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Fourth incumbent Senator to announce retirement for 2016
Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016.
Click for Harry Reid (D,NV) stances on the issues.
Third incumbent Senator to announce retirement for 2016
Sen. Dan Coats announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016. From 1981 to 1999, Coats served in the United States Congress, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate. Coats stepped down from his Senate seat in 1999. In 2001, Coats was named U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. Coats returned to the Senate in 2011.
There are now three incumbent Senators who have announced their retirement as of the 2016 election. The other two are Barbara Mikulski (D,MD) and Barbara Boxer (D,CA). The likely candidates who may run in the 2016 Senate races in those three states follow:
Click for Dan Coats (R,IN) stances on the issues.
First major candidate to formally announce
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced that he would run for president in 2016, becoming the first Republican candidate to declare himself officially in the race.
What does a "formal announcement" or an "official declaration" mean? Nothing, actually, except that it generates news headlines. The legal status that matters is to form an "Exploratory Committee" that can accept campaign donations, or to create a website that can accept donations....
Click for Sen. Ted Cruz (R,TX) stances on the issues.
Special election will take place in summer 2015
Rep. Aaron Schock's resignation after six weeks of intense scrutiny over spending, travel and real estate deals marked a stunning fall for a politician once seen as a rising young voice in Congress. Schock, 33, the first member of Congress born in the 1980s, said he will step down March 31. He was in his fourth term in the House of Representatives, having served since 2009.
The Republican from Peoria, whose conduct has been the subject of investigations by several news organizations, admitted no wrongdoing in his resignation statement, saying only that the constant questions were a "great distraction." Once he steps down, Schock no longer will come under the jurisdiction of congressional ethics investigators. However, legal observers said the recent issues that have dogged Schock ever since the Washington Post on Feb. 2 wrote about his $40,000 "Downton Abbey" office decor could follow him into his post congressional life. The Federal Election Commission, or state or federal prosecutors in Illinois still could examine the allegations leveled against Schock to determine if he violated the law.
Schock easily won re-election in November, but the spate of recent media reports quickly led to rumors he would resign. Still, just a week ago, Schock said, "I'm not going anywhere."
Schock's resignation becomes official March 31, and once that happens, Governor Bruce Rauner will call a special election for Schock's Illinois district. State law requires the governor to set the date for a special election within five days. Primary and general elections would be held, and by law the congressional seat must be filled within 120 days.
Also interested in the special election in the heavily Republican congressional district is state Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington. And state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who ran for Illinois governor three times, said he "won't say no" at this point to a potential congressional bid.
Click for Aaron Schock (R,IL) stances on the issues.
Subject of criminal investigation by federal Dept. of Justice
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is the subject of an investigation into his relationship with a wealthy Florida eye doctor and political donor, including trips to the Dominican Republic on Dr. Salomon Melgen’s private aircraft and actions Sen. Menendez allegedly took regarding Medicare payments that would have benefited the ophthalmologist. Menendez also is said to have intervened regarding a port security business in the Dominican Republic in which Dr. Melgen had a financial interest.
At a news conference Friday, Menendez strong denied any wrongdoing. "Let me be very clear, I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law," he said. "Every action that I and my office have taken for the last 23 years that I have been privileged to be in the United States Congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and this entire country."
If the Senator faces a criminal trial, and/or is convicted, he is not REQUIRED to resign, but might feel morally obligated to do so. Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR) recently resigned when his fiancee got indicted -- so Menendez might also.
If Menendez resigns, what happens? New Jersey faced the same situation a few years ago, and here was the series of events:
Click for issue stances of Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
Conservative Political Action Conference poll results below
Sen. Rand Paul won The Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll for the third time in a row while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surged to second place. Sen. Ted Cruz slipped to third place, down a rung from his showing last year, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in fourth and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fifth. Mr. Bush was booed by the crowd when his name was announced in the poll results, suggesting how polarizing a figure he is among conservatives.
The more than 3,000 activists who voted at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference also showed commanding support for legalizing marijuana, with a strong plurality of 41 percent saying it should be legal for recreational use, and another 26 percent saying Americans should be able to at least use it for medicinal purposes with permission of a doctor.
