Difference between revisions of "United States Congress elections, 2014"

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As of December 2013, seven incumbent senators and 22 representatives who had announced they [[List of U.S. Congress incumbents not running for re-election in 2014|would not be seeking re-election]].
 
As of December 2013, seven incumbent senators and 22 representatives who had announced they [[List of U.S. Congress incumbents not running for re-election in 2014|would not be seeking re-election]].
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Many pundits are calling the 2014 midterms a possible referendum on the [[#Affordable Care Act|Affordable Care Act]] and the major troubles with the [[Healthcare.gov website rollout|policy's rollout]].<ref>[http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/democrats-fear-obamacare-will-cost-them-the-senate-20131126 ''National Journal'', "Democrats Fear Obamacare Will Cost Them The Senate," accessed December 20, 2013]</ref>
  
 
==U.S. Senate==
 
==U.S. Senate==

Revision as of 10:26, 20 December 2013

2012
2016



CongressLogo.png

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 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats, including two special elections, and all 435 House seats) are up for election on November 4, 2014.

Heading into the election, Democrats control the U.S. Senate while Republicans are the majority in the U.S. House. For Republicans to regain the majority in the Senate, they need to net six seats and retain control of the 14 seats currently held by a Republican. For Democrats in the House, a pick up of 17 seats is needed.[1]

As of December 2013, seven incumbent senators and 22 representatives who had announced they would not be seeking re-election.

Many pundits are calling the 2014 midterms a possible referendum on the Affordable Care Act and the major troubles with the policy's rollout.[2]

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, two special elections will take place in 2014 to fill vacancies that occurred during the 113th Congress (Hawaii and South Carolina). Both of these special elections will also take place on November 4, 2014, for a total of 35 Senate elections.

U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown
Party As of December 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 53 Pending
     Republican Party 45 Pending
     Independent 2 Pending
Total 100 100

Open seats

As of December 2013, seven senators announced they will not be running for re-election in 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
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 most in danger of changing control in 2014. Their December 2013 rankings are below, along with their August 2013 ranking of the race in parentheses:[3]

  • 10. Republican Party Georgia & Michigan: "Last quarter, Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn and Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land both showed that they can raise money. Both are underdogs who need circumstances to fall in their favor to have a good shot at winning. The key for them is to do everything they can to put themselves in a strong position leading up to the election in case the door is open. (Previous ranking: 10)"[3]
  • 9. Democratic Party Iowa: "None of the Republican candidates put up impressive fundraising numbers last quarter, while Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s money machine kept on churning. If state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) wants to distinguish herself in the crowded GOP field, she is going to have to pick up the pace. (Previous ranking: 9)"[3]
  • 8. Democratic Party North Carolina: "The air war is heating up already. Americans for Prosperity recently hit Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with an ad tying her to President Obama while Senate Majority PAC came to her defense with a spot saying those who are attacking her tried to shut the government down. North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R) won’t run, which is good news for state House Speaker Thom Tillis, albeit not unexpected news, either. Tillis still has to deal with tea party candidate Greg Brannon, who is dealing with his own issues, like potential plagiarism. (Previous ranking: 8)"[3]
  • 7. Republican Party Kentucky: "The willingness of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) to negotiate an end to the shutdown showdown seemed to indicate that he is less worried about his primary challenge than many people may have thought. Indeed, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes looks like the bigger worry for McConnell at this point, especially after she put up a huge third quarter fundraising number. We’ll be watching to see whether the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsement of Matt Bevin (R) does anything to help him move the needle against McConnell, against whom he’s made little progress. (Previous ranking: 7)"[3]
  • 6. Democratic Party Louisiana: "GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy’s disappointing fundraising haul and SCF’s endorsement of Rob Maness (R) was turbulence the GOP did not need as it looks to unseat Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). But Landrieu, like other red state Democrats, will have to deal with the fallout from the rollout of Obamacare. Still, the GOP’s issue here and the growing sense among strategists that Landrieu could be a tough out moves Louisiana down the line one spot. (Previous ranking: 5)"[3]
  • 5. Democratic Party Alaska: "Former Alaska attorney general Dan Sullivan (R) recently made his campaign official, putting him in the mix with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who announced a bid this summer, and disastrous 2010 nominee Joe Miller, who has filed papers to run. A rough primary would be welcome news for Sen. Mark Begich (D). (Previous ranking: 6)"[3]
  • 4. Democratic Party Arkansas: "Ads pegged to the government shutdown in this race illustrated how both political parties will seek to use the standoff to their advantage. Meanwhile, competitive House races and a competitive governor’s race make Arkansas an interesting state to watch, and a coordinated Democratic effort could boost the chances of Sen. Mark Pryor (D). Still, Pryor remains the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent on the map. (Previous ranking: 4)"[3]
  • 3. Democratic Party Montana: "Republicans landed the recruit they wanted this week when Rep. Steve Daines entered the race. Democrats, meanwhile, are rallying around Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who faces a primary against former lieutenant governor John Bohlinger (D). Bohlinger raised eyebrows when he compared the tea party to the Taliban. This is a must-win race for Republicans hoping to win back the majority. So far, it’s been going well for them. (Previous ranking: 2)"[3]
  • 2. Democratic Party West Virginia: "It’s been nearly a year since Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) became one of the first high-profile Republicans to announce for the Senate this cycle. It’s been a good decision for her so far. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) entered the race after numerous other Democrats passed. Capito is in the driver’s seat in a state where Obama is woefully unpopular. (Previous ranking: 2)"[3]
  • 1. Democratic Party South Dakota: " The seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D) remains the GOP’s best opportunity for a pickup. After sputtering at first as a fundraiser, former governor Mike Rounds has put together two straight $600,000+ quarters. (Previous ranking: 1)"[3]

