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.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the May Jobs report this morning, saying:
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.
After extensive consultation with our state partners, BIPAC members, state, and local employers and business organizations with operations and employees in these states and districts, BIPAC has issued its next round of candidate endorsements in four U.S. Senate and ten U.S. House races. Each of these candidates are the broad consensus choice of the business community both nationally and at the local level and each are very competitive or highly significant races. If your organization has not been involved on behalf of these candidates to date, we would urge you to consider these as top priority candidates for the business community.
BIPAC will be working with our membership, local business organizations, and our state partners to educate employees in these states and districts on issues important to creating a pro-growth economic climate, how the candidates stand on those issues, and working to create a powerful business-driven grassroots Get Out The Vote effort in each of these races.
We strongly encourage you to join BIPAC and the local business community in each of these races in supporting these candidates as the clear favorite to provide a pro-growth, prosperity and jobs oriented economic climate.
If you have affiliates or employees in these states or districts and would like to join BIPAC's business-driven employee education and GOTV efforts here, please contact Bo Harmon at 202-776-7462.
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado)
Primary Election: June 24
Rep. Cory Gardner is challenging incumbent Senator Mark Udall (D). Gardner has largely cleared the primary field and has been a friend to the business community in the House. There are few races featuring a greater contrast between the candidates in terms of their orientation towards supporting pro-growth economic policies. Gardner scored 100% on BIPAC's 112th Congress voting record and is working closely with employers in Colorado to expand their operations and create a more comfortable operating environment. Polling shows this race to be a toss-up at this point, so your engagement is important. www.corygardnerforsenate.com
Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
Primary Election: June 3
State Senator Joni Ernst is running in Iowa's open Senate seat. Ernst is running in a crowded GOP primary and needs to get 35% of the vote in the primary to avoid a convention. Ernst has earned 100% on the Iowa Prosperity Project's 2011 State Senate voting record and 90% on the 2012 State Senate voting record. She has consolidated support within Iowa's business community over the last month and has attracted support from across the ideological spectrum. Both the US Chamber of Commerce AND the Senate Conservatives Fund, typically opposed to each other, are BOTH advertising on her behalf to help avoid a convention selection which would make the candidate selection process completely unpredictable. She is endorsed for both the primary and general elections. www.joniforiowa.com
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia)
Primary Election: May 13 > See Results
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is running in the open West Virginia Senate seat. Capito scored 100% on BIPAC's 112th Congress voting record. She faces Democratic nominee Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in the general election. Polling shows Capito with a double digit lead, making this seat a prime opportunity to move from adverse to business as it was when held by Rockefeller to pro-business as it would be with Capito. www.capitoforsenate.com
Rep. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
Primary Election: June 3
Rep. Daines is running against Senator John Walsh (D). Walsh was appointed to the seat in February, after Senator Baucus resigned to become Ambassador to China. Daines is a pro-business candidate who was been endorsed by BIPAC and the U.S. Chamber in 2012 when running for the at large Congressional seat and has proven to be a strong advocate for the business community during his time in the House. While Baucus was accommodating to some pro-business opportunities, Daines offers the best chance to make this seat reliably pro-business in its orientation. www.stevedaines.com
Don Beyer (D-Virginia 8)
Primary Election: June 10
Don Beyer is seeking the Democratic nomination for the open seat in this safe Democratic seat. Beyer, former Lieutenant Governor and car dealership owner, faces several candidates in the primary. Beyer has won the first straw poll in the district and is considered the frontrunner. He demonstrated a welcomed propensity to working with the business community to solve problems and grow the economy during his time as Lt. Governor. With the primary quickly approaching, getting involved with the Beyer campaign during the primary is important. www.friendsofdonbeyer.com
Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida 26)
Primary Election: August 26
Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo is challenging Rep. Joe Garcia (D) in this toss up race. While the general election is expected to be highly competitive, Curbelo also has to make it through a GOP primary featuring former member of Congress David Rivera who lost the seat to Garcia in 2012 following a campaign finance scandal very similar to the one Garcia now faces himself. Curbelo is the frontrunner, and has been endorsed by Jeb Bush, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and most of the Miami area business community. www.carloscurbelo.com
Bob Dold (R-Illinois 10)
Primary Election: March 18 > See Results
Former Rep. Bob Dold is challenging Rep. Brad Schneider (D). This is a rematch from the 2012 race where Dold lost to Schneider by less than 3,500 votes. Rep. Dold scored 82% on BIPAC's 112th Congress voting record while Schneider has not been a friend during his time in Congress. BIPAC's state partner, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce has also endorsed Dold and is working with BIPAC and local businesses in the district to support his return to Congress. www.doldforcongress.com
Mike Coffman (R-Colorado 6)
Primary Election: June 24
Rep. Mike Coffman faces a competitive general election with likely Democratic nominee former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. This toss up race is a top Democratic target for 2014. Coffman is a good business ally in the House and scored 95% on BIPAC's 112th Congress voting record. During Romanoff's campaign for U.S. Senate last election, he positioned himself distinctly to the left of current Democratic Senator Michael Bennett and actively opposed many key priorities of the Colorado business community. This is one of the most competitive districts in the country and one of the clearest distinctions between a pro-jobs, pro-prosperity consensus building candidate in Coffman and a hard left avowed opponent of the business community. www.coffmanforcongress.com
Andy Tobin (R-Arizona 1)
Primary Election: August 26
House Speaker Andy Tobin is looking to unseat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D). This is a tossup seat that Kirkpatrick lost in her 2010 reelection bid and won back in 2012. Tobin is a small business owner who has the backing of the local business community, such as the Arizona Restaurant Association. Other Republican candidates include State Rep. Adam Kwasman, and rancher Gary Kiehne. www.andytobin.com
Swati Dandekar (D-Iowa 1)
Primary Election: June 3
Former state legislator Swati Dandekar is running in Rep. Braley's open seat in Iowa 1. This is a safe Democratic seat and the competitive race will be in the Democratic primary. Dandekar has a good working relationship with the business community in Iowa and has been endorsed by John Deere and Rockwell International, two major employers in IA 1. Another leading candidate in the primary is State House Speaker Pat Murphy who has a long legislative record of actively opposing the business community and pro-growth policies. Should Murphy win, he would be very adversarial. www.swatidandekarforcongress.com
Richard Tisei (R-Massachusetts 6)
Primary Election: September 9
Former State Senator Richard Tisei is challenging Rep. John Tierney (D) in a rematch of the 2012 race. The 6th district is Democratic at the Presidential level but was carried by Republicans for Senate and Governor. Tierney barely won in 2012 and remains vulnerable after past ethics troubles. Tierney scored 4% on BIPAC's 112th Congress Voting record and is not a business friendly candidate. Tierney also faces a primary challenger, veteran Seth Moulton in a late primary which make this an even better opportunity to replace him with a business-oriented advocate. www.tiseiforcongress.com
Eric Swalwell (D-California 15)
Primary Election: June 3
Freshman Rep. Eric Swalwell is running for re-election. In 2012, Swalwell defeated incumbent Rep. Pete Stark (D) in the general election. During his brief tenure in Congress, Swalwell has impressed the business community in California and nationally for his willingness to seek consensus solutions and actively bring all sides together for productive legislation. Many BIPAC members with operations in the district are strongly supporting Swalwell's reelection who faces a Republican and Democrat in the June open primary. www.swalwellforcongress.com
Mike Bost (R-Illinois 12)
Primary Election: March 18 > See Results
State Rep. Mike Bost is running to unseat freshman Rep. Bill Enyart (D). This is a competitive race with the district being split pretty evenly between Democrat and Republican. Bost has a background in small business, having worked for Bost Trucking, owned by his father and uncle. He has a 79% (2011-2012) and 100% (2009-2008) rating from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Legislative Ratings. www.bostforcongress.com
Colin Peterson (D-Minnesota 7)
Primary Election: August 12
Rep. Colin Peterson is running for re-election in a tough race. A member of the Blue Dog Coalition, he was first elected in 1990 and is currently the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. Peterson scored 86% on BIPAC's 112th Congress voting record. www.petersonforcongress.com
NOTE: BIPAC will continue to endorse candidates as consensus emerges in primary and general elections amongst its members and the local business community in favor of particular candidates.
