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===Goodlatte announces possible legislation===
===Goodlatte announces possible legislation===
In September 2013 [[Bob Goodlatte]] (R-Va), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, brought new attention to immigration reform in the [[U.S. House|House]].<ref name="say">[ ''Washington Post,'' "House Republicans say they’ll act on immigration reform this year," accessed September 25, 2013]</ref><ref>[ ''National Review,'' "Goodlatte Boosts the Gang of Eight?," accessed September 25, 2013]</ref><ref name="andthe">[ ''National Review,'' "Goodlatte and the Gang of Eight," accessed September 25, 2013]</ref>
In September 2013 [[Bob Goodlatte]] (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, brought new attention to immigration reform in the [[U.S. House|House]].<ref name="say">[ ''Washington Post,'' "House Republicans say they’ll act on immigration reform this year," accessed September 25, 2013]</ref><ref>[ ''National Review,'' "Goodlatte Boosts the Gang of Eight?," accessed September 25, 2013]</ref><ref name="andthe">[ ''National Review,'' "Goodlatte and the Gang of Eight," accessed September 25, 2013]</ref>
Goodlatte said on September 22, 2013, that his panel was working on four new pieces of legislation dealing with border-control laws. He did not disclose details but emphasized the need to resolve the status of people living in the country illegally.<ref name="say"/>
Goodlatte said on September 22, 2013, that his panel was working on four new pieces of legislation dealing with border-control laws. He did not disclose details but emphasized the need to resolve the status of people living in the country illegally.<ref name="say"/>

Revision as of 10:53, 25 September 2013



2014 U.S. House 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
Elections to the U.S. House will be held on November 4, 2014. All 435 seats will be up for election. Additionally, there will be special elections to fill vacancies that occur in the 113th United States Congress.

According to a Washington Post article in December 2012, it will be difficult for Democrats to win the majority in 2014, in part because the president's party rarely makes gains during the midterm election.[1]

Partisan breakdown

In 2012, where Barack Obama won re-election by 126 electoral votes, the Republican party maintained their control of the U.S. House winning 234 seats. The Democrats did make some gains, winning 201 seats. This is up from the 193 seats they held prior to the election.

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

Following the 2012 general election, Democratic candidates held on to nine seats that had a political lean favoring Republicans by 54% or more. This is down from prior to 2010 where Democrats held 32 seats in that same environment. With regards to ticket-splitting, there were 24 districts in which one party's nominee carried the presidential vote and the other party's nominee won the congressional race. All but four of which were won by an incumbent. Of the 435 districts, 241 had a Republican lean and this has parity to the partisan distribution in the 1990s when Democratic candidates were winning in many Republican leaning districts. While Democratic candidates won more than a million votes over Republican candidates in the 2012 general election, most of the votes were clustered around urban areas as opposed being broadly dispersed across the country. There are 47 districts with a partisan divide of 70 percent to 30 percent in favor of Democrats. Only 23 such districts exist on the Republican side. Of the 16 districts where the partisan divide is 80% to 20% or more, Democrats represent 15 of them.[2]

Competitive races

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[3] 14 16 8 1 11 17 28 29 57
September 5, 2013[4] 14 15 9 1 11 17 38 29 67
October 21, 2013[5] 14 15 9 1 11 17 36 34 70
October 30, 2013[6] 12 15 10 2 16 16 37 34 71
December 18, 2013[7] 14 14 10 4 15 15 38 34 72
January 7, 2014[8] 14 15 10 4 16 16 39 36 75
January 15, 2014[9] 14 14 11 4 16 18 39 38 77
February 13, 2014[10] 14 13 11 4 16 18 38 38 76
March 13, 2014[11] 15 13 11 3 16 18 39 37 76
April 4, 2014[12] 15 13 11 3 17 19 39 39 78

Five primaries to watch

Politico published a list in August 2013 of the five primaries to watch in 2014. They included:[13]

Democratic and Republican targets

DCCC Frontline Program

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.

DCCC Jumpstart Program

The DCCC's Jumpstart Program is providing early support to candidates in order to cultivate support in the beginning stages of the 2014 election cycle.[14]

NRCC Patriot Program

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.

