United States Senate elections, 2014
Elections to the U.S. Senate were held on November 4, 2014. A total of 33 of the 100 seats were up for regular election. Additionally, three special elections were held to fill vacancies that occurred in the 113th Congress (Hawaii, South Carolina and Oklahoma). All three special elections also took place on November 4, 2014, for a total of 36 Senate elections. A runoff election in Louisiana was required on December 6, 2014.
Republicans won a majority of the U.S. congressional seats up for election in 2014, taking 54 seats while Democrats secured 44. Two seats were held by independents who had previously caucused with the Democratic Party.
Those elected to the U.S. Senate in the 33 regular elections on November 4, 2014, began their six-year terms on January 3, 2015.
The 2014 elections marked 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.
Seven senators announced they would not be running for re-election, while four U.S. Senators resigned their posts early. This meant that at least 10 seats would 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 were projected to have a 77 percent chance of winning the majority in 2014. They succeeded in obtaining the majority. Eight seats held by Democrats heading into the election that were consistently ranked by outside ratings as either being toss-ups or Republican leaning included: West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alaska and Michigan. Additionally, elections in Republican-held seats in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky became more competitive as the election neared.
There were incorrect predictions that the control of the Senate would not be decided on November 4. With races in Georgia and Louisiana tightening up, it was possible that one or both of those races could have been the deciding seats for the majority. A runoff in Louisiana took place on December 6, however, it did not decide the control of the Senate. Interestingly, a Georgia runoff would have been held on January 6, three days after the 114th Congress is sworn in.
Who ended up with majority control of the U.S. Senate?
All eyes were on which party would control the U.S. Senate in 2015. The Democratic-controlled Senate in the 113th Congress had 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 needed to take at least six of the 36 seats up for election that were held by Democrats, and retain control of the 15 seats held by Republicans. The section updated the seat count for each party throughout the night and the vote totals in the hotly contested races.
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|Incumbent||Party||Winner||Winner Party||Seat Party Change?|
|Alaska Senate||Mark Begich||Dan Sullivan||Yes|
|Arkansas Senate||Mark Pryor||Tom Cotton||Yes|
|Colorado Senate||Mark Udall||Cory Gardner||Yes|
|Georgia Senate||Saxby Chambliss*||David Perdue||No|
|Iowa Senate||Tom Harkin*||Joni Ernst||Yes|
|Kansas Senate||Pat Roberts||Pat Roberts||No|
|Kentucky Senate||Mitch McConnell||Mitch McConnell||No|
|Louisiana Senate||Mary Landrieu||Bill Cassidy||Yes|
|Montana Senate||John Walsh*||Steve Daines||Yes|
|New Hampshire Senate||Jeanne Shaheen||Jeanne Shaheen||No|
|North Carolina Senate||Kay Hagan||Thom Tillis||Yes|
|South Dakota Senate||Tim Johnson*||Mike Rounds||Yes|
|Virginia Senate||Mark Warner||Mark Warner||No|
|West Virginia Senate||Jay Rockefeller*||Shelley Moore Capito||Yes|
"*" indicates that the incumbent retired in 2014.