And the activists were overwhelmingly in favor of Congress using its power of the purse to halt President Obama’s new deportation amnesty, with more than three-quarters of voters saying they agree — and a stunning 60 percent saying they “strongly agree” with the tactic.
Click for 2014 CPAC speech excerpts.
Blames "intense media scrutiny" of himself and fiancee
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced Friday he would resign amid a mounting ethics scandal involving him and his fiancée -- even as he remained defiant, lashing out at the media and former allies: “I am announcing today that I will resign as governor of the state of Oregon,” Kitzhaber said in a written statement.
The rapidly accelerating political pressure to resign, coupled with various investigations and intense media scrutiny, proved too much to withstand. The governor took a few parting shots at his critics in his statement on Friday, calling it "deeply troubling to me to realize that we have come to a place in the history of this great state of ours where a person can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced by the media with no due process and no independent verification of the allegations involved." He added: "But even more troubling -- and on a very personal level as someone who has given 35 years of public service to Oregon -- is that so many of my former allies in common cause have been willing to simply accept this judgment at its face value. It is something that is hard for me to comprehend -- something we might expect in Washington, D.C. but surely not in Oregon.”
Two days ago, Kitzhaber had said he had no intention of resigning, despite growing pressure from almost every single top lawmaker in Oregon, including his friends and one-time political allies. Kitzhaber maintained he has broken no laws but understands he has “become a liability to the very institutions and policies to which I have dedicated my career and, indeed, my entire adult life.”
Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat like Kitzhaber, was expected to assume the office and become the first openly bisexual governor in the country. Unlike most states, Oregon does not have a lieutenant governor, and the state Constitution puts the secretary of state next in line.
Kitzhaber has been embroiled in a series of controversies involving his fiancee Cylvia Hayes. The pressure mounted earlier this week. First, the state attorney general, who is also a Democrat, confirmed she had opened a criminal investigation. Then on Thursday, the two top-ranking Democrats in the legislature called on Kitzhaber to step down. The spiral marks a remarkable fall for a politician in his fourth term as governor, and who has been an elected leader in Oregon for 37 years.
Click for excerpts from Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR) or Kate Brown (D-OR).
Coverage of Obama's speech and five Republican responses
A summary sampling of OnTheissues' excerpts:
Click for excerpts from the 2014 State of the Union and the 2015 State of the Union.
Coverage begins with AZ, KY, NJ, NY, VA, and WI
OnTheIssues covers governor's State of the State speeches as a primary source of issue material for incumbent governors. State of the State speeches traditionally occur early in the year: mostly in January, but some into February and March. We focus on newly-elected Governors and also on governors considering a presidential run. Below is our initial coverage; check back as more speeches are made....
Click on the candidates above to see their issue stances; and check back in the coming weeks to see additional SOTS coverage.
Click for 2014 State of the State speeches and 2015 State of the State speeches.
Republicans officially take over Senate
The "freshman class of 2015" got sworn in to the House and Senate this week. OnTheIssues.org has created a new issues page for eahc and every incoming House and Senate member, covering the basics of their campaign promises and their political philosophy. Over the coming months, we will add to that their bill sponsorships and voting record, for comparison to their campaign promises.
Governors are generally sworn in during the first week of January also, but on a schedule determined by each state. Each and every newly-elected governor also has a new page linked below.
Click for Senate debate coverage.
|Michael Grimm (R-NY) resigns House seat: Dec. 30, 2014|
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) has resigned from Congress after winning re-election in November, but before the swearing-in ceremony for the new Congress in January. By choosing to resign now, instead of dropping out of the re-election race, Grimm's choice will cost the taxpayers of New York millions of dollars to run a special election in 2015 to replace him. Details from the New York Daily News:
Rep. Michael Grimm plans to resign from Congress in the wake of his guilty plea on a felony tax evasion charge. Grimm (R, Staten Island) said after he entered his plea last week that he would continue to serve in the House. But he reversed course after speaking Monday to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has taken a hard line on Republicans facing ethics charges.
