Category - USA: Campaign 2014

Sen. Mary Landrieu loses runoff in Louisiana to Rep. Bill Cassidy

Washington Post, By Sean Sullivan, December 6

Republicans put the finishing touches on a triumphant midterm election by picking up a ninth Senate seat Saturday when Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) defeated Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) in a runoff election.

Landrieu’s loss means there will be no Democratic senators from the Deep South when the new Congress is sworn in early next year. It will end Landrieu’s tenure in the Senate after three terms and deprives Democrats of holding a single statewide elected office in Louisiana.

With most precincts reporting, Cassidy led Landrieu by about 14 percentage points. The Associated Press called the race for Cassidy shortly after polls closed in the evening.

Cassidy’s win comes after Republicans swept into power in the Senate on Nov. 4, picking up eight Democratic-held seats without surrendering any of their own. In Louisiana’s all-party Senate primary that day, no candidate received a majority of the vote, triggering the runoff.

Republican challenger wins Louisiana Senate race

Reuters, By Jonathan Kaminsky, December 7

New Orleans – Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy handily won a Louisiana U.S. Senate runoff election on Saturday, capping big wins for his party in the Nov. 4 midterms at the expense of one of the chamber’s last remaining southern Democrats.

Cassidy, whose victory swells the ranks of Republicans in the Senate to 54, defeated Mary Landrieu, a three-term incumbent who last month pushed hard for a Senate vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast that came up just short.


“This victory happened because people in Louisiana voted for a government which serves us but does not tell us what to do,” Cassidy told a jubilant crowd in Baton Rouge.

Cassidy becomes the ninth Republican to capture a previously Democratic seat this year in a runoff held because no candidate secured a majority in the Nov. 4 open primary.

Louisiana Senate Candidates Race to Hold Lame Duck Votes On Keystone XL Pipeline

ABC News, By Arlette Saenz, November 12

After two years of inaction on the Keystone XL pipeline, it could be a Louisiana Senate run-off that finally forces Congress to vote on the measure.

The so-called Bayou Brawl was on full display on Capitol Hill Wednesday as the two candidates – Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy – raced to be first to hold a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Fresh off the campaign trail, Landrieu, D-La., implored Senate Republicans Wednesday to allow a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline in the lame duck session, saying it would be a good moment for future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work in a bipartisan manner.

“I believe it is time to act. I believe that we should take the new majority leader at his word and stop blocking legislation that is broadly supported by the American public and has been for quite some time,” Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, said on the Senate floor. “I want to say yes to majority leader, to new majority leader Mitch McConnell. The time to start is now.”

But Republicans on the other side of the Capitol are working swiftly to hold a vote of their own on the pipeline, a measure that is sponsored by Landrieu’s opponent Cassidy. The House Rules Committee announced it was holding a meeting Wednesday night to consider the Keystone XL pipeline bill, described as an “emergency measure,” and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the measure would be considered on the House floor Thursday.

The Senate agreed to hold a vote on Keystone XL as early as Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that Senate Democrats were considering holding a vote on Keystone XL to help Landrieu in her December 6 run-off in Louisiana. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the idea a “bad joke.”

Politico: Democrats could allow Keystone vote before Landrieu runoff
AP: Immigration, Keystone XL dominate first day of lame duck session
Washington Post: House, Senate to vote on Keystone XL pipeline
Washington Post: Landrieu throws Hail Mary, GOP may score
Update: Rosebud Sioux Tribe: House Vote in Favor of the Keystone XL an Act of War, November 14

GOP wins Alaska, unseating Sen. Mark Begich

MSNBC, By Jane C. Timm, November 12

Republican Dan Sullivan is the apparent winner in the Alaska Senate race unseating Democrat Mark Begich, NBC News declared early Wednesday morning.

Sullivan led Begich by about 8,100 in last week’s midterm election; after roughly 20,000 absentee ballots, early voting, and questioned ballots had been counted, it became clear that Begich would not overcome his challenger in the final count. The first-term incumbent has not yet conceded the race and plans to wait to see all votes counted.

Why Dems Lose Midterms

The preliminary numbers are in, and voter turnout was at a record low nationwide.

Conventional wisdom says that each party, Republican and Democrat, can count on roughly 45% of the vote, no matter what. The last ten percent is what you need to win an election.

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The Dems die a little more in Maryland

The shocker victory of Republican governor-elect Larry Hogan here in deep blue Maryland is a vivid example of how the Democratic Party is paying the price for having sold its base down the river. Here is WaPo on the physics of Tuesday’s gubernatorial Democratic unraveling here in the Free State:

With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, [expected winner Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony] Brown was winning handily in [heterogenous] Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and he was well ahead in the city of Baltimore. But turnout appeared fairly low in those populous jurisdictions. And Hogan led everywhere else, including in the Baltimore suburbs.

