Exports supported 11.3 million U.S. jobs in 2013. This is an increase of 1.6 million since 2009. Learn about the fight for jobs, supported by exports, from the CNH Industrial Digital Trade Toolbox and CNH Industrial’s Joseph Samora.
The CNH Industrial Digital Trade Toolbox includes a tool so you can make your voice heard in the fight for jobs that are supported by exports. Visit www.cnhindustrialtrade.com and click on the “Write to your Congressperson” link to help support the re-authorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) before its authorization expires on September 30. In 2013, Ex-Im helped to finance $37 billion in U.S. export sales, supporting approximately 205,00-0 export-related American jobs.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the May Jobs report this morning, saying:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 217,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, and transportation and warehousing.
To learn more, read the Forbes ongoing story, "Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Added 217K Jobs In May, Unemployment Remains Unchanged At 6.3%" by Maggie McGrath.
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.
The Louisiana special election was held yesterday and no candidate in the crowded field won the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff election. As such, State Sen. Neil Riser (R) and businessman Vance McAllister (R) will face off in the November 16th runoff. Riser is the GOP establishment candidate and was the top fundraiser heading into the election. McAllister (R) is running as an outsider candidate. The winner of the election will replace Rodney Alexander (R), who resigned from Congress in September to become the new head of the state's Department of Veterans Affairs.
What is a recall election? It is a procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace an elected official before the end of their term. Recalls can be used to rid the office of a corrupt or incompetent leader, for partisan politics, or removing officials for a policy position. It is estimated that a majority, three-fourths, of recall elections are at city council or school board level, though there have been increasing instances of recalls at the state level. Nineteen states (AK, AZ, CA, CO, GA, ID, IL, KS, LA, MI, MN, MT, NV, NJ, ND, OR, RI, WA and WI) and the District of Columbia currently allow recalls of state officials. In the past three years, several states have seen state elected officials face recalls, including WI, AZ, MI and currently, CO.
State Level Recalls since 2010 (according to National Conference of State Legislatures)
The gun control bills causing such uproar in CO, passed in the 2013 legislative session by the Democratically-controlled CO state legislature, were the first such bills passed in over ten years. This is a hot topic issue in a state that is well known for the Columbine High School and Aurora shootings, but is also known for its bipartisan passion of hunting and sport shooting.
A group behind the recall, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund (501 (c)(4) non-profit), was set up in February in response to the passed gun legislation. The founding members say the main issue is about legislators not listening to their constituents. Originally, four Democrats were targeted to be recalled, including Sen. Evie Hudak (D) of Westminster and Rep. Mike McLachlan (D) of Durango but only the recall attempts for Sens. Morse and Giron gained enough signatures. Former Colorado Springs City Councilman Bernie Herpin (R) is challenging Morse and former police officer Georgia Rivera (R) of Pueblo is challenging Giron.
Money has been pouring into the elections, with Giron and Morse raising nearly a quarter million dollars, and receiving thousands of dollars from Colorado liberal groups. Recall supporters have been sending their funds to the Basic Freedom Defense, and the NRA has helped with mailers and phone banks. According to El Paso and Pueblo county clerks, the elections will cost somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000.
Even if the recall attempts are successful, Democrats will still hold the majority in the Senate, 18-17. However, supporters of the recall still hope this will send messages to legislators in CO and across the country.
The 2014 elections are fast approaching and the decision by former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer not to run for U.S. Senate has put Republicans in a much better position to win control of the chamber. However, the past few cycles have shown that the greatest challenge facing both parties – but particularly Republicans – is recruiting quality candidates. In 2014, Democrats need to find candidates who can win in conservative states like South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia. Republicans need to find credible challengers who can take on vulnerable, incumbent Democrats in red states like Arkansas, North Carolina and Alaska.
So what’s the status of the candidate recruitment process? How are the parties faring in recruiting top tier candidates? Now that second quarter fundraising reports have been filed, a clear picture is beginning to take shape. The chart below lists formally announced Senate candidates as well as snapshots of their fundraising abilities. Several candidates do not have amounts to report because they announced their campaigns just recently or else the FEC hasn’t posted second quarter totals yet. Fundraising amounts do not equate victory or defeat, but they do convey interest, legitimacy and illustrate that there is some level of support.
