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Senate organization endorsements and resolutions: Oct. 16, 2010

OnTheIssues.org coverage of other political organizations

OnTheIssues.org announces the 2010 Senate organization endorsements and resolutions are posted.

Endorsements These organizations provide endorsements of Senate candidates (and some House and Gubernatorial candidates) based on candidates' issue stances.
DFA Democracy for America (progressive values) 6 candidates
LCV+ The League of Conservation Voters (pro-environment) 29 candidates
Ratings These organizations provide ratings of Senate candidates based on candidates' issue stances.
(Look on incumbent pages for many additional ratings from previous years!)
NRA National Rifle Association (pro-gun rights) 66 candidates
LCV- LCV Dirty Dozen (anti-environment) 12 candidates
Sponsorships These organizations provide documents which candidates choose to sign, on particular issue topics.
ATR "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" by the Americans for Tax Reform 200 candidates
CAGW "No Pork Pledge" by Citizens Against Government Waste 11 candidates
CfG "Repeal It! Pledge" by the Club for Growth 24 candidates

Click on an organization name above to read the summary list for that organization. Click on the links there for details.

More to follow!

Senate debates in progress: Oct. 10, 2010

OnTheIssues.org covers debates in 26 Senate races

OnTheIssues.org announces the 2010 Senate debates are posted. Debate season is hot-and-heavy this week, so stay tuned as we fill in the debate pages as they occur. Each debate link below includes information on upcoming debates which we plan to cover.

For senate races in states which are not listed, voters can infer that at least one of the candidates has refused to debate. Generally, the incumbent refuses to debate, or the frontrunner if there is no incumbent. We at OnTheIssues consider that an affront to democracy, and would strongly recommend voting against any candidate who refuses to debate.

Sometimes public pressure shames the incumbent/frontrunner into debating despite the fact that it helps the challenger. For example, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, NY) has so far refused to debate his Republican opponent, Jay Townsend, since Schumer holds an insurmountably large lead in the polls. Townsend is planning, therefore, to debate a cardboard cutout of Schumer. If the TV stations allow it (for which some have already scheduled airtime), we will cover these "debates" to do our part to shame Schumer into participating.

  -   AK  -   AR  -   AZ  -   CA  -   CT  -   CO  -   DE  -   FL  -  
  -   IA  -   IL  -   IN  -   KS  -   KY  -   MO  -   NC  -   ND  -   NH  -   NV  -   NY  -  
  -   OH  -   OR  -   PA  -   UT  -   WA  -   WI  -   WV  -  

Click on a state name above to read the summary Senate debate page for that state. Click on the links there for detailed excerpts from each debate. Each page lists the future debates we plan to cover, through the end of October.

So stay tuned!

SenateMatch quizzes ready: Oct. 6, 2010

Answer 20 questions and get matched up to every Senate candidates

OnTheIssues.org announces the 2010 SenateMatch quizzes are completed and are now posted online, for all 35 states which have Senate races in 2010. You answer 20 questions on your beliefs on key policy issues, and the SenateMatch quiz matcheS your answers against those of each Senate candidate. Our coverage includes candidates in each of the 35 states with Senate races:

Alabama 2 candidates
Alaska 4 candidates
Arizona 4 candidates
Arkansas 3 candidates
California 4 candidates
Colorado 4 candidates
Connecticut 3 candidates
Delaware 4 candidates
Florida 6 candidates
Georgia 2 candidates
Hawaii 2 candidates
Idaho 2 candidates
Illinois 3 candidates
Indiana 3 candidates
Iowa 2 candidates
Kansas 4 candidates
Kentucky 5 candidates
Louisiana 2 candidates
Maryland 3 candidates
Missouri 2 candidates
Nevada 2 candidates
New Hampshire 4 candidates
New York 5 candidates
North Carolina 3 candidates
North Dakota 2 candidates
Ohio 4 candidates
Oklahoma 1 candidate
Oregon 2 candidates
Pennsylvania 3 candidates
South Carolina 3 candidates
South Dakota 1 candidate
Utah 3 candidates
Vermont 3 candidates
Washington 2 candidates
West Virginia 2 candidates
Wisconsin 2 candidates
Click on a state name above to begin the SenateMatch quiz for that state. When done, you can click directly from the Results page to see how you match up against candidates from other states. It's fun!

