There are 3 remaining vacancies in the House, AL 1, MA 5 and FL 13.
Businessman and political newcomer Vance McAllister (R) has won the special election for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. The seat has been vacant since Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) resigned to join the Jindal administration on September 26th. McAllister beat out fellow Republican, state Senator Neil Riser. Riser was the favorite going into the runoff, having beat McAllister in the primary by more than 12 points, raising more money and having the backing of several political figures in LA, including a majority of the GOP congressional delegation and former Rep. Alexander. McAllister, however, was able to use his personal wealth, anti-establishment platform and gain support of some Democratic voters, who were allowed to vote in the runoff, with his positions, such as supporting Medicaid expansion.
There are 3 remaining vacancies in the House, AL 1, MA 5 and FL 13.
To be fair, both Chris Christie in New Jersey and Ken Cuccinelli are both extraordinary candidates in some ways. Christie pulls many more crossover votes than an average candidate and as a result, drew a fairly weak opponent. Conversely, Cuccinelli proved much more polarizing than other Republicans of similar ideology, so each is a bit of an outlier in terms of crossover potential. That each ARE outliers, however, demonstrates just how wide the political center is when presented with extraordinary candidates.
For the entire partisan divide in Congress and the rancor between the parties in DC, the election results yesterday tell us that there are many Americans who still vote for individual candidates and issues, not parties.
In Virginia, Cuccinelli underperformed Romney and dramatically underperformed his immediate GOP predecessor Bob McDonnell. He underperformed Republican Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain who has a similar ideological profile, but a different approach, style and temperament.
Most telling about the nature of campaigns and the difference a higher profile race can make and how effective the McAuliffe (a deeply flawed candidate himself) campaign's efforts were to define Cuccinelli as an extremist candidate is that Cuccinelli dramatically underperformed HIMSELF from his 2009 election as Attorney General. In that race, he received 1,124,137 votes or 57.5%. For Governor, he received only 1,008,554 for 45.5%.
New Jersey offers a mirror image. Obama won New Jersey with 58% and 57% in 2012 and 2008 respectively. Governor Chris Christie was elected in 2009 with only a plurality 48% of the vote over scandal plagued incumbent John Corzine. Yesterday, he walked away with 61% of the vote. Again, looking at vote percentages at the county level is revealing.
All of this simply illustrates what Washington has had such a hard time understanding: that voters are not wedded to parties the way politicians are, with a few exceptions. They are willing to switch between parties to support candidates that reflect their interests.
The results also demonstrate how important candidates and campaigns are. Good candidates with good campaigns can and will win in the most unlikely places. The pro-growth, pro-prosperity community needs to be the point of the spear ensuring we support those sort of common-sense, consensus building candidates in both parties. Voters showed in Virginia and New Jersey last night that a new way is possible.
Note: For this analysis, Obama/Romney results are a partisan benchmark. According to exit polling, Obama drew 92% of Democratic votes, Romney drew 93% of Republican votes and Independents split evenly 50-50. Thus, Romney and Obama provide an excellent barometer to evaluate over or under performance by a candidate based on a standard partisan behavior.
While the focus for the 2013 elections has been on the governors races in NJ and VA, there are other statewide elections taking place across the country this November – ballot measures. Ballot measures are one of the most direct forms of democracy, giving the voters a chance to directly influence public policy. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are currently 31 ballot questions in six states in 2013, ranging from taxes to casinos. Below is a snapshot of some of the ballot measures being voted on. For a more complete list you can visit the National Association of State Legislature’s Database.
Genetically Engineered Foods: Washington State has a referendum on whether genetically engineered foods should be required to be labeled with that distinction. Interest groups on both sides have raised substantial sums, with a slight edge for those supporting labeling. The result could depend on turnout as populous and liberal Seattle has a competitive mayoral race, while conservative rural areas have less high profile races.
Minimum Wage: New Jersey has a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $8.25, and provides mechanisms for annual increases. The amendment also mandates that New Jersey’s minimum wage must always be higher than the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25. While the governor’s race in New Jersey is gaining more attention, whoever turns out for the minimum wage measure could have an impact on the other statewide elections, and vice versa. Casinos: New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has pressed for a constitutional amendment to allow the state legislature to authorize and regulate casinos. While the wording of the amendment does not state whether the casinos will be private or state run, it does state the intention of the amendment is to create jobs, fund education, and allow local governments to lower their property tax burden.
Casinos: New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has pressed for a constitutional amendment to allow the state legislature to authorize and regulate casinos. While the wording of the amendment does not state whether the casinos will be private or state run, it does state the intention of the amendment is to create jobs, fund education, and allow local governments to lower their property tax burden.
BIPAC and the business community have traditionally waited until the general election before working to support pro-growth, pro-prosperity candidates for office. However, when there are states or districts that are not competitive in the general election and where there is a stark difference between the candidates in the primary on pro-growth, pro-prosperity policies and outlook, it is vital that we make a stand.
For that reason, BIPAC is endorsing candidates early in races where that choice is clear and where the business communities of the affected states have made their choice known.
We've endorsed the following House candidates, and we encourage you to do whatever you can to help them.
Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho 2)
Primary - May 20, 2014
Special Election Runoff
Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama 1)
Special Election Runoff - November 5, 2013
If you want more information on these or other candidates, please contact Bo Harmon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There is a time for politics and a time for governing. The time for politics is over the time for governing is upon us.