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report released race ratings for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors in 2014. There were seven possible designations:[4]

     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[5] 6 5 6 3 0 4 11 17 15 35
August 2, 2013[6] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
October 17, 2013[7] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
December 19, 2013[8] 7 5 4 3 3 1 12 16 16 35
February 7, 2014[9] 6 6 4 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
February 27, 2014[10] 6 5 5 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
March 19, 2014[11] 8 2 3 7 2 2 12 13 16 36
April 25, 2014[12] 8 2 2 8 2 2 12 12 16 36
August 15, 2014[13] 7 3 1 9 2 3 11 11 16 36
September 19, 2014[14] 7 3 1 9 1 3 12 11 16 36
October 17, 2014[15] 7 3 1 10 1 2 12 11 15 36

Campaign finance

April 2013

According to an April 2013 Politico report, incumbent Democrats in red states raised "millions" in the first three months of 2013.[16] 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 (AK) 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[16]

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.[17] 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.[17]

The incumbents highlighted in the article were:[17]

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

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.[18]

November 2013: The DSCC raised $5.1 million in November, while the NRSC raised $3.2 million during the same period.

This left the NRSC with $6.4 million cash on hand. The DSCC had $12 million cash on hand, however, the organization was still carrying $5 million in debt.[19]

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.[20]

NRSC worries

In September 2013, Politico released a report on fundraising and internal problems within the NRSC. The group had only raised $21.7 million through September in 2013, which was $5 million less than it had at the same time in 2009, with 2010 being the most recent midterm elections.
There was also speculation that a staff chasm left some staffers loyal to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), the acting NRSC chairman, while others fell more in line with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), the vice chairman of finance.[21]

U.S. House

See also: United States House of Representatives elections, 2014

All 435 seats of the U.S. House will be up for election.

U.S. House Partisan Breakdown
Party As of December 2014 After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 201 Pending
     Republican Party 234 Pending
     Vacancy 0 Pending
Total 435 435
  • The official count for the post-election breakdown is still pending due to uncalled races.

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.

19 districts fit in this category.

2. If a district had all six quantifiable predictions/results highlighted (Cook, Fairvote, MOV, 2012 presidential, 2008 presidential and incumbent years in office) and three were of the most competitive nature, purple, at least two were of the intermediate competitiveness (orange) and they had a “special factor” to the competition (outside spending, redistricting) they were added to the 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 a MOV of ten percent or less, an incumbent who has served less than ten years or a competitive 2014 candidate. (UT-04, for example)

Three districts fit 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).

Two districts were 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 28 most competitive

  • Cook's PVI is Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index.[22]
  • FairVote's %D is FairVote.org's 2014 congressional election projections.[23]
  • 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

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) gained an early fundraising advantage in the first quarter of 2013. It outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee $22.6 million to $17.5 million. Party strategists attributed the edge to Democrats' advantage in Internet fundraising and small-dollar donations. Additionally vulnerable Democratic incumbents lead their endangered Republican counterparts in a majority of races.[24]

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.[25] Comparatively, the DCCC reported raising $65,202,181 and spending $41,423,695, leaving it with $25,266,707 cash on hand.[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

July 2013

As of July 2013, the DCCC had outraised the NRCC by $6.5 million.[29]

