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November 28, 2015

Posts in "Senate 2014"

November 7, 2014

Debate Coaches, Media Training, Tech: How GOP Did It

Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, on the trail in Jonesboro, Ark., was a top Republican Senate recruit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The sweeping Republican victories were thanks to two years of internal speculation and trying to beat the Democrats “at their own game,” a new GOP memo argues.

“This did not happen by accident,” read a joint memo from the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Democrats expected to win; they bragged that they would win. They would have won, had we not beat them at their own game.”

Full story

Ed Gillespie Concedes Virginia Senate Race to Mark Warner

Gillespie conceded the Virginia Senate race Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Update 2:03 p.m. | Republican Ed Gillespie conceded the Virginia Senate race Friday, declining to contest Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s tight lead.

By Friday, Warner led by just 17,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. But with canvassing ongoing since Wednesday, media outlets had yet to call the race.

“If I believed there were any conceivable way we could find a viable path to win through a recount, I would fight,” Gillespie told supporters. Full story

10 Uncalled Races Remain as Democrats Pick Up California Seat (Updated)

uncalled races

Aguilar is a Democrat from California. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:39 p.m. | Democrats picked up their third House seat late Thursday, stemming the party’s losses to 13 seats — for now.

After more absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Democrat Pete Aguilar maintained a lead over Republican Paul Chabot, 51 percent to 49 percent, in California’s 31st District. Aguilar declared victory and Chabot conceded; the seat was open because Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller is retiring.

The Associated Press also called a House race in Maryland’s 6th District in favor of the Democrat. Freshman Rep. John Delaney defeated his Republican opponent, 50 percent to 48 percent, in an unexpectedly close contest.

In Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by a 16,000-vote margin.

Gillespie announced at a news conference Friday afternoon that he would not contest the results.

Elsewhere, several other races remain too close to call:

Full story

November 6, 2014

Senate Democrats Saw GOP Wave Before Election Night

senate races 2014

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at his re-election victory party Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The executive directors of the Democratic and Republican Senate campaign arms broke down the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections Thursday at the Election Impact Conference hosted by CQ Roll Call, giving a candid assessment of the factors that led to Republicans taking control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.

Guy Cecil, who ran the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the past two cycles, said top-level Democrats knew about a week before Election Day the tide had moved against them and said they were bracing for losses across the board as results came in Tuesday night.

“We had hopes we could stem the tide, but it became clear to us that it would be difficult to do,” Cecil told the audience.

Full story

November 5, 2014

What Happened to 2014’s Most Vulnerable Senators?

senate election results

Sen. Hagan was defeated Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Three members on Roll Call’s ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators will definitely not be returning to Congress next year, along with a slew of other incumbents.

The fate of two more senators is still unknown, but they also appear to be in trouble. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., faces a difficult December runoff. Votes are also still being counted in Alaska, where Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, is trailing his Republican opponent by several points.

Find out who else fulfilled or defied their vulnerable ranking: Full story

A Day in the Life of Rob Collins, on the Brink of the Majority

senate republicans

Collins served as executive director of the NRSC during the 2014 midterms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the tail end of an hour-long press briefing at the National Republican Senatorial Committee less than three weeks before the elections, Executive Director Rob Collins threw out a prediction: The GOP would win the majority on election night.

Republicans were favored to pick up at least a handful of seats, but with a couple possible runoffs and some tight races, forecasting clear control of the chamber by the end of Election Day was a ballsy declaration.

In his office a little while later, Collins laughed as he noticed his quote popping up in stories online. He wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t think it was possible, but Collins went out on a limb mainly because he didn’t want his customary level-headed analysis of the Senate playing field misinterpreted as pessimism about his party’s chances.

“I think people like that I don’t bullshit them,” Collins said. But, he added, “I felt like, boy, I better end this on a note of confidence, or they’ll say, ‘Collins was a little iffy on that whole thing.’ So yeah, we’ll win on election night — it’s totally possible.” Full story

November 4, 2014

Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

McConnell won re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated Nov. 5, 7:23 a.m. | Republicans swept the Senate races Tuesday night, and come January, they will control the chamber for the first time in eight years.

Democratic incumbents fell right and left, even in seats that they had originally been favored to win. President Barack Obama’s poor approval rating — 42 percent in the last nationwide Gallup poll — dragged down candidates across the country in the face of a Republican wave.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who cruised to victory in his own re-election, is set to become the next majority leader, with a gain of at least seven seats — one more than the GOP needed.

As results were still pouring in, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran credited the GOP’s recruiting, encouraging and training its candidates.

“They are why we have the ability to deliver a majority, this evening, of Republicans to the United States Senate,” the Kansas Republican said. Full story

McConnell Warns Senate Control Could Be Unclear Until January

McConnell, right, is the Senate Minority Leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky., — At the end of a full day of flying around the Bluegrass State, Sen. Mitch McConnell presented the state of play on the national landscape like a prognosticator instead of a pol who holds the title of Senate minority leader.

“We think we have a good chance to take the Senate,” McConnell said of the Republicans’ prospects. “The suspense won’t last much longer. Hopefully we’ll find out tomorrow night instead of December or January, but there could be additional races beyond tomorrow night.”