Today we continue our 4 part series in which BIPAC will analyze the upcoming 2014 House crossover districts. House crossover districts are the congressional districts where the U.S. Representative and the presidential candidate voted for by that district are of opposite parties. There are currently 26 House crossover districts or 26 House members whose district voted for the presidential candidate of the opposite party. There are 15 incumbent Republicans serving in districts President Obama won and 9 incumbent Democrats serving in districts Mitt Romney won. This series will analyze the incumbents, the districts and potential challengers as the political landscape for 2014 continues to evolve and take shape.
To see the full list of House crossover districts visit the BIPAC portal here.
Jeff Denham (R, CA-10)
Rep. Denham is currently serving in his second term and besides his agriculture and military background, is known around town for a very specific issue – making sure federal office space is being used efficiently. Denham ran in the newly created 10th district in 2012, which leaned more Democratic than Denham’s old district, giving Democrats hope at switching the seat. All together, about $12 million dollars was spent on the race, showing how significant it was to both parties. Expect the same in 2014, especially since recent polls show that Denham may be facing backlash for the government shutdown. Right now, Denham’s most formidable opponent appears to be beekeeper and farmer Michael Eggman (D). Eggman has been part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) effort, Jumpstart, which supports promising candidates for 2014.
Bill Young (R, FL-13)
Rep. Young passed away on October 18, 2013, setting up a special election for the remainder of his term. The moderate Republican with a seat on the Appropriations Committee would have been a tough competitor in 2014, but a special election gives Democrats a much better chance at the seat that went to President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Several potential candidates from both parties are now being mentioned for the seat. Expect this to be a major focus for both parties.
John Kline (R, MN-2)
2012 was one of Rep. Kline’s most competitive elections. He was running in a more competitive district after redistricting and faced a credible challenger, Mike Obermueller (Democratic-Farmer-Labor). However, Kline was able to draw on his reputation for working in a bipartisan manner and experience as Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee to beat Obermueller by over 8 pts. Kline already has challengers for 2014, including Obermueller, who is running again. Kline will be hard to beat, especially with his fundraising numbers; he already has over a million in the bank.
Scott Rigell (R, VA-2)
Currently in his second term, Rep. Rigell is known in Virginia for his pragmatic positions. The 2nd district leans more Republican after redistricting and has a large military presence. Because of this, Rigell has made sure to cater his positions, such as speaking out on sequestration. Due to his more centrist approach, Rigell will be seeing challengers from both sides in 2014. He already has a primary challenger, Kevin Meynardie (R) and on the Democratic side, retired naval officer and former Pentagon official Suzanne Patrick (D) has announced.
Ron Barber (D, AZ-2)
Rep. Barber was first elected to congress in the special election to succeed his boss, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D). In 2012, Barber won a full term to the 2nd district, beating Retired U.S. Air Force combat pilot Martha McSally (R) by less than one point. The 2nd district was drawn more Democratic after redistricting and Barber asserted himself as an independent voice in the House, voting with Republicans on issues important to the 2nd district, such as border control. McSally has already announced she will be running again in 2014, setting up what could be another competitive race.
Nick Rahall (D, WV-3)
Rep. Rahall has served in the U.S. House since 1977. While Rahall has easily won most of his elections, his margins of victory have gotten smaller as West Virginia becomes more conservative. In 2012, the moderate Democrat had to run against an unpopular President Obama in the state, but was able to prevail with strong fundraising numbers and support of the coal industry. Rahall already has a challenger for 2013, state Sen. Evan Jenkins (R). Jenkins was a Democrat, but switched parties to run against Rahall.
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.
This blog part one of a four part series where BIPAC will analyze the upcoming 2014 House Crossover districts. House Crossover districts are the Congressional districts where the U.S. Representative and the presidential candidate voted for by that district are of opposite parties. There are currently 26 House Crossover districts or 26 House members whose district voted for the presidential candidate of the opposite party. There are 15 incumbent Republicans serving in districts President Obama won and nine incumbent Democrats serving in districts Mitt Romney won. This series will analyze the incumbents, the districts and potential challengers as the political landscape for 2014 continues to evolve and take shape.
To see full the list of House Crossover districts visit the Political Analysis page of the BIPAC Portal here.