That is the gist of how Brown, the anointed successor to two-term Democratic governor and presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley,  became the latest poster child for his party’s haplessness in the face of an auspiciously divisive Republican Party. Hogan will be only the third Republican Maryland governor since Spiro Agnew. The secret of the Dems’ undoing in this election? Inspire your base to stay at home while the Repubs fire up angry voters to stride into the voting booth and whack away at false enemies.

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US mid-terms: Republicans win control of the Senate

BBC, November 5

The Republicans have won control of the Senate in the US mid-term elections, increasing their power in the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The party won in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

And it is expected to post more gains as votes are counted in other states.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, poised to lead the chamber, said the result was a vote against “a government that people can no longer trust”.

About one-third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives, 36 of 50 state governors, and countless state and local offices were up for election.

…and check out the House of Representatives map here: RollCall.


Related, Bill Moyers & co: If the GOP Takes the Senate, Climate Change Deniers Will Control Key Committees, By Lee Fang, October 28

Environment and Public Works Committee: Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is in line to take control of the EPQ chairmanship, which would give him authority over the EPA. Inhofe, who has compared climate change activists to Nazis, has already signaled that he will go after regulators on a raft of issues concerning greenhouse gases, from methane leaks to the new rules over coal-fire power plants.

Subcommittee on Science and Space: As current ranking member of this subcommittee, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has a good shot at becoming the chairman. This vital subcommittee oversees the National Science Foundation, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and issues relating to federally funded scientific research. Cruz is a proud denier of climate change science. When he ran for office in 2012, Cruz told reporters in Texas that global warming ceased in 1997. Earlier this year, in an interview with CNN, Cruz again questioned the science, claiming the “data are not supporting what the advocates are arguing.”

Let the Recriminations Begin!

These mid-term elections were never going to be easy for the Democrats.  They had way too many seats at stake in the Senate, many of them Democrats who won reliably Republican seats during the enthusiasm for Obama in 2008.  Their chances in the House were dismal to non-existent, since gerrymandering has carved up almost all of the 435 seats into a lock-proof majority for the Republicans.  Still, in cases where there was some hope for the Democrats, the Republicans pulled through, even handsomely, as with the reelection of Governor Sam Brownback, the man who broke the back of Kansas with his “experiment” in neoliberal, supply-side economics.

Does this mean Kansans are happy with the disaster that has befallen their state budget and resulted in cutbacks in education, police and fire services, healthcare, and pretty much anything else the government can provide?  Probably not.  But what are the voters to do?  Vote for the guy who is going to raise taxes, even if only on the wealthy?  Republicans in a die-hard Republican state like Kansas have been trained all their life to reject any candidate contemplating raising taxes.  It’s the Grover Norquist principle at stake.  And even if it weren’t a matter of principle, Republicans in Kansas are like Americans everywhere – poorer, and less able to absorb any further taxes. Read More

Senate control may be not be decided Tuesday

McClatchy, By David Lightman, November 2

Polls released Sunday show it’s increasingly likely that control of the Senate may not be decided Tuesday, as no one in Louisiana and Georgia races has the majority needed to avoid a runoff election.

New Marist-NBC polls in those states show the leaders still in the 40s. In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has 44 percent to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy’s 36 percent and conservative Rob Maness’ 15 percent. If no one gets a majority, the top two finishers would vie in a December 6 runoff. Cassidy tops Landrieu by 5 in a head to head matchup, while Maness would be up by 4.

The Guardian: US midterm elections – the Guardian briefing

Former pig castrator Joni Ernst poised to win Iowa Senate seat for Republicans

Republican once considered an obscure one-term state senator has the momentum in Iowa despite suffering the ridicule of her rivals

The Guardian, By Rory Carroll, November 3

Des Moines – Joni Ernst became famous by gazing into a camera and boasting of castrating hogs on the Iowa farm where she grew up.

“So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” she said. The campaign ad Squeal showed images of pigs, then came her punchline. “Washington is full of big spenders. Let’s make ‘em squeal.”

Even Democrats laughed. Late-night comedians spoofed it. Few, initially, took it seriously. This was back in March. Ernst was an obscure, one-term state senator scrambling in a primary against rival Republicans for the right to run for the US senate against a favoured Democrat.

Now, on the eve of Tuesday’s midterm election, Democrats don’t see the joke. Ernst, 44, appears poised to win Iowa’s senate race – and possibly to deliver a senate majority to the GOP.

Many progressives consider the self-described farm girl their worst nightmare: a Tea Party radical who wants to privatise social security, curb abortion rights, repeal Obamacare and abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. A corn belt Sarah Palin with shears – and momentum.