NRCC targets

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

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

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

"But Barack Obama, the EPA, and Nick Rahall aren’t waging a war on umbrellas – they are waging a war on coal. And yesterday, Bloomberg reported a new front opening in that war – the EPA is set to issue a rule that will completely halt the development of new coal-fueled plants by requiring they meet unachievable carbon standards."[15]

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:




House counterpart breaks apart

See also: Gang of Eight

At the end of September 2013 reports circulated that the House version of the Gang of Eight was breaking apart.[16] The group started with eight members, but was reduced to seven in June 2013, when Raul Labrador (R-ID) left the group.[16] On September 20, 2013, two of the three remaining Republicans in the group, John Carter and Sam Johnson of Texas, announced their departure, citing “a lack of faith in President Obama to enforce current and new laws necessary to solve the immigration problem.”[16]

“After years of hard work and countless meetings, we have reached a tipping point and can no longer continue working on a broad approach to immigration,” the congressmen said in a joint statement. “We want to be clear. The problem is politics. Instead of doing what’s right for America, President Obama time and again has unilaterally disregarded the U.S. Constitution, the letter of the law and bypassed the Congress — the body most representative of the people — in order to advance his political agenda. We will not tolerate it.”[16]

“If past actions are the best indicators of future behavior; we know that any measure depending on the president’s enforcement will not be faithfully executed,” they said. ”It would be gravely irresponsible to further empower this administration by granting them additional authority or discretion with a new immigration system. The bottom line is — the American people do not trust the President to enforce laws, and we don’t either.”[16]

Carter and Johnson pledged to continue working with their Republican colleagues in the House in search of ”a way to fix this problem that will instill the authentic accountability that has been missing in immigration for the past 25 years.” Immigration reform must start “with a genuinely secure border, full implementation of E-verify, effective enforcement of current and future laws, and a commitment that any proposal contributes to a healthy economy,” they said.[16]

Goodlatte announces possible legislation

In September 2013 Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, brought new attention to immigration reform in the House.[17][18][19]

Goodlatte said on September 22, 2013, that his panel was working on four new pieces of legislation dealing with border-control laws. He did not disclose details but emphasized the need to resolve the status of people living in the country illegally.[17]

“We want to do immigration reform right,” Goodlatte told about 70 Hispanic leaders during a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill, adding that he hopes the House can begin considering bills in October 2013.[17]

An aide for Goodlatte also said in September 2013, “Among his many concerns, the Senate bill gives a legal status before enforcement is up and operating, provides a special pathway to citizenship for those who have broken our immigration laws, and allows the president to waive many, if not most, of the bill’s interior enforcement requirements," and added that Goodlatte “has never been and is not now an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform—he supports a step-by-step approach,” and is intent on ”carefully and methodically reviewing each component in detail so that we get immigration reform right.” [19]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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.[20]

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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24]

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. If the motion for cloture garners fewer than 60 votes, Reid would be unable to strip the Obamacare defunding language contained in the Republican House members' continuing resolution (CR).

The success or failure of the vote for cloture will have significant ramifications with regard to the possible shutdown of the federal government looming in October. Even if the cloture vote passes, the Senate will be handing a bill back to the Republican-controlled House that does not defund Obamacare.[25]

Congressional timeline

September 20, 2013: House Republicans passed a stopgap budget bill to fund the government through December 15, 2013. The bills strips all funding for the Affordable Care Act.
The single Republican dissenting vote was Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-03). In a statement, Rigell stated his reason for breaking with the party, "This CR fails to address the sequester that is negatively impacting those who wear our nation’s uniform and is the result of Congress’ inability to pass the 12 appropriations bills necessary to properly fund the government on time. What is needed is a comprehensive solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges, including a replacement for sequestration."