“There could be another election in Louisiana, and their could be another election in Georgia,” he said.

In Georgia, a runoff between Republican David Perdue and and Democrat Michelle Nunn would run past the scheduled opening of the new Congress, which could make organizing the chamber nearly impossible if the result could determine which party is in charge.

“I think it’s uncharted territory. Hopefully it will be decided tomorrow night, and we won’t have to worry about it,” McConnell said. Full story

Counties to Watch in 5 Key Senate Races

senate races 2014

Udall is seeking re-election in Colorado. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Control of the Senate comes down to just a few states, with Republicans in a position to pick up the necessary net six seats to win the majority.

As the results pour in Tuesday evening, here are the counties to watch in five of the most contested Senate races: Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Kansas, and Georgia.

Colorado: Arapahoe County and Jefferson County

These two Denver suburbs have served as bellwethers for statewide results in recent years, and probably will again as Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, fights to fend off Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican.

Jefferson County’s results in the past six cycles have mirrored the statewide results within a percentage point. Arapahoe is another strong indicator of the statewide results in past years, but it’s also a county where there’s often drop off in voters between presidential years and midterms. If the number of votes coming in from Arapahoe look similar to the vote total from 2012, it could be a good night for the Democrats. Full story

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

senate races 2014

Landrieu rallies supporters Nov. 2 in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are enough Democratic seats in play for Republicans to secure the Senate majority Tuesday, but there is also a chance the outcome won’t be known for days, weeks or even a couple months.

Needing to net six seats to win back control for the first time since George W. Bush’s second midterm in 2006, Republicans have taken advantage of a Democratic president in a similarly weak political position and have carved a path through 10 states. That means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be celebrating more than his own re-election in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night.

Still, with runoffs likely in two competitive states, potentially razor-thin margins in a few races and vote-counting complications in Alaska, there are several hurdles to one party having clear control of the Senate by the time the sun rises Wednesday on the East Coast. Full story

November 3, 2014

Why State Lawmakers Are an Opposition Researcher’s Dream

Tillis has a record and Democrats know it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Think being a Washington politician gets a bum rap? It’s not so easy being a politician from Phoenix, Springfield, Des Moines, Lincoln or Raleigh, either. Just ask Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin, Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost, Iowa House Rep. Pat Murphy, Nebraska state Sen. Brad Ashford or North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis.

With extensive voting records, state legislators hoping to capture national offices have seen their records used against them in close races, as their opponents use their votes to paint them with the same brush any incumbent is accustomed to.

The two speakers, Tillis and Tobin, have been targeted especially hard. Full story

November 1, 2014

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Pryor, right, canvasses Saturday with an aide in the Little Rock, Arkansas, suburbs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Roll Call’s final ranking of the most vulnerable senators doesn’t vary much from previous versions — the result of an unfavorable national climate for Democrats that has failed to improve.

On the eve of the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are staring down a hole dug by President Barack Obama’s disapproval ratings and an unforgiving map packed with red states. Retirements by a quartet of senators in Republican-leaning or swing states didn’t help, but the seats of at least four incumbents seeking re-election aren’t on much stronger ground.

It’s the reality of what could end up being a dreadful cycle for Democrats. Still, party strategists remain cautiously optimistic they can hold on to a few endangered seats, possibly even pick up a GOP open seat in Georgia and save the majority. Republicans need a net gain of six seats. Full story

Reid: Iowa Loss Would Mean Republican Senate Majority (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:27 p.m., Nov. 1 | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have just unwittingly given Minority Leader McConnell something to smile about.

“What Joni Ernst would mean, coming to the United States Senate, is that Mitch McConnell would be the leader of the Senate, someone who agrees with her on virtually everything. Think what that would mean to our country,” Reid told progressives Saturday, when asked about Ernst’s chances in the open-seat race in Iowa.

That sure sounds like Reid believes his Republican leadership counterpart is going to win in Kentucky on Tuesday.

Reid then reprised familiar lines about the increase in the number of cloture motions and the history of the filibuster.

(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at

Full story

October 31, 2014

Early Voting Update in Four Senate Races

early voting

A polling station in Washington, D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Early voting is playing a crucial role in several of the cycle’s most contested races for the Senate, where control hangs in the balance ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Senate Republicans must gain six seats to win the majority — an increasingly likely scenario.

Here’s a look at how both sides are faring in early voting in four of the most competitive Senate races:

Sen. Mark Udall, Democrat, vs. Rep. Cory Gardner, Republican.

Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tilts Republican 

Full story

How Mary Landrieu and Kissing Congressman’s Fates Are Tied

Landrieu campaigns at an event for Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vulnerable Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, also known as the “Kissing Congressman,” have something in common on Election Day.

Though on opposite sites of the aisle, the two Pelican State incumbents are fighting for their political lives Tuesday. They also have a common goal in attracting moderate voters — and the same adversary in the Louisiana Republican Party.

“Certainly they both need the support of moderates to win,” said Louisiana GOP executive director Jason Doré in a phone interview Wednesday. Full story

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