|U.S. Senate, Alabama General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Jeff Sessions Incumbent||97.3%||795,606|
|Source: Alabama Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Alaska General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Mark Begich Incumbent||45.8%||129,431|
|Source: Alaska Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Arkansas General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Mark Pryor Incumbent||39.5%||334,174|
|Source: Arkansas Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Colorado General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Mark Udall Incumbent||46.3%||944,203|
|Unity Party of Colorado||Bill Hammons||0.3%||6,427|
|Source: Colorado Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Delaware General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Chris Coons Incumbent||55.8%||130,655|
|Source: Delaware Department of Elections|
|U.S. Senate, Georgia General Election, 2014|
|Source: Georgia Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Idaho General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Jim Risch Incumbent||65.3%||285,596|
|Source: Idaho Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Illinois General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Richard Durbin Incumbent||53.5%||1,929,637|
|Source: Illinois Secretary of State Official Results|
|U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2014|
|Source: Iowa Secretary of State Official Results|
|U.S. Senate, Kansas General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Pat Roberts Incumbent||53.1%||460,350|
|Source: Kentucky Secretary of State Official Results|
|U.S. Senate, Kentucky General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Mitch McConnell Incumbent||56.2%||806,787|
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes||40.7%||584,698|
|Source: Kentucky Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Louisiana General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Mary Landrieu Incumbent||42.1%||619,402|
|Democratic||William Waymire Jr.||0.3%||4,673|
|Libertarian||Brannon Lee McMorris||0.9%||13,034|
|Source: Mary Landrieu and Bill Cassidy headed to a runoff election on December 6, 2014. Louisiana Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Maine General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Susan Collins Incumbent||67%||413,505|
|Source: Maine Secretary of State Official Results|
|U.S. Senate, Massachusetts General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Ed Markey Incumbent||59%||1,289,944|
|Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State Official Results|
|U.S. Senate, Michigan General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Terri Lynn Land||41.3%||1,290,199|
|U.S. Taxpayers Party||Chris Wahmhoff||1.2%||37,529|
|Source: Michigan Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Minnesota General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Al Franken Incumbent||53.2%||1,053,205|
|Source: Minnesota Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Mississippi General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Thad Cochran Incumbent||59.9%||378,481|
|Source: Mississippi Secretary of State Official Results|
|U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2014|
|Source: Montana Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Nebraska General Election, 2014|
|Source: Nebraska Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, New Hampshire General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Jeanne Shaheen Incumbent||51.5%||251,184|
|Source: New Hampshire Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, New Jersey General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Cory Booker Incumbent||55.8%||1,043,866|
|Economic Growth||Hank Schroeder||0.3%||5,704|
|Source: New Jersey Division of Elections|
|U.S. Senate, New Mexico General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Tom Udall Incumbent||55.6%||286,409|
|Source: New Mexico Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, North Carolina General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Kay Hagan Incumbent||47.3%||1,377,651|
|Source: North Carolina State Board of Elections|
|U.S. Senate, Oklahoma General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Jim Inhofe Incumbent||68%||558,166|
|Source: Oklahoma State Election Board|
|U.S. Senate, Oregon General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Jeff Merkley Incumbent||55.7%||814,537|
|Green||Christina Jean Lugo||2.2%||32,434|
|Source: Oregon Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Rhode Island General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Jack Reed Incumbent||70.6%||223,675|
|Source: Rhode Island Board of Elections|
|U.S. Senate, South Carolina General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Lindsey Graham Incumbent||55.3%||672,941|
|Source: South Carolina State Election Commission|
|U.S. Senate, South Dakota General Election, 2014|
|Source: South Dakota Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Tennessee General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Lamar Alexander Incumbent||61.9%||849,629|
|Tea Party||Tom Emerson, Jr.||0.8%||11,149|
|Source: Tennessee Secretary of State Vote totals above are unofficial and will be updated once official totals are made available.|
|U.S. Senate, Texas General Election, 2014|
|Republican||John Cornyn Incumbent||61.6%||2,860,678|
|Green||Emily Marie Sanchez||1.2%||54,695|
|Source: Texas Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Virginia General Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Mark Warner Incumbent||49.1%||1,073,667|
|Source: Virginia Department of Elections|
|U.S. Senate, West Virginia General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito||62.1%||280,400|
|Mountain||Bob Henry Baber||1.2%||5,481|
|Source: West Virginia Secretary of State|
|U.S. Senate, Wyoming General Election, 2014|
|Republican||Mike Enzi Incumbent||72.2%||121,554|
|Source: Wyoming Secretary of State|
Margin of victory
The following table shows the margin of victory for each race winner, which is calculated by examining the percentage difference between the top-two vote getters. If the race was uncontested, the margin of victory is listed as 100%. Some general facts:
- The average margin of victory was 22.6 percent.
- On average, Democrats won closer races than Republicans. Average MOV for Democratic winners was 18.7 percent, while Republicans had an average margin of 24.7 percent.
- The closest race was in Virginia, where incumbent Mark Warner (D) held on to his seat, defeating Ed Gillespie by 0.8 percent of the vote.