Gary Miller (R, CA-31)
Rep. Miller was elected to Congress in 1998 and is serving in his 8th term. Miller was reelected in 2012 beating his opponent by 10.4%. What’s unique about Miller’s race is that due to California’s new top-two primary system, Miller ran in the general election against another Republican, making the race less competitive – hence the victory of 10+ points. But, this is a swing district and the President outperformed Miller winning by a margin of 16.6%. As a result, Democratic Party operatives and potential Democratic candidates are honing in on this district as a potential pick up. Several possible challengers have lined up including former Rep. Joe Baca (D) and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) who was backed by the DCCC in 2012. The two that emerge from the top two primary will face a competitive general election. Miller has even been rumored to be looking at friendlier districts. The issue that will mostly likely define Miller’s reelection chances is immigration – 44% of the 31st district’s voting age population is Hispanic.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27)
In 2012, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen was easily reelected for a 12th full term by more than 23 points. However, President Obama also carried the 27th district by more than 6%, demonstrating the swing nature of this district. Despite the Democratic tilt of the 27th, Ros-Lehtinen’s background as the first Cuban-American and Hispanic woman elected to Congress, her leadership prowess as former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and her ability to reach across the aisle and break with party on issues important to her district has enabled her to remain very popular with voters in Florida. As of today, few challengers are reported for 2014, but because of the demographic and partisan makeup of the district, it is likely we will ultimately see a Democratic challenger. However, the reputation and leadership of the Congresswoman ensures she will likely win reelection regardless of any election challenges.
Erik Paulsen (R, MN-3)
Rep. Paulsen was elected in 2008 and has never won reelection with less than 58% of the vote. The 3rd district supported President Obama in both 2008 with 51% of the vote and again in 2012, edging Mitt Romney out by 4,000 votes. This district (which includes the Mall of America) has a minority population of 17% and, although it tilts conservative, it remains competitive for all candidates on the ballot. While this district would typically be on Democrats’ radars, the popularity of Paulsen on both sides of the aisle coupled with his position on the House Ways and Means Committee make him a lower priority target. Paulsen is frequently considered for statewide office in Minnesota but he chose not to run for Senate in 2014 and is concentrating on business-focused issues and economic policy in the House.
Joe Heck (R, NV-3)
Rep. Heck won election to a second term in 2012 by 7.5% in a district the President carried by a narrow margin of 0.8%. Heck was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and was able to hang on in 2012 thanks to a weak Democratic opponent. However, he is actively being targeted in 2014 by the Democratic House Majority PAC primarily because of his stances on immigration and the fact that he lives in a substantially Hispanic district. DNC Committeewoman Erin Bilbray-Kohn (D) has already announced her intention to run. Heck has the support of the NRCC and is part of their 2014 Patriot Program. This help will be needed due to the turmoil and disorganization within the state Republican Party in Nevada. Ultimately, how the immigration debate plays out in the House could define Heck’s reelection campaign.
Ann Kirkpatrick (D, AZ-1)
Rep. Kirkpatrick was first elected to the U.S. House in 2008, lost reelection in 2010, but was victorious again in 2012. She ran in Arizona’s 1st district which was an open seat and won with only 48.8% of the vote with a 3.6% margin of victory (Interesting note: the Libertarian candidate received 6% of the vote). Kirkpatrick has already been targeted by the NRCC and is part of the DCCC’s Frontline Program that protects vulnerable Democrats. In 2012, she benefited greatly from redistricting and high turnout among Native American and Hispanic voters. A Republican challenger has already announced his intention to run – State Rep. Adam Kwasman (R), who managed Jesse Kelly’s failed campaign against Gabby Giffords in 2010. This race will undoubtedly be a close contest.
Collin Peterson (D, MN-7)
Rep. Peterson is a 12-term congressman known as a centrist legislator willing to work across the aisle to get meaningful policy enacted. He won reelection handily in 2012 with a 25.5% margin of victory. His district has some of the most productive farming in the country and was carried by Mitt Romney by nearly 10%. Despite the district supporting Republican gubernatorial and presidential candidates in recent cycles, Peterson has managed to carry this district for two decades. However, Peterson is just shy of 70 years old and his low fundraising reports have sparked rumors covered by National Journal, Roll Call and Daily Kos that he may not run for reelection. He raised about $93,800 in the second fundraising quarter and has just $205,000 cash on hand. As of today, he has not publically announced if he plans to run next year. As ranking member of the Agriculture Committee it is assumed he would like to see a solution to the Farm Bill before leaving Congress. As of today no serious challengers have announced.
