Difference between revisions of "United States House of Representatives elections, 2014"

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*[[United States Congress elections, 2014]]
*[[United States Congress elections, 2014]]
*[[United States Senate elections, 2014]]
*[[United States Senate elections, 2014]]
*[[113th Congress members behaving badly]]

Revision as of 13:11, 16 June 2014

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

Heading into the November 2014 election, the Republican Party holds a majority of seats in the U.S. House. The Democratic Party faces an uphill climb if it wants to retake the majority. This is in part because the president's party rarely makes gains during the midterm election.[1]

The possibility that the historical trend could be bucked came with a CNN/ORC poll after the October 2013 government shutdown, when respondents were asked to choose between a hypothetical Democratic or Republican congressional candidate. This poll showed a 50-42% lead for the Democrats. However, by November 2013, Republicans took the lead, 49-47%. This swift reversal came after weeks of headlines on the Healthcare.gov website rollout.[2][3]

An NBC/WSJ poll in late April 2014 indicated that 45% of voters want a Republican-controlled Congress and 45% of voters want a Democrat-controlled Congress. However, of voters who expressed the highest likelihood of voting, 53% prefer a Republican-controlled Congress and 38% prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress. The same poll gave President Obama a 41% approval rating. This is 13 points below where the president's approval stood in April 2010, a year that turned out badly for Democrats in the 2010 House elections.[4][5]



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

Partisan breakdown

In 2012, when 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. Due to various factors, the partisan breakdown of the 113th Congress has shifted throughout the session. The current breakdown is as follows:

U.S. House Partisan Breakdown
Party As of 2014 Election After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 201 188
     Republican Party 234 247
     Vacancy 0 0
Total 435 435

Following the 2012 general election, Democratic candidates held 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 these instances 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 to 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.[6]

Retiring incumbents

See also List of U.S. Congress incumbents not running for re-election in 2014

As of April 2015, 42 House members announced they would not seek re-election in 2014. Thirteen members are leaving their current positions to run for the Senate in 2014.

  • Democratic Party 16 Democrats
  • Republican Party 25 Republicans
Name:Party:Current office:
Allyson SchwartzElectiondot.png Democratic Pennsylvania, District 13
Bill CassidyEnds.png Republican Louisiana
Bill OwensElectiondot.png Democratic New York, District 21
Bruce BraleyElectiondot.png Democratic Iowa, District 1
Buck McKeonEnds.png Republican California, District 25
Carolyn McCarthyElectiondot.png Democratic New York, District 4
Colleen W. HanabusaElectiondot.png Democratic Hawaii, District 1
Cory GardnerEnds.png Republican Colorado
Dave CampEnds.png Republican Michigan, District 4
Doc HastingsEnds.png Republican Washington, District 4
Ed PastorElectiondot.png Democratic Arizona, District 7
Frank WolfEnds.png Republican Virginia, District 10
Gary MillerEnds.png Republican California, District 31
Gary PetersElectiondot.png Democratic Michigan
George MillerElectiondot.png Democratic California, District 11
Gloria Negrete McLeodElectiondot.png Democratic California, District 35
Henry WaxmanElectiondot.png Democratic California, District 33
Howard CobleEnds.png Republican North Carolina, District 6
Jack KingstonEnds.png Republican Georgia, District 1
James LankfordEnds.png Republican Oklahoma
Jim GerlachEnds.png Republican Pennsylvania, District 6
Jim MathesonElectiondot.png Democratic Utah, District 4
Jim MoranElectiondot.png Democratic Virginia, District 8
John CampbellEnds.png Republican California, District 45
John D. Dingell, Jr.Electiondot.png Democratic Michigan, District 12
Jon RunyanEnds.png Republican New Jersey, District 3
Michele BachmannEnds.png Republican Minnesota, District 6
Mike McIntyreElectiondot.png Democratic North Carolina, District 7
Mike MichaudElectiondot.png Democratic Maine, District 2
Mike RogersEnds.png Republican Michigan, District 8
Paul C. BrounEnds.png Republican Georgia, District 10
Phil GingreyEnds.png Republican Georgia, District 11
Rush D. Holt, Jr.Electiondot.png Democratic New Jersey, District 12
Shelley Moore CapitoEnds.png Republican West Virginia
Spencer BachusEnds.png Republican Alabama, District 6
Steve DainesEnds.png Republican Montana
Steve StockmanEnds.png Republican Texas, District 36
Tim GriffinEnds.png Republican Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas
Tom CottonEnds.png Republican Arkansas
Tom LathamEnds.png Republican Iowa, District 3
Tom PetriEnds.png Republican Wisconsin, District 6

Ballotpedia's battleground districts

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

Five criteria

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

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

Nineteen districts fit in this category.

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

Two districts fit into this category.

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

One district fits into this category.