The two Democrats who joined with Republicans to pass the continuing resolution were Reps. Jim Matheson (UT-04) and Mike McIntyre (NC-07). Both Matheson and McIntyre were elected by margins of victory of less than one percent in 2012 in conservative districts which overwhelming voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. September 23, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both said there will be no hold-ups on the debt ceiling bill. Reid said there will be no filibuster and McConnell said he would not support efforts to block a vote on the bill. McConnell explained, "I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare. All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that." Instead, McConnell is pushing for a vote to end debate on the bill, thus leaving the defunding language in the bill. Reid reiterated that regardless of what happens, a vote will be held on Wednesday September 25, 2013.[26]

September 24, 2013: Starting midafternoon, Sen. Ted Cruz began a filibuster. Cruz stated that he would continuing speaking "until I am no longer able to stand."[27]


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.[28] 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.[28]

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.[28] 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.[29] The group met with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 5.[30]

Congressional timeline

  • September 1, 2013: Several top U.S. government officials held classified briefing and several senators were in attendance.[31]
  • September 3, 2013: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and ranking member Bob Corker (R-TN) drafted a compromise resolution that was to be debated in the hearing the next day.[32]
  • September 3, 2013: The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.[32]
  • September 4, 2013: John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) drafted an amendment adding language which stated that the policy of the United States was to pursue a reversal of the momentum on the ground in Syria as a means to encourage a political solution between the regime and the opposition.[32]
  • September 4, 2013: United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted 10-7 in favor of resolution setting a 60-day limit on any engagement in Syria, with a possible 30-day extension, and barred the use of U.S. troops on the ground for combat operations.[33]
  • September 6, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced resolution to the Senate.[34]
  • September 8, 2013: Vice-President Joe Biden met with Senate Republicans. Obama also attended the meeting.[35]
  • September 9, 2013: National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey met with Congress.[35]
  • September 10, 2013: Bipartisan group of congressional members led by Sen. Rand Paul met to discuss ways to oppose the resolution.[36]
  • September 10, 2013: Amid news of a potential deal between Russia and Syria, in which Syrian President Assad agrees to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, the Senate vote originally scheduled for September 11, 2013, was postponed.[37]
  • September 10, 2013: United States House Committee on Armed Services met with Secretary of State John Kerry.[37]
  • September 10, 2013: President Barack Obama met with Senate Democrats.[35]
  • September 10, 2013: John McCain and Carl Levin drafted a resolution authorizing the use of military force only after prescribed period of time in which the United Nations would be given a chance to take control of Syria's chemical weapons.[37]
  • September 10, 2013: President Barack Obama addressed the nation.[38]
  • September 11, 2013: Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote an op-ed that appeared on the New York Times website. Putin argued against military intervention in Syria, "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation." The line referred to Obama's speech on Tuesday night where he said, "That's what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth."[38]
  • September 12, 2013: Vice President Joe Biden announced that he cancelled an official trip to Panama in order to focus on the administration's Syrian efforts in the coming weeks.[39]
  • September 14, 2013: Amid news of of a mid-2014 deadline for Syria to relinquish the chemical weapons, the congressional vote was postponed.[40]

2012 Election summary

In a February 2013 article in the Washington Post, political scientists John Sides and Eric McGhee argued that redistricting was not solely responsible for Republicans maintaining control of the U.S. House in 2012. By comparing the 2012 election to prior elections, the authors maintanied that additional factors like incumbency and the increasingly concentrated nature of Democratic votes in urban areas contributed to the outcome.[41]

Margin of victory analysis

There were a total of 435 seats up for election in 2012. 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:

  • 30 races (6.9 percent) had a margin of victory of less than 5 percent. Of those 30 races, 18 were Democratic winners while 12 were Republican.
  • 33 races (7.6 percent) had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. Of those 33 races, 15 were Democratic winners while 18 were Republican.
  • 87 races (20 percent) had a margin of victory between 10 and 20 percent. Of those 87 races, 23 were Democratic winners while 64 were Republican.
  • 285 races (65.5 percent) had a margin of victory of greater than 20 percent. Of those 285 races, 145 were Democratic winners while 140 were Republican.
  • The fewest votes were in Texas' 29th District, with only 95,611 total votes. Incumbent Gene Green (D) faced two third-party candidates in the general election.
  • The most votes were in Montana, with 479,740 votes cast. Montana has a total population of 998,199 -- which is roughly 250,000 above the average district size in states without single districts. Because Montana has only one district for the whole state, its voters per district is higher than the rest of the country. The average size of each district is 709,000. The second-most votes cast came in Colorado's 2nd District, with 421,580 total votes.
  • The smallest margin of victory, was North Carolina's 7th District, where incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre defeated David Rouzer (R) by 0.2 percent (654 votes).
  • The largest margin of victory where both major parties fielded a general election candidate was in New York's 15th District, where incumbent Democrat Jose Serrano defeated Frank Della Valle (R) by 83%.
  • The average margin of victory of all congressional districts was 31.85%, meaning that on average the winner of each race received nearly twice as many votes as the top opponent. Average MOV for Democratic winners was 35.7%, while the average for Republicans was 28.6%.
  • The average number of votes cast per district was 281,917, yielding an average voter turnout of 39.76%.