Rahm Emanuel resigns as White House Chief of Staff: Oct. 1, 2010

Enters Chicago mayoral race against Sen. Braun, Rep. Jackson, & Rep. Gutierrez.

President Obama announced the resignation of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel reportedly plans to step down in order to run for the mayor of Chicago. Pete Rouse [is] likely to take Emanuel's place as chief of staff.

The Chicago Sun-Times commissioned a poll shortly after Mayor Daley announced he wasn’t seeking re-election, and Emanuel placed fifth with 7 percent. Those topping the poll: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart at 12 percent, state Sen. James Meeks at 10 percent, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez at 9 percent and Jesse Jackson Jr. at 8 percent.

Emanuel announced online Sunday that he's preparing to run, launching a closely watched "listening tour" of the city. [Former presidential contender and former Senator Carol] Moseley Braun has been quietly building support for her mayoral run for weeks.

We can expect a bruising battle in February for the job, and as many as 15 candidates could be on the ballot. The top two vote getters will go to a runoff, and there is a strong chance that Emanuel may not be one of those two.

Sources: WBEZ 91.5 10/1; AP in Chicago Tribune 10/4; The Cap Times (Madison WI) 10/5.
Click for complete records of Former Rep. Rahm Emanuel's issue stances.

Establishment candidate ousted: Sept. 23, 2010

Challenger Christine O'Donnell defeats party favorite Rep. Mike Castle in DE GOP primary; Castle deciding on write-in campaign

Could Rep. Mike Castle (R, DE) pull a Lisa Murkowski? The veteran Delaware congressman indicated yesterday that he hasn't ruled out running as a write-in candidate in the Delaware Senate race after being upset by marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell (R) in last week's primary.

A Castle spokesperson said Thursday that there's a "fraction of a chance" that Castle will run. If Castle does decide to run, he may have a somewhat easier path to the ballot than Murkowski, the Alaska senator who lost her own primary last month to little-known attorney Joe Miller (R) but announced late last week that she would pursue a write-in candidacy.

According to the Delaware Election Commission, all that Castle would have to do in order to officially run as a write-in would be to fill out a form and submit it to the state Elections Commission office no later than 4:30 p.m. on Sep. 30. Write-in candidates' names aren't listed on the ballot, but each polling place is required to post a list of write-in candidates who have declared that they're running.

But as with any write-in candidacy, there would be many logistical obstacles. As in most states, write-in candidates in Delaware have a bleak history: no write-in has ever won state-wide in Delaware. In addition, while Castle has some considerable cash left over from his primary campaign, he would have to struggle against the millions of dollars that O'Donnell has taken in online since her win. Castle would also be lacking a party infrastructure that would boost him with fundraising, TV ads and organizational heft. He also would not have a clear shot at winning Democratic votes -- a necessity for viability -- give that New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) is running a credible race.

A CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll released yesterday showed Coons as a favorite in a head to head matchup with O'Donnell; the Democrat took 55 percent to 39 percent for O'Donnell among likely voters. (If Castle were the Republican nominee, he would be leading Coons 55 percent to 37 percent.) The survey did not test a three-way race among Castle, Coons and O'Donnell.

Source: Felicia Sonmez in Washington Post
Click for issues stances for Senate incumbents and challengers

Senate incumbent ousted: Sept. 1, 2010

Challenger Joe Miller defeats incumbent Lisa Murkowski in AK GOP primary

Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded a hard-fought Senate campaign in the Republican primary Tuesday evening, clearing the way for challenger Joe Miller to face Democrat Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams for the seat held by Alaska’s senior U.S. senator.

Murkowski said she could not envision a scenario in which she could secure the Republican Senate nomination. “And for that reason, and for the good of the State of Alaska, I am now conceding the race for the Republican nomination,” Murkowski said.

When Murkowski’s campaign began she was considered a well-entrenched incumbent, enjoying both high statewide popularity ratings and massive advantages in campaign funding over Miller. She largely campaigned on the strength of her record, including her opposition to the Obama administration and the federal funds she brought to Alaska. But Miller, a self-described Constitutional conservative affiliated with the National Tea Party, ran a hard-right campaign against Murkowski, pointing to her votes with Democrats as proof that she was a RINO -- a Republican in name only -- and questioning her stance on how the Constitution applied to social and funding issues.