- The largest margin of victory was in Alabama, where incumbent Jeff Sessions (R) faced no opponent in the general election. This election marked the first time in Alabama history that the Democratic Party fielded no candidates for the U.S. Senate race.
|Margin of Victory in 2014 United States Senate Elections|
|State||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Vote||Top Opponent|
|Alaska||Dan Sullivan||2.1%||282,400||Mark Begich|
|Arkansas||Tom Cotton||17.1%||847,000||Mark Pryor|
|Colorado||Cory Gardner||1.9%||2,041,020||Mark Udall|
|Delaware||Chris Coons||13.6%||234,038||Kevin Wade|
|Georgia||David Perdue||7.7%||2,567,761||Michelle Nunn|
|Hawaii||Brian Schatz||42.1%||353,689||Cam Cavasso|
|Iowa||Joni Ernst||8.3%||1,129,700||Bruce Braley|
|Idaho||Jim Risch||30.7%||437,170||Nels Mitchell|
|Illinois||Richard Durbin||10.9%||3,603,475||Jim Oberweis|
|Kansas||Pat Roberts||10.6%||866,191||Greg Orman|
|Kentucky||Mitch McConnell||15.5%||1,435,725||Alison Lundergan Grimes|
|Louisiana Runoff Election||Bill Cassidy||11.9%||1,273,589||Mary Landrieu|
|Massachusetts||Ed Markey||22.8%||2,186,791||Brian Herr|
|Missouri||Susan Collins||36.2%||616,996||Shenna Bellows|
|Michigan||Gary Peters||13.3%||3,121,698||Terri Lynn Land|
|Minnesota||Al Franken||10.2%||1,981,528||Mike McFadden|
|Mississippi||Thad Cochran||22%||631,858||Travis Childers|
|Montana||Steve Daines||17.7%||369,826||Amanda Curtis|
|North Carolina||Thom Tillis||1.6%||2,915,281||Kay Hagan|
|Nebraska||Ben Sasse||32.9%||539,891||Dave Domina|
|New Hampshire||Jeanne Shaheen||3.2%||488,159||Scott Brown|
|New Jersey||Cory Booker||13.5%||1,869,535||Jeff Bell|
|New Mexico||Tom Udall||11.1%||515,506||Allen Weh|
|Oklahoma Special Election||James Lankford||38.9%||820,890||Constance Johnson|
|Oklahoma||Jim Inhofe||39.5%||820,733||Matt Silverstein|
|Oregon||Jeff Merkley||18.9%||1,461,618||Monica Wehby|
|Rhode Island||Jack Reed||41.3%||316,898||Mark Zaccaria|
|South Carolina Special Election||Tim Scott||24%||1,238,982||Joyce Dickerson|
|South Carolina||Lindsey Graham||17.8%||1,215,868||Brad Hutto|
|South Dakota||Mike Rounds||20.9%||279,412||Rick Weiland|
|Tennessee||Lamar Alexander||31.7%||1,301,733||Gordon Ball|
|Texas||John Cornyn||27.2%||4,647,371||David Alameel|
|Virginia||Mark Warner||0.8%||2,184,473||Ed Gillespie|
|West Virginia||Shelley Moore Capito||27.6%||451,498||Natalie Tennant|
|Wyoming||Mike Enzi||54.7%||168,390||Charlie Hardy|
In 2014, Republicans needed to pick up six seats held by Democrats in order to gain a majority.
Five incumbent Democratic U.S. Senators announced that they would not run for re-election in 2014 (please see table below), and the GOP was considered a favorite to pick up many of the seats they were leaving vacant. Three other states with Democratic U.S. Senators were up for re-election in 2014 (Alaska, Arkansas and North Carolina) were generally considered to have GOP-leaning electorates. A competitive race for the open seat in Georgia developed due to the retirement of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).
Seven senators announced they would not 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, necessitated three special elections that were held with the 33 regular elections on November 4, 2014.
This list includes John Walsh of Montana who was appointed to the Senate in February 2014, but decided against seeking a full-term.
|Carl Levin||Democratic||U.S. Senator, Michigan|
|Jay Rockefeller||Democratic||West Virginia|
|Tim Johnson||Democratic||South Dakota|
|Tom Harkin||Democratic||U.S. Senator, 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.