Next month will be part two of the four part House Crossover District series.
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.
There will be another open seat in the House when voters go the polls in 2014. Surprising many, Representative Michele Bachmann (R, MN-6) announced via a video on her website that she won’t be seeking reelection to a fifth term. The former presidential candidate and tea-party mainstay was expected to face a tough challenge from Democrat Jim Graves who came within 1.2% of defeating her last November. Despite what would likely have been an uphill battle for reelection, Bachmann said that her decision had nothing to do with her prospects but rather her belief that she had served her time. In the video, Bachmann said, “I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced he is once again running.”
Jim Graves had official announced his decision to challenge Bachmann, but with her exit, Graves also announced his departure. Graves looked like a strong contender against Bachmann heading into 2014, but with more moderate Republicans now seeing an opportunity, the seat is a harder pick-up for Democrats. The 6th District is a more conservative suburban district that will be a challenge for Democrats to put in play without the divisive Bachmann in the mix. Romney took the district by almost 15% in 2012. No major contenders have had a chance to express their interest, but expect the Republican that emerges in this race to have the advantage.
- Barack Obama:
50%, 303 Electoral Votes
- Mitt Romney:
48%, 206 Electoral Votes
- Note: Florida’s 29 electoral votes have not officially been called but President Obama leads the raw number count
- Switches from 2008: IN, NC, NE 02 switch from D to R
- Next Senate: 55 D (includes 2 Ind’s expected to caucus w/D), 45 R
- Net gain of +2 for Dems
- Of 33 on ballot (23 D, 8 R, 2 Ind)
- Freshman Class: 12 (8 D, 3R, 1 Ind)
- 1 incumbent lost in General Election (Scott Brown-MA, R)
- 1 incumbent lost in Primary Election (Dick Lugar-IN, R)
- R to D: IN, MA
- D to R: NE
- I to D: CT
- R to I: ME
- 113th House will have approximately 236 R and 199 D
- If numbers hold, approximately net gain of +6 for D
- Freshman class: at least 80, 35 R and 42 D, 3 yet to be called (AZ 1, AZ 9, CA 26)
- Democrats lost 9 incumbents (Chandler-KY, Kissell-NC, Critz-PA, Hochul-NY, Sutton-OH, Stark-CA, Boswell-IA, Berman-CA, Richardson-CA)
- Republicans lost 14 incumbents (Bartlett-MD, Rivera-FL, Buerkle-NY, Bass-NH, Dold-IL, Walsh-IL, Biggert-IL, Schilling-IL, Guinta-NH, West-FL, Canseco-TX, Hayworth-NY, Cravaak-MN, LA runoff TBD)
- Current governors breakdown 30 R and 19 D and 1 Ind
- Of the 11 on the ballot 4 R and 6 D (WA still TBD)
- Net gain of +1 R
*Due to the complications of redistricting the House numbers are unusually confusing. For a more thorough explanation contact a BIPAC staff member.
Not only has Wisconsin been in the spotlight since Saturday, but it was once again last night. The marquee race from last night was the contest to win the Republican nomination for Senate in Wisconsin between Tommy Thompson (R) and Eric Hovde (R). Thompson is former four-term Governor, state legislator, Cabinet member and unsuccessful candidate for president. His long political career stretches back to when he won a seat to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966. By contrast, businessman Eric Hovde was born in 1964 and was making his first run at political office. Former congressmen Mark Neumann (R) and Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald (R) were also vying for the nomination.
Thompson’s victory speech showed the energy he will need if he is to find his way to the Senate in the 113th Congress come January. Thompson will be facing seven-term Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), who will draw upon strong support from liberal organizations across the country. Baldwin ran unopposed in her primary. Most polls indicate a slight advantage for Thompson to win this open seat that was created when Sen. Herb Kohl (D) decided to retire. A Democrat hold here would go a long way in keeping Democrats in the majority while a Thompson win could give Republicans a solid chance to have an outright majority.
