United States Senate elections, 2014

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2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Election Date
November 4, 2014

U.S. Senate Elections by State
Alabama • Alaska • Arkansas • Colorado • Delaware • Georgia • Hawaii • 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

Elections to the U.S. Senate will be held on November 4, 2014. A total of 33 of the 100 seats are up for regular election. Additionally, three special elections will be held to fill vacancies that occurred in the 113th Congress (Hawaii, South Carolina and Oklahoma). These special elections will take place on November 4, 2014, for a total of 36 Senate elections.

Those elected to the U.S. Senate in the 33 regular elections on November 4, 2014, will begin their six-year terms on January 3, 2015.

The 2014 elections mark the 100th anniversary of the direct popular election of U.S. Senators. Prior to the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913, U.S. Senators were selected by state legislatures.

As of October 2014, seven senators announced they would not be running for re-election, while four U.S. Senators resigned their posts early. This means that at least 10 seats will have a different occupant in January 2015. In 2012, 10 incumbent senators did not run for re-election, and 12 did not run for re-election in 2010.

According to a complex prediction model used by The Washington Post, Republicans have a 77 percent chance of winning the majority in 2014.[1] Eight seats currently held by Democrats that are consistently ranked by outside ratings as either being toss-ups or Republican leaning include: West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska and Michigan. Additionally, elections in currently Republican-held seats in Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky have become more competitive as the election nears.

There is an increasing likelihood that the control of the Senate will not be decided on November 4. With races in Georgia and Louisiana tightening up, it is possible that one or both of those races could the be the deciding seats for the majority. Both states will require runoffs if one candidate does not receive at least 50 percent of the vote on November 4. A runoff in Louisiana would take place on December 6. Interestingly, a Georgia runoff would be held on January 6, three days after the 114th Congress is sworn in.[2]

Who ends up with majority control of the U.S. Senate?

All eyes are on which party will control the U.S. Senate in 2015. The current Democratic-controlled Senate has a partisan breakdown of 53-45-2, with the two Independents caucusing with the Democrats. For Republicans to take the majority in the Senate, they need to take at least six of the 36 seats up for election that are currently held by Democrats, and retain control of the 15 seats currently held by Republicans. The section will update the seat count for each party throughout the night and the vote totals in the hotly contested races.

Note: The table below will be updated in real-time on election night. As races are called, we will continually update the partisan count totals.

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U.S. Senate
Dem. 32
Rep. 30
Ind. 2
TOTAL 64
UNDECIDED 36
Last updated: 7:48 am October 29, 2014. Full coverage
State Before After
Incumbent Party Winner Winner Party Seat Party Change?
Alaska Senate Mark Begich Democratic Party
Arkansas Senate Mark Pryor Democratic Party
Colorado Senate Mark Udall Democratic Party
Georgia Senate Saxby Chambliss* Republican Party
Iowa Senate Tom Harkin* Democratic Party
Kentucky Senate Pat Roberts Republican Party
Kentucky Senate Mitch McConnell Republican Party
Louisisana Senate Mary Landrieu Democratic Party
Montana Senate John Walsh* Democratic Party
New Hampshire Senate Jeanne Shaheen Democratic Party
North Carolina Senate Kay Hagan Democratic Party
South Dakota Senate Tim Johnson* Democratic Party
West Virginia Senate Jay Rockefeller* Democratic Party

"*" indicates that the incumbent is retiring in 2014.

U.S. Senate, Alaska General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Mark Begich Incumbent 0% 0
     Republican Dan Sullivan 0% 0
     Libertarian Mark Fish 0% 0
     Independent Ted Gianoutsos 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, Arkansas General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Mark Pryor Incumbent 0% 0
     Republican Tom Cotton 0% 0
     Libertarian Nathan LaFrance 0% 0
     Green Mark Swaney 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, Colorado General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Mark Udall Incumbent 0% 0
     Republican Cory Gardner 0% 0
     Libertarian Gaylon Kent 0% 0
     Unity Party of Colorado Bill Hammons 0% 0
     Independent Raul Acosta 0% 0
     Independent Steve Shogan 0% 0
     Independent Willoughby 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, Georgia General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Michelle Nunn 0% 0
     Republican David Perdue 0% 0
     Libertarian Amanda Swafford 0% 0
Total Votes 0
Source: Georgia Secretary of State Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.




