent of Americans were unhappy with Republicans in the 113th Congress. This is compared to 61 percent who disapproved of Democrats in Congress.[79]

Constituent approval

During the shutdown, Americans' disapproval rating of their own congressmen reached a new high, with almost as many people stating disapproval of their member (43%) to approval (44%). The Gallup poll concluded:

"While members of Congress may continue to argue that problems with the image of the body as a whole is not their fault, and that they are doing nothing more than faithfully representing their particular constituents, it is clear that even their own constituents are less positive about the job they are doing than they were in the past."

After October shutdown

United States budget debate, 2013

A USA TODAY/Princeton Survey Research Poll, taken October 17-21, 2013, came to the following post-shutdown conclusions:

  • 54% of Americans blamed both parties, 29% blamed solely Republicans and just 12% placed the blame squarely on the Democrats' shoulders.
  • Despite only 4% of Americans' belief that Congress would change for the worse if current members were replaced by all new members, 52% of respondents said it made no difference on whether they would vote for their incumbent in the next election.[80]

Healthcare.gov polling

See also: Healthcare.gov website rollout

After the numerous problems the Healthcare.gov website dealt with after the initial rollout on October 1, 2013, approval for the Affordable Care Act remained low at the end of 2013. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll in December 2013, more Americans continued to disapprove of the 2010 legislation than approve of it: 50% to 39%, respectively.

"Haters" polling

According to a December 2013 Washington Post-ABC News poll, 72 percent of voters who disapproved of both parties at the federal level said that they would vote for a Republican if the election were held today. Only 14 percent said they would vote for the Democrat.[81]

Issues in 2014

[edit]

Government shutdown

See also United States budget debate, 2013

Beginning in August 2013, House and Senate members began discussing the possibility of a government shutdown over the funding of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On September 20, Republicans passed a spending bill in the House that funds the government until December, but strips funding from Obamacare. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate would hold a procedural vote on Wednesday, September 24, many senators began to announce their positions on voting against a cloture, the motion to end debate on a bill. After Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave a marathon speech, the motion for cloture was accepted and Reid was able to strip the Obamacare defunding language contained in the Republican House members' continuing resolution (CR).

Following the successful cloture vote and the Senate subsequently sending a clean continuing resolution back to the House, the two chambers began a high-stakes game of hot potato. By September 30, the House had voted and sent three resolutions to the Senate that all were struck down. The Senate then sent back a clean resolution stripped of any healthcare defunding language. With Obamacare being the issue-at-hand, Congress was unable to agree on whether a resolution would fund the landmark healthcare law.[82]

In the midst of the government shutdown in October 2013, talks began regarding the need to increase the debt ceiling.[83][84] Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) drafted a proposal that would address both the budget shutdown, through the repeal of the medical device tax, and a plan to increase the debt ceiling through January 2014. Collins explained, "I’m hearing from many Democrats that if there were a way to deal somehow with the debt limit as well as part of this plan that that would be helpful. And obviously time is of the essence."[85] Although her plan was ultimately rejected by Senate Democrats, her framework began a bipartisan effort to draft a resolution. Ultimately, Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell were able to propose a plan on October 16.[86]

A deal was reached late on October 16, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The government reopened.

Polling during the shutdown

Congressional approval rating
Poll Total approve Total disapproveMargin of ErrorSample Size
The Economist/YouGov (September 21-23, 2013)
9%72%+/-5.1690
CBS/New York Times (September 19-23, 2013)
14%80%+/-31,014
CNN/ORC (September 27-29, 2013)
10%87%+/-3.5803
Gallup (October 3-6, 2013)
11%85%+/-41,028
AP-GfK (October 3-7, 2013)
5%83%+/-3.41,227
AVERAGES 9.8% 81.4% +/-3.8 952.4
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 editor@ballotpedia.org.

Approval of own congressmen

During the shutdown, American's disapproval rating of their own congressmen reached new a new high, with almost as many people stating disapproval of their member (43%) to approval (44%). The Gallup poll concluded:

"While members of Congress may continue to argue that problems with the image of the body as a whole is not their fault, and that they are doing nothing more than faithfully representing their particular constituents, it is clear that even their own constituents are less positive about the job they are doing than they were in the past."

For senators up for re-election in 2016, this will be the first election since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This may be problematic for Democratic senators who voted in favor of the bill in states where it is no longer popular. Among these senators include:

[87]

Sen. Lee letter

In July 2013, Lee authored a letter, which as of August 2013 had been signed by 14 Republican senators, which promised a government shutdown unless the Affordable Care Act was defunded. The senators up for re-election in 2014 who signed the letter are:

Healthcare.gov rollout

See also: Healthcare.gov website rollout

The open enrollment period ended on March 31, 2014. The penalty, payable to the federal government, for not being enrolled in a health insurance plan by March 31 was either $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater.[88] The White House stated anyone selecting a plan before the deadline would not be subject to the penalty.[89] In March 2014, however, the administration announced that uninsured people were allowed to enroll in plans into April as long as they had a plan selected on the website by March 31.[90]