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[30] 14 16 8 1 11 17 28 29 57
September 5, 2013[31] 14 15 9 1 11 17 38 29 67
October 21, 2013[32] 14 15 9 1 11 17 36 34 70
October 30, 2013[33] 12 15 10 2 16 16 37 34 71
December 18, 2013[34] 14 14 10 4 15 15 38 34 72
January 7, 2014[35] 14 15 10 4 16 16 39 36 75
January 15, 2014[36] 14 14 11 4 16 18 39 38 77
February 13, 2014[37] 14 13 11 4 16 18 38 38 76
March 13, 2014[38] 15 13 11 3 16 18 39 37 76
April 4, 2014[39] 15 13 11 3 17 19 39 39 78
June 26, 2014[40] 16 14 11 2 16 18 41 36 77
August 8, 2014[41] 15 13 13 3 9 17 41 29 70
September 19, 2014[42] 14 13 11 4 8 18 38 30 68
October 22, 2014[43] 11 14 13 5 6 15 38 26 64

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: [44]

     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[45] 7 20 5 3 15 12 32 30 62
December 17, 2013[46] 8 19 5 6 14 14 32 34 66
January 7, 2014[47] 8 19 5 7 14 14 32 35 67
March 12, 2014[48] 10 15 7 5 14 15 32 34 66
March 31, 2014[49] 10 15 7 5 15 16 32 36 68
August 6, 2014[50] 9 13 10 3 11 16 32 30 62


Five primaries to watch

Politico published a list in August 2013 of the five primaries to watch in 2014. They included:[51]

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.[51]
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.[51] Smith also has the backing of Rod Beck, a former state senator and an influential GOP activist in the state.[51]
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.[51]
Shuster’s (R) primary will pit an incumbent against the anti-establishment wing of the party.[51] 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.[51]
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.[51]
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.[51]
Honda is regarded on Capitol Hill as a well-liked and congenial figure who coasts to victory every other year.[51]
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.[51] 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.[51] 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.[51]
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.[51] 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.[51]
The race is almost certain to extend beyond the June 3 primary.[51] Under California’s newly implemented “Top-Two” system, the top two finishers advance to the November general election, regardless of their party affiliation.[51]
According to Politico there is no incumbent more likely to lose a primary than DesJarlais, the scandal-plagued sophomore Republican congressman.[51] 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.[51] DesJarlais still managed to win re-election in the conservative district.[51]
On August 7, 2013, DesJarlais formally launched his bid for a third term.[51] In 2014, DesJarlais will be confronting several serious primary opponents, including state senator Jim Tracy and state representative Joe Carr.[51] While DesJarlais has raised $160,000 in 2013, Tracy has taken in nearly $740,000 and Carr $305,000.[51]
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.[51]
Vulnerable after the scandal surrounding his wife, Tierney barely managed to win re-election in 2012.[51] In 2010, Patrice Tierney pleaded guilty to helping her brother file false tax returns in connection with his operation of an illegal offshore casino.[51]
Republicans criticized Tiernery about his wife, alleging that he was fully aware of her conduct.[51] 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.[51] 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.[51] Also running is Marisa DeFranco (D), an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012.[51]

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 in order to cultivate support in the beginning stages of the 2014 election cycle.[52]

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.

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."[53]

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 include:

"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 or not it is a presidential or midterm election cycle. "The Monkey Cage" will publish any changes in the forecast.[55]

  • December 2013:
    • Democrats will win approximately 48 percent of the popular vote for the House.
    • Democrats will win 196 seats, for a loss of five seats.

Congressional polling

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
Gallup (November 7-12, 2013)
9%86%+/-41,039
AVERAGES 10.6% 82% +/-3.92 914.8
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Constituent approval

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."

After October shutdown

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.[56]

Issues heading into 2014

[edit]

Affordable Care Act

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:

[57]

Sen. Lee letter

In July 2013, Sen. Mike 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:

SCF targets

The Senate Conservatives 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 Mike Lee's effort to defund Obamacare. [58]

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.[59]

In the midst of the government shutdown in October 2013, talks began regarding the impending debt ceiling.