U.S. Senate, Kansas General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Pat Roberts Incumbent 0% 0
     Independent Greg Orman 0% 0
     Libertarian Randall Batson 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, Kentucky General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Mitch McConnell Incumbent 0% 0
     Democratic Alison Lundergan Grimes 0% 0
     Libertarian David Patterson 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, Louisiana General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Mary Landrieu Incumbent 0% 0
     Democratic Wayne Ables 0% 0
     Democratic Raymond Brown 0% 0
     Democratic Vallian Senegal 0% 0
     Democratic William Waymire Jr. 0% 0
     Republican Bill Cassidy 0% 0
     Republican Rob Maness 0% 0
     Republican Thomas Clements 0% 0
     Libertarian Brannon Lee McMorris 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Steve Daines 0% 0
     Democratic Amanda Curtis 0% 0
     Libertarian Roger Roots 0% 0
Total Votes 0



U.S. Senate, New Hampshire General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Jeanne Shaheen Incumbent 0% 0
     Republican Scott Brown 0% 0
     Write-in Write-in candidates 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, South Dakota General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Mike Rounds 0% 0
     Democratic Rick Weiland 0% 0
     Independent Larry Pressler 0% 0
     Independent Gordon Howie 0% 0
Total Votes 0




U.S. Senate, West Virginia General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Shelley Moore Capito 0% 0
     Democratic Natalie Tennant 0% 0
     Libertarian John Buckley 0% 0
     Constitution Phil Hudok 0% 0
     Mountain Bob Henry Baber 0% 0
     Independent Alex Weinstein - Write-in 0% 0
Total Votes 0

Partisan breakdown

This cycle, Republicans need to pick up six seats currently held by Democrats in order to gain a majority.[3]

Five incumbent Democratic U.S. Senators have announced that they are not running for re-election in 2014 (please see table below), and the GOP is considered a favorite to pick up many of the seats they are leaving vacant.[3] Three other states with Democratic U.S. Senators up for re-election in 2014 (Alaska, Arkansas and North Carolina) are generally considered to have GOP-leaning electorates.[3] A competitive race for the open seat in Georgia has developed due to the retirement of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).


Open seats

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

As of October 2014, seven senators 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, necessitates three special elections to be held with the 33 regular elections on November 4, 2014.

  • Democratic Party 5 Democrats
  • Republican Party 2 Republicans

This list includes John Walsh of Montana who was appointed to the Senate in February 2014, but decided against seeking a full-term.

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

In 2012, the Democratic Party retained control over the chamber, winning 25 of the 33 seats. With Republican candidates winning only eight seats, this was the worst performance by a major party since the 1950s.[4]

The following table displays the partisan composition of the U.S. Senate heading into the 2014 elections.


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 illustrates the 36 Senate seats up for election in 2014 (three of which are special elections). The red and blue colors indicate whether the seat is currently held by a Republican or a Democrat, respectively.

Senate primaries

See also: Contested primaries in U.S. Congressional elections, 2014

Although no incumbent senators lost in a 2014 primary, there were many marquee races. The hotly contested races involving incumbents included:

Among the 2014 elections were also contentious Republican primaries involving open seats and possible battleground Senate seats:

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:[5]

April 2014

According to an April 2014 Politico report, vulnerable Democrats were being outraised by Republican challengers.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7]

The incumbents highlighted in the article were:[7]

April 2013

According to an April 2013 Politico report, incumbent Democrats in red states raised "millions" in the first three months of 2013.[8] The candidates highlighted in the article were:

  • Democratic Party Mary Landrieu (LA) raised $1.2 million and had $3.5 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Mark Pryor (AR) raised $1.9 million and had $3.4 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Kay Hagan (NC) raised $1.6 million and had $2.7 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Mark Begich (AK) raised $948,000 and had $1.5 million cash on hand[8]

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

September 2014

The DSCC raised $16 million in September, while the NRSC was on their heels with $15.5. Both organizations had the highest September hauls in the organizations' histories.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]


Outside race ratings

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:[14]