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

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

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

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

The 26 most competitive

Color Key
Color Cook Partisan Voting Index Fairvote (Projected D%) Margin of Victory (MOV) 2012 Presidential MOV % % 2008 Presidential MOV % Incumbent years in office
Purple- most competitive Even; R or D 0-4 45.1% - 54.9% 0-4.9 0-4.9 0-4.9 0 - 4
Orange- very competitive R or D 5-7 42.1% - 45.0%; 55% - 57.9% 5.0-7.9 5.0-7.9 5.0-7.9 5 - 7
Green- competitive R or D 8-10 40.0% - 42.0%; 58% - 60% 8.0-10.00 8.0-10.00 8.0-10.00 8 - 10
House winners labeled this color indicate the party of the House winner being different from the party of the presidential winner of the district in 2012
Districts labeled this color indicate the districts that were pushed into most competitive based on heavily redrawn congressional districts
Most competitive districts for 2014 elections
Congressional district Battleground label Cook PVI Fairvote (Projected D%) Margin of Victory (MOV) in 2012 2012 Presidential MOV % 2008 Presidential MOV % Incumbent years in office 2012 House winner Campaign contributions difference Cost per vote for winner in 2012
Arizona's 1st Battleground D R+4 48% 3.6 -2.5 -3.2 0 Democratic 61.38% $19.13
Arizona's 2nd Battleground D R+3 50.9% 0.8 -1.5 -0.9 0 Democratic 65.57% $18.85
Arizona's 9th Battleground D R+1 51% 4.1 ✓4.5 ✓3.9 0 Democratic 64.44% $17.78
California's 7th Battleground D EVEN 51.4% 3.4 ✓4 ✓5 0 Democratic 57.34% $25.72
California's 21st Battleground R D+2 50.9% 15.5 ✓11.1 ✓6 0 Republican 91.39% $19.59
California's 36th Battleground D R+1 51.2% 5.9 ✓3.2 ✓3 0 Democratic 46.67% $17.94
California's 52nd Battleground D D+2 52.3% 2.4 ✓6.4 ✓12 0 Democratic 62.23% $28.93
Colorado's 6th Battleground R D+1 45.1% 2 ✓5.1 ✓8.7 4 Republican 66.81% $20.99
Florida's 18th Battleground D R+3 47.7% 0.6 -4.1 ✓3.1 0 Democratic 19.70% $28.58
Florida's 26th Battleground D R+1 53.1% 10.6 ✓6.7 -0.4 0 Democratic 69.59% $10.28
Illinois' 12th Battleground D EVEN 50.1% 8.9 ✓1.5 ✓11.1 0 Democratic 46.64% $7.52
Illinois' 13th Battleground R EVEN 47.2% 0.3 -0.3 ✓11 0 Republican 51.38% $10.22
Michigan's 1st Battleground R R+5 45.1% 0.5 -8.3 ✓1.3 2 Republican 59.74% $13.30
Minnesota's 8th Battleground D D+1 52.4% 8.9 ✓5.5 ✓8.6 0 Democratic 34.52% $6.52
Nevada's 3rd Battleground R EVEN 44.2% 7.5 ✓0.8 ✓8.9 2 Republican 61.24% $17.66
New Hampshire's 1st Battleground D R+1 50.4% 3.8 ✓1.6 ✓6.4 0 Democratic 47.47% $10.02
New Jersey's 2nd Battleground R D+1 40.2% 17.4 ✓8.1 ✓7.7 18 Republican 96.60% $9.40
New Jersey's 3rd Battleground R R+1 44.8% 8.9 ✓4.6 ✓3.4 2 Republican 66.17% $11.94
New York's 1st Battleground D R+2 51.3% 4.6 ✓0.5 ✓3 10 Democratic 54.54% $18.81
New York's 11th Battleground R R+2 46.1% 5 ✓4.3 -3 2 Republican 70.91% $21.96
New York's 18th Battleground D EVEN 51.5% 3.7 ✓4.3 ✓5 0 Democratic 40.94% $15.69
New York's 21st Battleground D EVEN 51.5% 1.9 ✓6.1 ✓5 4 Democratic 50.05% $15.54
New York's 23rd Battleground R R+3 45.6% 3.6 -1.2 ✓1 3 Republican 71.76% $15.31
Texas' 23rd Battleground D R+3 48.7% 4.8 -2.6 ✓1 0 Democratic 39.93% $18.65
Virginia's 2nd Battleground R R+2 43.4% 7.7 ✓1.5 ✓1.7 2 Republican 54.38% $14.42
West Virginia's 3rd Battleground D R+14 50.4% 7.1 -32.2 -13.4 20 Democratic 69.55% $13.26
  • Cook's PVI is Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index.[7]
  • FairVote's %D is FairVote.org's 2014 congressional election projections.[8]
  • 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.