Before his plea, Grimm had been scheduled to go on trial Feb. 2 on charges of evading taxes by hiding more than $1 million in receipts and wages at Healthalicious, a Manhattan restaurant he owned before he was elected to Congress in 2010. Despite the charges, Grimm easily won reelection on Nov. 4, beating Democrat Domenic Recchia 55% to 42%. Grimm said during that campaign that he would resign his seat if a conviction left him "unable to serve." After pleading guility he said that he still could serve. But on Monday he concluded his position was untenable
Grimm's resignation will mean Gov. Cuomo has to call a special election to fill the seat. GOP candidates could include Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and state Sen. Andrew Lanza. Democratic contenders could include former Rep. Michael McMahon and Assemblyman Michael Cusick. [The special election for New York’s 11th congressional district will be held on May 5, 2015].
|Martha McSally (R-AZ) wins last House seat: Dec. 17, 2014|
Republican Martha McSally has finally and officially been declared the winner in a very, very close Congressional race. McSally won by 167 votes, a Superior Court judge announced this morning.
The original vote count was so close — less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the votes — that a recount was required. The first tally after the general election 43 days ago showed McSally winning by 161 votes.
McSally ousted incumbent Ron Barber, a Democrat who served one full term and one partial term after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords resigned to recover from injuries sustained in a Jan. 8, 2011 assassination attempt that left six people dead and both she and Barber severely injured.
This was McSally's third run for Congress in District 2. In 2012, Barber won by 2,454 votes — less than 1 percent of ballots cast.
|Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wins Senate seat: Dec. 6, 2014|
Bill Cassidy has done what Republicans have tried nearly 20 years to accomplish. He's beaten Mary Landrieu to become Louisiana's next United States senator. Cassidy won 56 percent to 44 percent, with all precincts reporting.
A doctor by trade, Cassidy spent most of his professional life working in the LSU charity hospital system. He served in the Louisiana Senate about two years before he was elected to Congress in 2008 over incumbent Democrat Don Cazayoux. He has represented the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District ever since.
Cassidy rode a wave of Republican support that swept the nation during the midterm elections. Voters in Louisiana were angry with President Barack Obama and his policies, particularly the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy used Landrieu's vote for the law against her to motive people to oust her from office. His ads hammered home the message. "She represents Barack Obama. I represent you." "A vote for her is a vote for him." "Remember: Mary Landrieu... Barack Obama... 97 percent."
Landrieu, who has served for three terms, attempted to make the race about her record of delivering for the state, but she couldn't shake the Obama connection. Saturday's election might have brought an end to her political career that began in the Louisiana legislature when she was just 25 years old. The daughter of former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, she has spent her entire life in the public eye as a member of one of the state's most prominent families.
Cassidy's path to victory was due in no small part to his ability to unify the party. The tactic cleared the field for all except one major candidate, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness who ran underneath the Tea Party banner. Maness' votes in the primary likely cost Cassidy a win a month ago. But Maness quickly endorsed Cassidy and appeared with him on the campaign trail. Numerous potential Republican presidential candidates like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal as well as national conservative figures like Sarah Palin stumped for Cassidy at unity rallies in an effort to show voters Republicans of every stripe were committed to Cassidy.
In other Louisiana runoff races, the winners were Ralph Abraham (R-LA-5) and Garret Graves (R-LA-6).
|Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigns: Nov. 24, 2014|
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down from President Barack Obama's Cabinet, following a tenure in which he has struggled to break through the White House's insular foreign policy team.
Hagel is the first senior Obama adviser to leave the administration following the sweeping losses for Obama's party in the midterm elections. It also comes as the president's national security team has been battered by multiple foreign policy crises, include the rise of the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Hagel agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, an administration official said. The official said both Hagel and Obama "determined that it was time for new leadership in the Pentagon," adding that they had been discussing the matter over a period of several weeks.