There are two significant takeaways from these charts. First, the available fundraising numbers posted by incumbents and declared candidates are impressive and do convey legitimacy. For example, Senator Mitch McConnell’s fundraising numbers are extremely high, explaining his ability to deter primary challengers thus far. The same is true for vulnerable Democratic senators. The second takeaway, and perhaps the most striking, is the lack of Democratic candidates recruited in open seats. Only two of the seven open seats have strong Democratic candidates: Michigan and Iowa. Democrats have yet to find candidates in Montana (reelected a Democratic senator in ’12), West Virginia (2 Democratic senators and a Democratic governor), Georgia, and Nebraska.
Furthermore, the only declared Democratic candidate in South Dakota doesn’t have the name recognition or credibility of the likely Republican nominee – former Governor Mike Rounds. Overall, the biggest challenge Republicans have faced in recent cycles is recruiting strong candidates who can win general elections. At this point, they’ve been fairly successful at finding solid candidates to fill open seats and take on vulnerable Democrats. There is still time for Democrats to find candidates in open seat contests, but the first filing deadline for a congressional primary is December 9th – just over four months away. As more days fall off the calendar, the more challenging it will be for new candidates to jump in the race.
Summer is on our doorstep and we are nearly to the halfway point of 2013. The races for 2014 are beginning to take shape as federal legislators determine whether they will run for reelection or hang up their hats to begin a life of retirement, relaxation or their next professional adventure. The open seats created by U.S. Senators deciding to leave are also creating open seats in the House because Representatives are trying to run for the newly open Senate seats. Because open seats create the most opportunity for change in party control, competitiveness and unpredictability, we have created a 2014 overview of all the current open seats up in the House for next year’s election.
U.S. House of Representatives: 9 Open Seats (5 R, 4 D)
Iowa 1: Rep. Bruce Braley (D) is running for Senate to replace Sen. Tom Harkin (D) creating an open seat. Braley has represented this district since 2006. Barack Obama won this district 55.9% to Romney’s 42.3% illustrating that this is a fairly Democratic district. Several individuals have shown interest in running which means we can expect to see very crowded primaries for both parties. The individuals leading the pack today are Iowa state Rep. Pat Murphy (D) who was Speaker of the legislature from 2007 to 2011 (Murphy announced in Feb.), former television anchor and state Senator Liz Mathis (D), businessman Rod Blum (R) who narrowly lost the primary for this seat last year with 47% of the vote, and former Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate (R) who has the best name ID out of all the candidates. The filing deadline is not until next spring and of all the open House seats, this one is the least partisan, but as of today, D’s still have an advantage.
Georgia 10: Rep. Paul Broun (R) is running for Senate to replace Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) creating an open seat. This seat is very conservative and Broun has represented the district since 2006. Mitt Romney won this seat with 62.5% of the vote in 2012, but a third of all residents are minorities, and those demographics are expected to grow in coming years so you can expect to see the dynamics of this district evolve. Two individuals have announced their intentions to run – state Rep. Donna Sheldon (R), the chairwoman of the GOP Caucus, and Jody Hice (R), radio host and Southern Baptist pastor. This seat should easily stay in Republican hands and most of the action will be seen in the primary.
West Virginia 2: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is running for Senate to replace Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) creating an open seat. Capito has represented this conservative district since 2000 and Mitt Romney won the district with 60% of the vote. There are a number of candidates from both parties interested in this seat. Although the district leans Republican, it is not out of the question for a strong Democrat to make this competitive. The top contenders so far are Nick Casey (D), former state Democratic Chair, state Sen. Eric Wells (D) -his wife is Sec. of State Natalie Tennant who has been mentioned to run for Senate- and state Sen. Herb Snyder (D). On the Republican side, numerous names have been mentioned but the names at the top are House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R), Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall (R), former state Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart (R) and state Delegates Eric Nelson (R), Patrick Lane (R) and Steve Harrison (R).