The rollout date was met with high demand for the website, both by those seeking insurance and those curious to see how the site worked. Attempts to use the website resulted in errors, including:

  • Error messages while creating an account and trying to log in
  • Data transfer problems from the exchange to healthcare providers
  • Errors in price quotes when not logged in
  • Lack of ability to sign up directly through individual insurance providers

In an October 30, 2013, hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated, "Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible."[91]

The first official report from the Obama administration was released November 13, 2013, covering October enrollment numbers. The report stated 26,794 users completed enrollment through the Healthcare.gov federal exchange. Another 79,391 users were able to enroll in the 15 state exchanges, bringing the total enrollment to 106,185 in October. Prior to rollout, the administration estimated 500,000 would sign up in the first month.[92][93]

On November 22, 2013, the Obama administration announced an eight-day extension on completing applications for coverage starting January 1, 2014. The deadline to complete the application was moved from December 15 to December 23, 2013. Additionally, the 2014 open enrollment period was pushed back from the original October 15 start date to November 15, 2014, just after midterm elections.[94] On November 25, 2013, the administration announced the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) would be delayed by one year. The program was supposed to be rolled out in October 2013 but was delayed until November 2014. Employers seeking the tax credit before the federal exchange rolls out SHOP in 2014 must use an insurance broker to sign up for eligible plans. The small business program delay did not impact states with state-run exchanges.[95]

On April 10, 2014, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her post as a result of the troubled rollout of Obamacare.[96]

Senate Conservative Fund targets

The Senate Conservative Fund targeted Sens. Isakson (R-GA), Graham (R-SC), Alexander (R-TN) and Burr (R-NC) in August 2013 with two weeks of radio ads designed to push Senate Republicans to support Utah's Mike Lee's effort to defund Obamacare.[97]

See also: ISIS insurgency in Iraq and Syria

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were in disagreement over the need to pass congressional approval of the administration's air strikes in Iraq as well as any future strikes on ISIS. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) each stated on September 8, 2014, that gaining congressional approval was not necessary for the actions taken by President Barack Obama, with Levin claiming, "I think the president has an abundant amount of authority to conduct operations. It would be good to have Congress on board. I don’t think the War Powers Act is constitutional. If Congress doesn’t like what he’s doing, we can always cut the money off." Members such as Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Rand Paul (D-KY) disagreed and continued to push for a vote. Paul argued, "It would show a disregard for the Constitution and for the history of our country."[98]

Congressional leadership did not want to take quick action, bringing a vote to the floor, with one Republican aide stating, "We want to wait and see what he’s going to say to the four leaders and what he’s going to say to the nation. How he lays out his strategy will determine how our guys and members of Congress respond."[99] Reid backed up that sentiment, saying, "Tomorrow the president is addressing the nation. That doesn’t happen very often. On Thursday afternoon we’re having a briefing here from the administration on what’s going on in the Middle East. I’m going to wait and get the facts before I jump off into something that you read on the Internet someplace."[100]

While some members in tighter re-election campaigns were wary of a vote prior to the November elections, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) came out strongly in favor of the vote, even going so far as threatening to use a procedural workaround if Republican Majority Leader John Boehner did not put a vote on the calendar. The procedural workaround would force a congressional debate on the issue. McGovern defended his threat, explaining, "We have boots on the ground, even though everybody says we don't want any boots on the ground. We're doing more than just protecting U.S. personnel on the ground. And when I read the newspapers, we're talking about a multi-year commitment. So there's a role for Congress in this, and we need to make sure that we don't … shirk our constitutional responsibility. And I think most people feel that way."[101]

See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

The Senate passed a $1 trillion farm bill in June 2013 to fund both food stamps and farmer subsidies. States heavy in agriculture, including ones that will be competitive in 2014, may turn more favorably to Democratic candidates due to Republican opposition of the bill. The vote was 66-27, with 25 of the 27 nay votes being from Republicans. The two Democratic senators to vote against the bill were Jack Reed (RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

Both Montana and South Dakota, with agriculture being a major industry, will reap the benefits of the bill and also have open seats due to the retirement of Max Baucus (D-MT) and Tim Johnson (D-SD).[102]

The comprehensive bill failed in the House due largely in part to the votes of eight Democratic House members who joined the Republican majority to vote down the measure.[103] Reps. Collin Peterson, John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Cheri Bustos, Sean Maloney, Mike McIntyre, Bill Owens and Tim Walz were the eight Democratic members who voted to reject the bill.[103] According to analysis by OpenSecrets.org, many of these Democratic members received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.[103] Five of the eight are on the House Agriculture Committee--Peterson, Bustos, Maloney, McIntyre, and Walz-- from which agribusiness firms routinely target committee members with sizable contributions.[103]

Upon arrival at the House, the bill was altered by focusing solely on the farm programs and did not include the food stamp program, which will be voted on later. The House and Senate will now need to draft a final bill through conference committee.[104]

See also

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