Hagel is a Republican who served as senator from Nebraska and became a critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Obama nominated him to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary in his second term. Hagel served in the Vietnam War and received two Purple Hearts.
|What's left undecided? Nov. 6, 2014|
When is the election over? Well, actually, there is a concrete answer to that, and it is NOT "When the loser concedes" (details on that after the candidate list!) The answer is, "When the board of elections certifies the final results." That might happen shortly after the close of the polls (by a couple of days; but never as soon as the TV networks say!). The dozen races below are not yet completed -- mostly because they were too close to quickly count.
Sometimes, the losing candidate can request a "recount." Each state defines the rules for that, such as "within 1% difference." Several of the close races below might have recounts -- sometimes state law dictates an automatic recount in very close races. Sometimes the losing candidate is required to pay for the recount, if it's not very close (say, above 1% but below 3% difference).
In two states in the list below (Vermont and Louisiana), there was no winner, because state law requires that the winner exceed 50% of the vote. In most races in those states, the winner DID get over 50%, but in the ones listed below, there will be a "runoff" (details and dates below). Georgia was expected to have a runoff in either the Senate or Governor's race or both, but in both of those races the winner got cleanly over 50%.
So are all the elections over except the ones listed below? Well, you probably watched some TV news network report on Tuesday night their definitive checkmarks next to each winners' name -- but those "projections" are entirely up to the rules of the TV station (see details on TV baloney after the list too!) The ACTUAL official winners are being declared, starting today, based on official counts -- see details in California section below -- but in any race that is not very close, the winner is "projected" by TV networks on Tuesday evening after preliminary counting. Our list below is based on The Los Angeles Times' declarations of "winners." For comparison, see ABC-7 L.A.'s list of "races that are still too close to project": ABC-7 omits the following races: AK-Gov; CA-7; CA-9; CA-16; CA-17; CA-26; CA-31; and MD-6 (i.e., those all have projected winners according to ABC, but not according to the L.A. Times). And ABC-7 would ADD the AZ-1 House race and the CT-Governor race to our list -- in other words, there is no real agreement at all, until the official counts are done later this week!
|Race||Preliminary vote counts|
|Higher preliminary count and percent listed first; * indicates incumbent; click on links for full issue stances|
|AK-Gov||Bill Walker (NPA) 107,395 48.0% Sean Parnell (GOP)* 104,230 46.6% (called for Walker, Nov. 16)|
|AK-Sen||Dan Sullivan (GOP) 110,203 49.0% Mark Begich (Dem) * 102,054 45.3% (called for Sullivan, Nov. 12)|
|AZ-2||Martha McSally (GOP) 94,103 50.3% Ron Barber (Dem) * 92,810 49.7% (called for McSally, Dec. 17)|
|MD-6||John Delaney (Dem) * 89,811 49.6% Daniel Bongino (GOP) 87,708 48.4% (called for Delaney, Nov. 7)|
|NY-25||Louise Slaughter (Dem) * 93,053 50.2% Mark Assini (GOP) 92,471 49.8% (called for Slaughter, Nov. 13)|
|VA-Sen||Mark Warner (Dem) * 1,071,283 49.2% Ed Gillespie (GOP) 1,054,556 48.4% (called for Warner, Nov. 7)|
|WA-4||Dan Newhouse (GOP) 55,600 51.0% Clint Didier (GOP) 53,352 49.0% (called for Newhouse, Nov. 8)|
|CA-7||Doug Ose (GOP) 56,284 51.4% Ami Bera (Dem) * 53,273 48.6% (called for Bera, Nov. 19)|
|CA-9||Jerry McNerney (Dem) * 40,244 51.5% Tony Amador (GOP) 37,847 48.5% (called for McNerney, Nov. 8)|
|CA-16||Johnny Tacherra (GOP) 35,207 50.5% Jim Costa (Dem) * 34,471 49.5% (called for Costa, Nov. 19)|
|CA-17||Mike Honda (Dem) * 44,103 52.3% Ro Khanna (Dem) 40,173 47.7% (called for Honda, Nov. 7)|
|CA-26||Julia Brownley (Dem) * 63,811 50.2% Jeff Gorell (GOP) 63,281 49.8% (called for Brownley, Nov. 14)|
|CA-31||Pete Aguilar (Dem) 40,123 51.0% Paul Chabot (GOP) 38,488 49.0% (called for Aguilar, Nov. 7)|
|CA-52||Carl DeMaio (GOP) 72,431 50.3% Scott Peters (Dem) * 71,679 49.7% (called for Peters, Nov. 8)|