Louisiana 6: Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) recently announced he is running for the Senate in a challenge to current Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, creating an open seat in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. Cassidy has represented this very Republican district since 2008. President Barack Obama lost this district by 34 points in 2012, making this a very attractive seat for local conservatives. The district includes Baton Rouge and surrounding suburbs. Most of the contenders for the seat are state representatives or state senators, but also considering the seat is former Rep. Jeff Landry (R) who lost in a member vs. member election last year. The only catch is that he does not technically live in the district.
Georgia 1: Another Congressman from the Georgia Delegation, Rep. Jack Kingston (R), is also running for Chambliss’ open seat, creating another open seat. Kingston has served in the 1st District since 1993. The district leans Republican, and voted for Romney with 56% of the vote in 2012. There are currently three candidates, state Sen. Buddy Carter (R), Darwin Carter (R), a businessman who worked in President Reagan’s administration, and David Schwarz (R), a Republican consultant and former Kingston staffer.
Georgia 11: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) is also running for Saxby Chambliss’ (R) open senate seat. Gingrey has served in the 11th District since 2003. With Romney and Gingrey both winning over 60% of the vote in this district in 2012, it is safe to say this is a red seat. Several Republicans have already announced their candidacy for the open seat, including businesswoman Tricia Pridmeore (R) who previously worked in Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration, former House Rep. and federal prosecutor Bob Barr (R), state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R) and state House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey (R).
Hawaii 1: For the past few months, it was unclear if Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) would challenger Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) or Sen. Brian Schatz (D) in the 2014 elections. Abercrombie did not follow Sen. Inouye’s dying wish to appoint Hanabusa to the Senate, and instead chose his Lieutenant Governor, Schatz. Hanabusa has decided to challenge Schatz in the Democratic Primary, officially creating an open seat in Hawaii’s 1st District. The district is extremely Democratic and voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2012. A crowded Democratic primary is expected to replace Hanabusa, but right now there is only one declared candidate, Councilman Stanley Chang (D).
Michigan 14: Rep. Gary Peters (D) is running for Senate to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D) creating an open seat in Michigan’s congressional delegation. The 14th District leans far to the left. President Obama won the district with over 80% of the vote last year with black voters making up just under 60% of the district’s constituents. Several Democrats have said they are interested in the race including former U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D) and state Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D) – both have officially declared. One Republican has been mentioned, the 2010 and 2012 Republican nominee, businessman, and tea party activist John Hauler (R).
Pennsylvania 13: Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) is challenging Gov. Tom Corbett (R) for the governor’s mansion in 2014. This is the only open seat in the House in which the incumbent member is not running for the U.S. Senate. Schwartz was first elected to this district that covers the northern corner of Philadelphia in 2004. This is a left leaning district that President Obama won in 2012 with 66% of the vote. Several candidates are interested in the Democratic Primary including state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D), physician and activist Valerie Arkoosh (D), state Sen. Daylin Leach (D) and former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D). No candidates have announced on the Republican side.
Click here for 2014 Open Seat Outlook: Senate
Stakes in the States
Two weeks ago, the nation’s highest court heard arguments against Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act; an issue that is both complicated and sensitive and a ruling that thankfully it’s not my job to decide. But, while everyone is talking about the Sequester, I want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to such a noteworthy court case, the impacts it may have on 16 states, and the political implications that could follow.
In Shelby County v. Holder, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is being challenged under the claim that it poses an unconstitutional burden on specific states. Section 5 of the VRA requires nine states and cities or counties in seven additional states to “pre-clear” (or get permission) with the Department of Justice or a panel of three federal judges in D.C. before making any changes to their voting process: redistricting, voter ID laws, special election dates, etc. This was put into place in 1965 in order to protect any voters from discrimination based on racial or ethnic background. The Supreme Court upheld the law four years ago but essentially told Congress that it needed to review the legislation and determine if the formula for which states need to be covered, should be updated – the formula is thirty-five years old. Congress, being completely useless these days in passing meaningful legislation, did not heed the Court’s suggestion, and as a result, Section 5 of the law is now being challenged. I am no legal expert and could not even begin to weigh in on what the ruling will be or the merits of the challenge, but I do find the potential political implications of the outcome extremely important to consider.