The following table displays the partisan composition of the U.S. Senate before the 2014 elections.
|U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown|
|Party||As of 2014 Election||After the 2014 Election|
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:
- Alaska - Seat currently held by Mark Begich (D)
- Georgia - Open seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss (R)
- Nebraska - Open seat currently held by Mike Johanns (R)
- North Carolina - Seat currently held by Kay Hagan (D)
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.
- Tom Cotton (R-AR) raised $2.28 million, compared to Sen. Mark Pryor's $1.5 million in the Arkansas Senate race.
- Mark Pryor (AR) raised $1.22 million compared to challenger Rep. Tom Cotton's $1.35 million
- Mark Begich (AK) raised $1.05 million compared to the $2 million raised by challenger, Dan Sullivan, during the same period.
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. The report also found that 2014 had the potential to 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.
The incumbents highlighted in the article were:
- Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led in fundraising, having raised more than $15 million for the 2014 cycle
- Lindsey Graham (SC) and John Cornyn (TX) had raised more than $8 million in the 2014 cycle
- Kay Hagan (NC), Mark Pryor (AR) and Mary Landrieu (LA) had each raised between $4 million to $7 million in the 2014 cycle
- Mary Landrieu (LA) raised $1.2 million and had $3.5 million cash on hand
- Mark Pryor (AR) raised $1.9 million and had $3.4 million cash on hand
- Kay Hagan (NC) raised $1.6 million and had $2.7 million cash on hand
- Mark Begich (AK) raised $948,000 and had $1.5 million cash on hand
DSCC and NRSC
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 needed to win just three seats in states with incumbent Democratic senators.
Outside race ratings
Cook Political Report
|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||6||5||6||3||0||4||11||17||15||35|
|August 2, 2013||7||4||6||2||3||2||11||17||16||35|
|October 17, 2013||7||4||6||2||3||2||11||17||16||35|
|December 19, 2013||7||5||4||3||3||1||12||16||16||35|
|February 7, 2014||6||6||4||3||3||1||13||16||17||36|
|February 27, 2014||6||5||5||3||3||1||13||16||17||36|
|March 19, 2014||8||2||3||7||2||2||12||13||16||36|
|April 25, 2014||8||2||2||8||2||2||12||12||16||36|
|August 15, 2014||7||3||1||9||2||3||11||11||16||36|
|September 19, 2014||7||3||1||9||1||3||12||11||16||36|
|October 17, 2014||7||3||1||10||1||2||12||11||15||36|
According to an analysis by Nate Silver, previously of The New York Times and now at his own blog FiveThirtyEight, Democrats had a tough road ahead of them in the U.S. Senate in 2014. Democrats held 21 of the 36 seats up for election in 2014, and there were more Democratic controlled seats that lean Republican than Republican seats that lean Democratic.
Additionally, Democrats were predicted to suffer from a lower voter turnout of their base due to the fact that 2014 was a midterm election and President Obama was not be on the ballot.
Silver's March 2014 ratings predicted that Republicans would pick-up the six seats needed to control the Senate.
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.
|FiveThirtyEight -- U.S. Senate|
|Month||Solid D||Likely D||Lean D||Tossup||Lean R||Likely R||Solid R|
|February 20, 2013||6||7||3||4||0||4||11|
|July 15, 2013||8||4||3||3||0||4||13|
|March 23, 2014||10||2||3||1||1||4||16|
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.
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 were: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats were held by Democrats.
Issues in 2014
- 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 funded the government until December 2013, but stripped 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.
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 have addressed 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." 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.
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 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||1,014|
|CNN/ORC (September 27-29, 2013)||10%||87%||+/-3.5||803|
|Gallup (October 3-6, 2013)||11%||85%||+/-4||1,028|
|AP-GfK (October 3-7, 2013)||5%||83%||+/-3.4||1,227|
|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|
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 2014, this was be the first election since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This may have been problematic for Democratic senators who voted in favor of the bill in states where it was no longer popular. Among these senators included:
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 were:
- 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. 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.
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."
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.
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. 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.
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 (Utah)'s effort to defund Obamacare.
- 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."
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." 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."
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. 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."
- 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)
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. 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. According to analysis by OpenSecrets.org, many of these Democratic members received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.
- United States Congress elections, 2014
- United States House of Representatives elections, 2014
- 113th Congress members behaving badly
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