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[9] 14 16 8 1 11 17 28 29 57
September 5, 2013[10] 14 15 9 1 11 17 38 29 67
October 21, 2013[11] 14 15 9 1 11 17 36 34 70
October 30, 2013[12] 12 15 10 2 16 16 37 34 71
December 18, 2013[13] 14 14 10 4 15 15 38 34 72
January 7, 2014[14] 14 15 10 4 16 16 39 36 75
January 15, 2014[15] 14 14 11 4 16 18 39 38 77
February 13, 2014[16] 14 13 11 4 16 18 38 38 76
March 13, 2014[17] 15 13 11 3 16 18 39 37 76
April 4, 2014[18] 15 13 11 3 17 19 39 39 78
June 26, 2014[19] 16 14 11 2 16 18 41 36 77
August 8, 2014[20] 15 13 13 3 9 17 41 29 70
September 19, 2014[21] 14 13 11 4 8 18 38 30 68
October 22, 2014[22] 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:[23]

     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[24] 7 20 5 3 15 12 32 30 62
December 17, 2013[25] 8 19 5 6 14 14 32 34 66
January 7, 2014[26] 8 19 5 7 14 14 32 35 67
March 12, 2014[27] 10 15 7 5 14 15 32 34 66
March 31, 2014[28] 10 15 7 5 15 16 32 36 68
August 6, 2014[29] 9 13 10 3 11 16 32 30 62

Five primaries to watch

Politico published a list of the five primaries to watch in 2014. Of their five predictions, only one of the incumbents (Rep. John Tierney) was defeated.[30]

Results: Simpson defeated Smith by over 23 percentage points.
U.S. House, Idaho District 2 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMike Simpson Incumbent 61.6% 48,632
Bryan Smith 38.4% 30,263
Total Votes 78,895
Source: Idaho Secretary of State
Results: Despite the high profile endorsements, Shuster won by over 15 percentage points.
U.S. House, Pennsylvania District 9 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBill Shuster Incumbent 52.8% 24,106
Art Halvorson 34.5% 15,761
Travis Schooley 12.7% 5,802
Total Votes 45,669
Source: Results via Associated Press
Results: The predictions were correct. The race came down to the two Democratic front runners. In California's blanket primary system, both Ro Khanna and Rep. Mike Honda advanced to the general election.
U.S. House, California District 17 Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMike Honda Incumbent 48.2% 43,607
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRo Khanna 28% 25,384
     Republican Vanila Singh 17% 15,359
     Republican Joel Vanlandingham 6.8% 6,154
Total Votes 90,504
Source: California Secretary of State
Results: In what truly was a competitive race, DesJarlais won by just over 30 votes.
U.S. House, Tennessee District 4 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngScott DesJarlais Incumbent 44.9% 34,793
Jim Tracy 44.8% 34,755
John Anderson 5.9% 4,592
Steve Lane 1.9% 1,483
David Tate 1.2% 938
Michael Warden 0.9% 659
Oluyomi Faparusi 0.4% 284
Total Votes 77,504
Source: Tennessee Secretary of State
Results: Tierney was defeated in the primary by Seth Moulton.
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 6 Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSeth Moulton 50.8% 36,575
John Tierney Incumbent 40.1% 28,915
Marisa DeFranco 6% 4,293
John Devine 2.1% 1,527
John Gutta 1% 691
All others 0% 36
Total Votes 72,037
Source: Massachusetts Elections Division

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.

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 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.[31]

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 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.

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.

"Drive to 245"

In an attempt to raise fundraising numbers during an election year where Republicans are widely expected to retain control of the House, the NRCC launched the "Drive to 245" campaign in May 2014. Reaching 245 seats in the House would require a net gain of 12 seats and would be one of the largest party majorities in the last century.[32]

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."[33]

DCCC & NRCC fundraising

April 2014

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

The DCCC brought in over $20 million more than the NRCC overall during this election cycle.[34]

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.[35] Comparatively, the DCCC reported raising $65,202,181 and spending $41,423,695, leaving it with $25,266,707 cash on hand.[36]

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.[37]

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.[38]

July 2013

As of July 2013, the DCCC had outraised the NRCC by $6.5 million.[39]

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:

WaPo's "The Monkey Cage" predictions

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.[40]

  • 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.



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.[41]

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

Polling during the shutdown

Congressional approval rating
Poll Total approve Total disapproveMargin of ErrorSample Size
The Economist/YouGov (September 21-23, 2013)
CBS/New York Times (September 19-23, 2013)
CNN/ORC (September 27-29, 2013)
Gallup (October 3-6, 2013)
AP-GfK (October 3-7, 2013)
AVERAGES 9.8% 81.4% +/-3.8 952.4
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Approval of own congressmen

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

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

Farm Bill

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).[42]

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.[43] 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.[43] According to analysis by OpenSecrets.org, many of these Democratic members have received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.[43] 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.[43]

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.[44]


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.[45] 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.[45]

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.[45] 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.[46] The group met with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 5.[47]

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.[48]

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


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