The outcome of this challenge is expected to be decided this June. Of the 16 states affected, the nine states that are entirely covered include: Alaska, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. The seven states that are marginally covered via counties/townships are: Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, South Dakota, North Carolina, Florida and California. Several of these states have had little issue with the pre-clearance process and have been able to make the case that they should be exempt from the process, and therefore have been able to “bail-out”. The Department of Justice has tracked the number of objections it has issued to new or revised voting laws in all of the above states since the VRA was signed into law. The number of objections from bailed out states like New Mexico and Alaska totals one each. The majority of southern states, however, have had a greater challenge getting pre-clearance for legal changes.
Number of objections per state and most recent rejection date:
SC: 122 (2011) LA: 146 (2011) MS: 173 (2012) GA: 178 (2012) TX: 209 (2012)
Last cycle, voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina were objected by the Department of Justice, and redistricting laws for districts at all levels of government were objected in North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Mississippi. This goes to show that in some states the preclearance process is still an active part of the voting law process.
So how has this law affected politics over the past four decades? Section 5 has ensured that congressional districts are drawn in a way that protects racial minority voters, in many states creating what are often referred to as “majority-minority” districts. According to Census analysis done by the Cook Political Report, the 113th Congress currently has 111 non-white majority or majority-minority districts. Democrats represent 87.4% of those districts, while Republicans represent 67.9% of majority white districts. If you take a step further at where those districts are located, you will find the majority of them fall within jurisdictions of Section 5 of the VRA. Of the nine states in which the entire state must be pre-cleared, 28 majority-minority districts are located within them – 15 of which are in Texas, 5 in Georgia, 2 in Virginia and Arizona, and 1 in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. And if you examine the seven states which are partially covered, 13 majority-minority districts are touched by those counties and townships.
If Section 5 is upheld, then it will only be a matter of time before it is challenged again and ultimately changed or ruled unconstitutional. For now, we know that Section 5 has protected many disenfranchised voters in a number of states over the last half-century. However, we also know that districts drawn to protect those voters have now created congressional districts that elect a racially divided Congress. The issue is a double edged sword and I do not envy the decision the Court has to make.
To see two different arguments for and against Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, see George Will’s article against here, or Donna Brazile’s article for here.
In the NFL, a “quarterback scramble” occurs when a QB is under pressure by an opposing team’s defense, he may run forward, backward, or laterally in an attempt to avoid being sacked. There’s no doubt we’ll see this more than once from Flacco and Kaepernick in Sunday’s Super Bowl 47. And like Sunday’s game, it’s not easy to make predictions about 2014 political outcomes. The current political environment has senators not only scrambling to avoid an impending sack, but they’re heading to the sidelines and in some cases leaving the game entirely. What’s potentially more interesting is how the recent scrambles in the Senate could affect other lineups in the House of Representatives and governors’ mansions in 2014.
As of today what we know about 2014 is there are 35 U.S. Senate races (2 specials: SC & HI) with 21 Democrats and 14 Republicans up for reelection. The most vulnerable seats are those of the seven Democrats representing states that Mitt Romney carried last November: Pryor (D-AR), Begich (D-AK), Landrieu (D-LA), Hagan (D-NC), Baucus (D-MT), Johnson (D-SD) and an open seat in West Virginia. The only Republican up in a state Barack Obama won is Susan Collins in Maine – and for the moment she looks pretty safe. It’s possible we might see one or two of these vulnerable D’s head to the sidelines before 2014 and join the other retirees we’ve seen in recent weeks (recap below). Overall the environment in the Senate provides a lot of opportunity for Republicans to get closer to gaining the six seats they need for a majority – although if you recall we’ve heard that story before. If Republicans don’t line up a large group of star QB’s (and soon) we could see a repeat of 2012.