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Washington Post "House Democrats Face Long Odds in 2014," December 7, 2012
  2. "The House GOP can’t be beat: It’s worse than gerrymandering," January 13, 2013
  3. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed August 9, 2013
  4. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed September 18, 2013
  5. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed October 21, 2013
  6. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed October 30, 2013
  7. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed December 18, 2013
  8. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed January 7, 2014
  9. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed January 15, 2014
  10. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed February 14, 2014
  11. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed March 13, 2014
  12. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS," accessed April 4, 2014
  13. Politico, "5 House primaries to watch," Accessed August 8, 2013
  14. Roll Call;, "Democrats Launch New Program for House Recruits," May 9, 2013
  15., "Nick Rahall's War on Umbrellas," September 12, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 National Review, "House Immigration ‘Gang’ Falls Apart," accessed September 25, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Washington Post, "House Republicans say they’ll act on immigration reform this year," accessed September 25, 2013
  18. National Review, "Goodlatte Boosts the Gang of Eight?," accessed September 25, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 National Review, "Goodlatte and the Gang of Eight," accessed September 25, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 Izaak Walton League of America, "What is a Farm Bill?", accessed September 17, 2013
  21. National Farmers Union, "2013 Farm Bill", accessed September 17, 2013
  22. New York Times, "Fraud Used to Frame Farm Bill Debate", accessed September 17, 2013
  23. National Journal, "Fight Over Food Stamps Dominates Farm Bill", accessed September 19, 2013
  24. University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, "2013 Farm Bill Update - July 2013", accessed September 17, 2013
  25. Reuters, "U.S. Senate Republicans start closing ranks on spending bill," accessed September 24, 2013
  26. Politico, "Harry Reid: There will be no filibuster", accessed September 24, 2013
  27., "What's Ted Cruz's deal?" accessed September 24, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Miami Herald, "Timeline of key events in Syrian uprising," September 4, 2013
  29. U.S. News and World Reports, "John Kerry, Chuck Hagel Pitch Syrian Strike to Congress," September 3, 2013
  30. Huffington Post, "House Syria Hearing: John Kerry, Chuck Hagel Going Before Foreign Affairs Committee," September 4, 2013
  31. People Daily, "US officials hold classified briefing with lawmakers to rally support to Syria vote", accessed September 5, 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 The Daily Beast, "Senate Breaks Own Rules in Rush to Vote on Syria War", accessed September 5, 2013
  33. Reuters, "U.S. resolution on Syria strike passes first hurdle in Senate", accessed September 5, 2013
  34. Washington Post, "Reid formally introduces Syria resolution", accessed September 6, 2013
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Politico, "President Obama to visit Senate Democrats on Tuesday", accessed September 9, 2013
  36. Politico, "Hill's Syria strike opponents meet", accessed September 10, 2013
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 NPR, "Breakthrough? Syria Hints It Might Give Up Chemical Weapons," accessed September 10, 2013
  38. 38.0 38.1 CNN, "Vladimir Putin's comments on American exceptionalism, Syria cause a fuss", accessed September 12, 2013
  39. Politico, "Biden cancels Panama trip to focus on Syria," accessed September 12, 2013
  40. Politico, "Tough Hill vote on Syria fades", accessed September 14, 2013
  41. The Washington Post, "Redistricting didn’t win Republicans the House," February 17, 2013