Today is Election Day, and this long 2014 voting cycle will now finally conclude. When the votes are finally counted, it is probable that the Republicans will gain a significant majority in the Senate and expand their controlling position in the House. But, the governors’ races could yield a much different story.
As reported yesterday, all indications suggest that the Republicans will score enough conversion victories to assume majority control in the Senate. It appears the GOP will win enough victories to claim 52 seats and it’s possible their total will go higher, maybe even to 53 or even 54 states.
Three races in Kansas (Sen. Pat Roberts), North Carolina (Sen. Kay Hagan), and New Hampshire (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) appear to be the closest contests. The Republicans winning any two of this group would secure 54 seats for the party, assuming a run-off in Louisiana eventually goes the GOP’s way, as does Georgia, though chances of Republican David Perdue winning outright tonight have greatly improved.
The closest race of Tuesday night’s primary now looks to be concluded. State House Speaker Andy Tobin appears to have captured the Republican congressional nomination over rancher Gary Kiehne and state Rep. Adam Kwasman. With still two precincts not fully reported, but from an area where Tobin did well, the state legislative leader has a 36-35-29 percent margin, a 480-vote spread over his closest competitor, Kiehne.
Though this is a tight contest, such a margin is probably too large for Kiehne to overcome. So, unless there are uncounted votes elsewhere – which, often seems to happen – look for Tobin to become the Republican nominee.
Assuming the supposition of an official Tobin victory is true, the state House Speaker will now face vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in what will likely be a toss-up campaign. Kirkpatrick was first elected in 2008, but lost in the midterm election of 2010 by a wide margin. She returned to win the seat again in 2012 after Continue reading >
The Florida primary proceeded as expected. Gov. Rick Scott won an 88 percent Republican victory; former Gov. Charlie Crist scored 74 percent on the Democratic side. With no US Senate race on the ballot this year, all of the contested federal action is in US House races. The eight challenged incumbents all broke 70 percent of the vote.
In the two congressional races of note, Miami Dade School Board member and former US Senate state director for interim Sen. George LeMieux (R), Carlos Curbelo, was an easy winner in the Miami-based 26th District. He earns the right to challenge freshman Rep. Joe Garcia (D) in what will be a highly competitive campaign.
Curbelo defeated four other Republicans, including former Rep. David Rivera who was attempting a comeback after being defeated in 2012, a result of several simultaneous scandals involving the freshman congressman and former state representative. Rivera managed to attract only eight percent of the vote last night. Curbelo topped the field with 47 percent, Continue reading >
Today marks the second-to-last major primary day of the 2014 cycle, as voters in three states visit the polls to choose nominees.
In Arizona, Republicans will select a candidate to oppose former Clinton Administration official Fred DuVal (D) in the general election. State Treasurer Doug Ducey, the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery who is running on strong border security that earned him the support of both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has been leading in all polling. Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has surpassed attorney Christine Jones for second place, but the race appears to be Ducey’s to lose.
The GOP will also choose three nominees in competitive US House districts. In the 1st, a tight race culminates among state House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman, and wealthy rancher Gary Kiehne. Tobin and Kwasman are neck and neck according to late polling, but Kiehne remains within striking distance. The winner earns the right to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1), who could lose as an incumbent for the second time. She was first elected in 2008, defeated in 2010, and re-elected in 2012. Continue reading >
There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, will be a front-burner issue as we progress through campaign prime time. In the toss-up Arkansas Senate race incumbent Mark Pryor (D), a supporter of the national healthcare legislation, just released a new ad that handles the topic in rather unique fashion.
Seated at a kitchen table with his father, former Arkansas US representative, governor, and Sen. David Pryor (D), the current incumbent discusses his successful fight against cancer. In the ad, the senator and his dad outline the family’s battle with their health insurance company to pay for the treatment that ultimately proved life saving.
On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Pryor’s Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4), has been framing the senator as the deciding vote for enacting the ACA legislation. Since the original bill passed the Senate by only one vote, and the Democrats were unanimous in support, each can be individually credited with being the difference maker. Therefore, we are seeing this theme appear in every Senate Republican challenger race. Continue reading >
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) just launched a new early attack campaign against several presumed Democratic targets, but their message delivery medium is rather unique. The Committee is testing a theme that we will hear often, but their first communication foray is not via television or radio as we’ve become accustomed.
Against four incumbent Democratic House Members — representatives John Barrow (D-GA-12), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1), Ron Barber (D-AZ-2), and Collin Peterson (D-MN-7) — the NRCC is beginning the process of relating the IRS scandal to the members’ vote for Obamacare.
The message moves throughout the assigned district attached to a vehicle or series of vehicles as a billboard-style advertisement. It simply identifies the member with picture and calls attention to their vote for Obamacare by highlighting their support in giving the Internal Revenue Service control over healthcare. As we know, the IRS is currently embroiled in an investigation over their practice of targeting conservative groups.
Since the investigation is likely to go on for some time, we can expect to hear much about the IRS’ major role in administering the Obamacare law throughout the election cycle. Since IRS officials have already admitted that the government enforcement agency unfairly targets conservatives, the NRCC is quickly beginning to test the message. If it resonates, and early indications seem to suggest that people are troubled by the agency’s actions, this issue is likely to become a major focal point all the way through the 2014 elections.
The four selected members are an interesting group. Rep. Barrow, fresh from his announcement that he won’t run for the open Georgia Senate seat, is an obvious choice because he represents a strong Republican seat (Obama ’12: 43.6 percent) and the mid-term turnout model is more likely to cut against a Democratic incumbent. Continue reading >
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released the first of their “Frontline” incumbents, those that will get the most attention from the party as they build for re-election. All are either freshmen from competitive districts, won a tough open seat, or defeated a Republican incumbent in 2012.
Rep. Ron Barber (AZ-02) – Barber, who won a special election to replace resigned Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), had a closer than expected general election against former Air Force pilot Martha McSally (R) winning just 50.4 to 49.6 percent. McSally is likely to return in 2014, and with a more favorable turnout model could conceivably score an upset. The fact that Mitt Romney won the seat 50-48 percent bodes well for the challenger, but it didn’t pull her through last November.
Rep. John Barrow (GA-12) – Rep. Barrow drew a second-tier opponent in what should have been a first-tier GOP conversion opportunity. With a projected lower African-American turnout for 2014, Continue reading >