West Virginia – Jay Rockefeller (D) does not plan to seek a sixth term to the Senate. Rockefeller was governor of WV prior to being elected to Congress in 1984. He now serves as Chairman of the Commerce Committee and Chair of Finance’s Subcommittee on Health Care. As a 75 year old public servant, the Senator has cited wanting more time to spend with his family. The open seat in WV poses a potential pick-up opportunity for Republicans – Mitt Romney won WV by 26 points last November. The graphic in this article demonstrates how WV has shifted from a blue to a red state over the past 40 years. However, it’s not an automatic lock for Republicans considering the governor’s mansion, the state legislature and the other Senate seat are all in Democratic hands.
Georgia - Saxby Chambliss (R) announced his 2014 retirement last Friday, stating the increased partisanship and lack of leadership in Washington as his reason for departure. Chambliss was a member of the “Gang of Six” and went out on a party limb conceding that tax increases may be necessary to solve the nation’s debt crisis, sparking several Republicans to begin weighing a primary challenge. Expect a crowded primary field and for the seat to remain in conservative hands, but it’s worth noting NC was the only other state Romney won by a smaller margin. Georgia’s rapid population growth has led to it becoming one of only 13 states that have a minority population of over 40%. Republicans’ inability to connect with minority voters could pose a challenge for them in the future.
Iowa - To the surprise of many, last Saturday Tom Harkin (D) announced he also would not seek another term in Congress. Harkin is Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and at age 73 said he is ready to step aside and let a younger crop of leaders serve. Harkin was not exactly an ally of the business community, receiving 0% on BIPAC’s P2 Voting Record for the 112th Congress. But his departure creates a competitive open seat that has both Republicans and Democrats in the state eyeing it closely. Iowa is considered a swing state, electing Barack Obama to the presidency twice, has a Republican governor, and split control in the state legislature.
*HI, SC, MA: It’s also worth noting the two departures in HI and SC have created special elections in 2014, and John Kerry’s (D) appointment as Secretary of State has created a special election in 2013 (primary 4/30 and general 6/25), the winner of which will run for another full term in 2014. All three of the departed/ing Senators from HI, SC and MA served on the Senate Commerce Committee.
The flurry of activity in the Senate is causing several members of Congress and other politicians to coyly posture themselves as they wait to see if there’s an opportunity to jump in a race (some not so coyly… Cory Booker anyone?). Democrats currently need a net of 17 seats to win control of the House, so unless a wave rolls through it looks like any significant changes will come from primary challenges, as well as open seats created as a result of Representatives hopping into Senate races or one of the 36 gubernatorial races. One Independent, 22 Republican and 13 Democratic governors are up for reelection in 2014, and 25 states have both U.S. Senate and governor’s races on the ballot. Expect to see a lot more shifting, scrambling and fleeing to the sidelines in the months to come… we’ll be keeping an eye on those 2nd and 3rd string players eager for their opportunity to come off the bench.
A strong indication of who is going to win the Presidential election comes from exit polling results. A conglomerate of news outlets, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, NBC and the AP, are responsible for creating preliminary results for viewers to get an early indication of who is going to win a certain state. This year, however, cutbacks have been put in place regarding how extensive the polling will be in certain states; in 19 states, AK, AR, DE, GA, HI, ID, KY, LA, NE, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV and WY, the barest form of polling will occur, as opposed to full reports being conducted in all states in election cycles past.
In previous election years, full reports were conducted in each state, with a series of questions posed to the people being interviewed. Among the questions were: for whom they were voting, which age group they belonged to, and which issues were most critical in leading up to a decision. Such reports will still be conducted in 31 states. In the other 19 states however, the exit polls have been stripped to a singular question of who the interviewed person is voting for. These polls are happening exclusively in non-battleground states where no surprises are expected to occur. One of the main disadvantages of this system is that extensive post-race analysis will not be available for all of the states.
The reasoning for such a system comes down to the conglomerate of news outlets wanting to dedicate their resources to the most critical states, thereby giving the public concise analysis in states that dictated the outcome of the election. Early voting has also proved to be a stumbling block for pollsters, who now are forced to conduct cell phone interviews, as opposed to in-person interviews, which has increased costs greatly.
While the citizens of every state will not be awarded with in-depth analysis of their state’s races, it serves a bigger purpose in giving the entire nation a better idea of where the Presidential races were won and lost.
There is a time for politics and a time for governing. The time for politics is over the time for governing is upon us.