Farm Bill

See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

The farm bill is an expansive piece of legislation that provides funding for commodity programs, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, organic agriculture, livestock, crop insurance, disaster assistance programs and tax provisions.[60] The farm bill is typically passed every five years. The 2008 Farm bill expired September 30, 2012. Congress extended the 2008 bill for one more year, bringing us to the current controversy over the 2013 Farm Bill.[61]

The vast majority of the farm bill is nutrition--roughly 75% of the total farm bill. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) makes up about 72% of the nutrition budget. Crop insurance is expected to be the next largest budgetary expense.[60]

Nutrition and federal spending are in the cross hairs of the current farm bill debate. Republicans want to see cuts to the food assistance programs and Democrats are concerned with crop insurance fraud.[62] In an effort to push through some type of farm bill, the House has attempted to split food stamps from farm policy and create two separate bills. This is the first time since 1973 that food stamps have been split from farm policy.[63]

If the bill expires on September 30, 2013, effects of not having a new bill would not be seen until December 31, 2013, when the dairy price support program would end. If a new bill is not passed before the current one ends, the program would revert back to 1940's era agriculture laws. Crops would likely not be effected until summer of 2014, when the 2013 crop cycle ends.[64]

Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

In August 2012, President Obama said the "red line" for U.S. involvement in Syria was the use of chemical or biological weapons.[65] In April 2013, reports surfaced that Syria had used chemical weapons twice in their civil war, but it was not enough for the U.S. to intervene. In June 2013, President Obama authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels following more reports of small scale chemical weapon attacks.[65]

On August 21, 2013, the Syrian government was accused of a chemical weapons attack on a town in the suburbs of Damascus, killing thousands, including women and children.[65] On September 3, 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and General Martin Dempsey met with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support President Obama's decision to use military force to intervene in the Syrian conflict.[66] The group met with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 5.[67]

See also: Gang of Eight

Most recently, the Gang of Eight has been used in reference to immigration reform and includes eight of the most influential Senators, with four from each party.[68][69]

On May 6, 2013, Senators John McCain (R), Chuck Schumer (D), Richard Durbin (D), Robert Menendez (D), Michael Bennet (D), Lindsey Graham (R), Marco Rubio (R) and Jeff Flake (R) unveiled the outlines of their bi-partisan immigration plan.[68][69] The statement of principles was rather broad, but sets forth “four basic pillars”:

  • 1. A “tough but fair path to citizenship . . . .contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country as required”;
  • 2. Reform our legal immigration system with a greater eye toward our economic needs;
  • 3. Workplace verification; and
  • 4. Setting up a system for admitting future workers (although the term “guest worker” is not used).[69]

On June 27, 2013, in a late afternoon vote, the Senate voted to approve the immigration reform bill, Senate Bill 744.[70] The bill passed by a vote of 68-to-32, with 14 Republicans voting in favor.[71][70]

Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans in a closed-door meeting on July 10, 2013, that the internal debate over immigration reform is an “important conversation," and that while the House will not take up the Senate-passed bill, members must do something to address the issue.[72]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) on July 8, 2013, ridiculed the House’s strategy of using the “Hastert rule” to pass legislation and said Speaker John Boehner will eventually have to take up the Senate’s immigration bill.[73] Reid also said Boehner’s adherence to the “Hastert Rule” requiring a majority of Republican caucus votes to move legislation is emblematic of the lower chamber’s dysfunction.[74]

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). [75]

The comprehensive bill failed in the House due largely in part to the votes of 8 Democratic House members who joined the Republican majority to vote down the measure.[76] Reps. Collin Peterson, John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Cheri Bustos, Sean Maloney, Mike McIntyre, Bill Owens, and Tim Walz were the 8 Democratic members who voted to reject the bill.[76] According to analysis by OpenSecrets, many of these Democratic members have received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.[76] 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.[76]

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.[77]

House Republicans passed a bill, the Student Success Act, on July 19, 2013, to reduce the federal role in public education and outline their vision for a national educational policy to replace the No Child Left Behind law.[78][79] The measure would give state and local governments greater powers to determine how best to improve schools and would sharply reduce federal involvement in education matters.[79]

It marks a significant departure from No Child Left Behind, the 2002 law that set federal goals for academic achievement and penalties for schools that fell short of those goals, as well as prescriptions for steps states must take to improve failing schools.[78]

No Democrats supported the bill, which passed by a 221 to 207 margin, with 12 Republicans voting with the Democrats against the measure.[80] It marked the first time in a dozen years that either chamber of Congress approved a comprehensive bill to update federal education law.[78]

The House bill is said to have no chance of moving through the Democratic-led Senate as it is written, and President Obama has threatened to veto it.[79] The Senate committee overseeing education has completed work on its own measure that would give states greater flexibility in writing their own plans to improve schools. However, unlike the Republican proposal that passed the House, that bill would allow the education secretary to retain approval power over those proposals.[79] Full Senate consideration of the measure is unlikely to happen before the fall of 2014.[79]

See also

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