     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[15] 6 5 6 3 0 4 11 17 15 35
August 2, 2013[16] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
October 17, 2013[17] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
December 19, 2013[18] 7 5 4 3 3 1 12 16 16 35
February 7, 2014[19] 6 6 4 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
February 27, 2014[20] 6 5 5 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
March 19, 2014[21] 8 2 3 7 2 2 12 13 16 36
April 25, 2014[22] 8 2 2 8 2 2 12 12 16 36
August 15, 2014[23] 7 3 1 9 2 3 11 11 16 36
September 19, 2014[24] 7 3 1 9 1 3 12 11 16 36
October 17, 2014[25] 7 3 1 10 1 2 12 11 15 36

FiveThirtyEight

Race ratings

According to an analysis by Nate Silver, previously of The New York Times and now at his own blog FiveThirtyEight, Democrats are looking at a tough road ahead of them in the U.S. Senate in 2014. Democrats hold 21 of the 35 seats up for election in 2014, and there are more Democratic controlled seats that lean Republican than Republican seats that lean Democratic.[26]

Additionally, Democrats could suffer from a lower voter turnout of their base due to the fact that 2014 is a midterm election and President Obama will not be on the ballot.[26]

However, Republicans need to take six seats in order to gain control of the Senate, a large gain that will be difficult to accomplish even in a favorable environment. Silver's March 2014 ratings predicted that Republicans will indeed pick-up those six seats.[26]

Most notably, in his March 2014 analysis, Silver broke up the possible key Republican pick-ups into two categories:

  • Democrat-held seats likely to be picked up by Republicans (four): West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Arkansas
  • Democrat-held seats that are toss-ups (four): Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska and Michigan

The table below lists Silver's race ratings overview for the 36 senate seats up for election in 2014 as of October 2014.[26]

FiveThirtyEight -- U.S. Senate
Month Solid D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Solid R
February 20, 2013[27] 6 7 3 4 0 4 11
July 15, 2013[28] 8 4 3 3 0 4 13
March 23, 2014[29] 10 2 3 1 1 4 16

Analysis

In September 2014, FiveThirtyEight released a new Senate forecasting model. In the first addition of this exclusive model, Silver determined that Republicans had a 53 percent chance of winning the Senate majority.[30]

Most vulnerable seats

The FiscalTimes compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats are held by Democrats.[31]

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:[32]

  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]
  • 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)"[32]

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.[33]

In the midst of the government shutdown in October 2013, talks began regarding the need to increase the debt ceiling. 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."[34] 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.[35]

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:

[36]

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. The White House stated anyone selecting a plan before the deadline would not be subject to the penalty.<>NBC News, "Obama administration clarifies dates related to health care rollout," October 23, 2013</ref> 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.[37]

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."[38]

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.[39]

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.[40] 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.[41]

On April 10, 2014, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her post as a result of the troubled rollout of Obamacare.[42]

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.[43]

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."[44]

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."[45] 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."[46]

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."[47]

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).[48]

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.[49] 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.[49] According to analysis by OpenSecrets.org, many of these Democratic members received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.[49] 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.[49]

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.[50]

State-by-state breakdown

United States Senate Elections Results in 2014
State Incumbent Incumbent Party Incumbent Running? 2014 Winner Partisan switch?
Alabama Jeff Sessions Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Alaska Mark Begich Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Arkansas Mark Pryor Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Colorado Mark Udall Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Delaware Chris Coons Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Georgia Saxby Chambliss Ends.png Republican No[51] Pending Pending
Idaho Jim Risch Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Illinois Richard Durbin Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Iowa Tom Harkin Electiondot.png Democratic No[52] Pending Pending
Kansas Pat Roberts Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Kentucky Mitch McConnell Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Louisiana Mary Landrieu Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Maine Susan Collins Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Massachusetts Mo Cowan Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Michigan Carl Levin Electiondot.png Democratic No[53] Pending Pending
Minnesota Al Franken Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Mississippi Thad Cochran Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Montana Max Baucus Electiondot.png Democratic No[3] Pending Pending
Nebraska Mike Johanns Ends.png Republican No[54] Pending Pending
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
New Jersey Cory Booker Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
New Mexico Tom Udall Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
North Carolina Kay Hagan Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Oregon Jeff Merkley Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Rhode Island Jack Reed Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
South Carolina Lindsey Graham Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
South Dakota Tim Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic No[55] Pending Pending
Tennessee Lamar Alexander Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Texas John Cornyn Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending
Virginia Mark Warner Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
West Virginia Jay Rockefeller Electiondot.png Democratic No[56] Pending Pending
Wyoming Mike Enzi Ends.png Republican Yes Pending Pending

See also

External links

References

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