|Vermont election laws specify that when no candidate gets 50% of the vote, that the state legislature decides. That vote will take place in January, when the legislature convenes. The legislature can vote for any candidate, but since the Vermont legislature is majority Democratic and the Democrat won the plurality vote, there is no expectation that anyone other than the incumbent will win.|
|VT-Gov||Peter Shumlin (Dem) * 89,883 46.4% Scott Milne (GOP) 87,788 45.3% Dan Feliciano (Lib) 8,468 4.4%|
|Louisiana election laws specify that when no candidate gets 50% of the vote, a runoff occurs with the top two vote-getters. The runoff vote is scheduled for December 6th. All three of the races will be hotly contested -- with party resources pouring in on both sides.|
|LA-Sen||Mary Landrieu (Dem) * 618,840 42.1% Bill Cassidy (GOP) 602,439 41.0% Rob Maness (GOP) 202,413 13.8% (called for Cassidy, Dec. 6)|
|LA-5||Jamie Mayo (Dem) 67,610 28.2% Ralph Abraham (GOP) 55,487 23.2% Zach Dasher (GOP) 53,627 22.4% Vance McAllister (GOP) * 26,605 11.1% (called for Abraham, Dec. 7)|
|LA-6||Edwin Edwards (Dem) 77,852 30.1% Garret Graves (GOP) 70,706 27.4% Paul Dietzel (GOP) 35,013 13.5% Dan Claitor (GOP) 26,520 10.3% (called for Graves, Dec. 7)|
So what about those well-publicized and well-televised "concession speeches"? At midnight on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Martha Coakley announced that she would not be offering any concession speech, and my friends wondered, "What if a candidate NEVER concedes?" Well, that's meaningless -- the concession speeches have no legal significance whatsoever.
For example, in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, Martha Coakley decided not to give a concession speech until 11 AM Wednesday morning, despite losing by nearly 40,000 votes on Tuesday evening. Her opponent Charlie Baker politely withheld his victory speech, but that was just politeness. If Coakley never gave her concession speech, and regardless of whether Baker "declared victory" or not, the state board of elections would have gone about their business, and declared the actual winner on their own schedule. The mainstream media routinely report irrelevant baloney on this point: in the Massachusetts race, for example, the Boston Globe headline read, "Charlie Baker victorious as Martha Coakley concedes in governor’s race," implying that his victory came BECAUSE of her concession, when the facts are otherwise. That article confidently but wrongly asserts that Baker met with outgoing Governor Deval Patrick "after Coakley officially conceded the race." But there is no such thing as an "official" concession -- Baker could have met with Patrick at any time to discuss the transition -- and there is no requirement to "officially" declare anything!
You'll recall that in the Senate Republican primary in Mississippi over the summer, Chris McDaniel refused to concede for weeks, and sued all the way to the state Supreme Court. His opponent went on campaigning in the general election, and the ballots went on getting printed without McDaniel's name, regardless of the lack of a "concession." So next time you hear about "official" concession speeches, be aware that the mainstream media is simply spouting baloney!
|Newly-elected members of Congress and Governors: Nov. 4, 2014|
The list below include races where any non-incumbent won, which means an outsider got elected.
The list is separated into 3 rows: Governors, Senate, and House; and into 2 columns: Republicans and Democrats.
A linked name means OnTheIssues has set up a page detailing the candidate's issue stances; an unlinked name means we will do so shortly.
Check back in coming days as we fill out the list as final results become known, and in coming weeks as we fill out the issue coverage of every newly-elected outsider.
* Asterisked names indicate those who served previously in the United States House of Representatives
** Double-asterisked names indicate those who won special elections and hence will be sworn in immediately, rather than in January
(D⇒R) and (R⇒D) indicate that the seat changed party control
Click on the newly-elected officials above to see their issue stances; and check back in the coming months as we "freshen" their coverage with their actions in office.