Results for the Wisconsin Senate GOP nomination (with 100% reporting):
Florida is one of the Big Three states along with Ohio and Virginia. All three are must-win states for Romney to win the White House and all three states have competitive Senate races where Republican victories would take a seat from Democrat control. While the Primary Election was settled quickly, the General Election could likely prove to be a long night in determining if incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) wins a third term. If Rep. Connie Mack (R) wins, Florida’s Senior Senator becomes Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who first won election in 2010. Both Nelson and Mack won their respective primaries by 78.8% and 58.7%. The growing central region of the state that is home to a large number of hospitality industry voters will be key one of the main keys in deciding this contest.The upset of the night occurred in Florida’s Third District where veterinarian Ted Yoho (R) surprised nearly everyone by defeating 12-term incumbent Rep. Cliff Stearns (R) narrowly in a four way primary by just 829 votes (34.4% to 33.1%). While the race has not been officially called as of 3:30am ET, to trigger an automatic recall the margin would have to be under 0.5%. The stinger for Stearns is that, as of his last FEC report on July 25, he had nearly $2.1 million cash on hand in his campaign. Ouch! The combination of 35% of the district being new to Stearns as a result of redistricting and the effective “he is a career politican” ads proved to be lethal for Yoho. Nearly every GOP candidate receives over 55% in this district and Yoho will be a favorite to make it to Washington.In 2012 there are 13 contests involving 11 pairs of House incumbents running against each other (2 pairs in California face each other in the Primary and General Elections). One of those contest involved two Florida House members. In Florida’s Seventh District, Rep. John Mica (R) defeated freshman Rep. Sandy Adams (R) by a 61.2% to 38.8% margin. This result is one of the more lopsided member versus member contest as a result of Mica receiving strong support from nearly all constituent bases inside and outside of Florida, while Adams was not able to garner much support that left her campaign vulnerable. Mica currently serves as the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The two candidates expected to claim their party’s nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat created by the retirement of Sen. Joe Leiberman (I) did so with ease. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT05) won his primary with 67.5% over former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D), while Linda McMahon bested former Congressman Chris Shays (R) by receiving 72.7% of the vote. McMahon received 43% while spending over $50 million in her 2010 failed Senate effort against Richard Blumenthal (D). McMahon’s background and involvement with the WWF will attract attention to this race. Regardless of the winner, Connecticut will have Senators first elected in 2010 and 2012.The race to replace Rep. Murphy in the fifth district was contested by both major parties. On the Democrat side, which has a slight advantage in the fall, Elizabeth Esty (D) won her three primaries with 44.5% and was the surprise winner over Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan (D), who tallied 32.4%. Donovan was the prohibitive favorite and had the support of the party and labor unions. This all changed at the end of May when a campaign finance scandal rocked his campaign and saw his finance director arrested for allegedly concealing large amounts of contributions. Esty, a former state representative, will face state senator Andrew Roraback (R) who won his party nomination with 32.3% in a four way primary.
All eight House incumbents (four Republican and four Democrat) are running for re-election and all eight received at least 80% of the vote in their primary races. The race to keep your eye on here is in the eight district where freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) finds himself in a district that voted for both Barack Obama for president and Al Franken for senate. Cravaack will be challenged by Richard Nolan (D), who severed in Congress from 1975 to 1981.
The 2010 and 2011 elections at the state legislative level saw dramatic changes for control of the 99 state legislative chambers across the country. A total of 26 state legislative chambers moved away from Democrat control to either outright Republican control or a tied chamber. The 2012 Recall Elections in Wisconsin resulted in a change from Republican to Democrat control.
We will be closely watching to see how many of these 26 (plus a few others) move back to Democrat control or even become more Republican following the 2012 General Election. Overall, the GOP improved their chances at the state legislative level as a result of redistricting.
Both State Chamber Changed – AL, LA, ME, MN, NC, NH & WI
State Senate Only Changes – AK, NY, & VA
State Lower Chamber Only Changes – CO, IA, IN, MI, MS, MT, OH, OR, PA
There is a time for politics and a time for governing. The time for politics is over the time for governing is upon us.