Conservative turnout motivated by Ballot Measure 2, a move to require parental notification of teenage daughters’ abortions which narrowly passed Tuesday, may have had a role in unseating Murkowski.

A Miller endorsement from former Gov. Sarah Palin, who became governor in 2006 by defeating the man who appointed Murkowski to the Senate -- her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski -- also could have had an impact on what became a surprisingly close race in its final week.

Source: KTUU News, Anchorage
Click for issues stances for Senate incumbents and challengers

Contract From America: Aug. 28, 2010

Senate and House signatories attempt to recapture Congress

When comparing the 2010 Congressional elections with 1994, pundits cite the "Contract with America". That was a pledge, organized by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, to vote on a list of bills if elected. In 1994, the Contract is widely recognized as a primary reason that the GOP recaptured Congress.

The "Contract FROM America" is an attempt to reproduce that outcome in 2010, loosely under the auspices of the Tea Party movement. The contract is "from" America because it represents what many in the Tea Party movement want. The list below are the signatories, followed by the pledges of the Contract. Click on any candidate to see the details of the each pledge.

    We, the citizens of the United States of America, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items and advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.
  1. Protect the Constitution
  2. Reject Cap & Trade
  3. Demand a Balanced Budget
  4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
  5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government
  6. End Runaway Government Spending
  7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
  8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
  9. Stop the Pork
  10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Source: Contract FROM America website, http://www.TheContract.org/, and OnTheIssues.org
Click for issues stances for Senate incumbents and challengers

Key Senate primaries: Aug. 24, 2010

Senate primaries in Alaska and Arizona

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski fought to save her job Wednesday, locked in a stunningly tight Republican primary race against a political novice backed by Sarah Palin and tea party activists. Murkowski trailed Joe Miller by 1,960 votes out of more than 91,000 counted. Miller is a Gulf War veteran and self-described "constitutional conservative."

The outlook was far brighter for another incumbent, Sen. John McCain, who easily cinched his party's renomination--and likely re-election this fall--by dispatching former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who had tea party support. Rep. Kendrick Meek cruised to the Democratic Senate nod in Florida against a wealthy political newcomer. And a slew of Republican and Democratic members of Congress withstood primary challenges.

Murkowski becomes the seventh incumbent--and fourth Republican--to lose in a year in which the tea party has scored huge victories in GOP Senate primaries and voters have shown a willingness to punish Republicans and a handful of Democrats with ties to Washington and party leadership. The other six are:

Source: Associated Press news service and OnTheIssues.org
Click for all Senate races.

Key Senate primaries: Aug. 10, 2010

Senate primaries in Connecticut and Colorado

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado bucked a national anti-incumbent mood to defeat an insurgent challenge on Tuesday, and a Tea Party-backed conservative narrowly led the establishment favorite in the state's Republican Senate primary. Bennet, who had been endorsed by President Barack Obama, beat liberal former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff to escape the wave of anti-establishment voter anger that knocked off two Senate colleagues earlier this year. Romanoff had been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton.

In the Republican Senate race, former prosecutor Ken Buck rode the backing of conservative "Tea Party" groups to a narrow lead over former Colorado Republican Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton with about three-quarters of precincts reporting. The Colorado Senate races were the highlight of primary voting in four U.S. states. Voters in Connecticut, Georgia and Minnesota also chose candidates to square off in November.

Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon easily won the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut after pouring tens of millions of her own dollars into the race. She beat former Representative Rob Simmons for the right to face Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Source: Reuters news service
Click for all Senate races.

Elaine Kagan confirmed as Supreme Court Justice: Aug. 6, 2010

Kagan sworn in Aug. 7th as replacement for John Paul Stevens

Pres. Obama praised the intellect, humor and public service of the nation's newest incoming Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan, at a White House reception. "This is a good day," Obama told an audience of lawmakers, justices, administration officials and Kagan's supporters and family.

Kagan, 50, a New York native, thanked Obama, vowing to uphold the constitution, and carry out "equal justice under the law," she added, quoting the inscription written in stone at the Supreme Court. "Today, Mr. President, I will simply say to you and to everyone here and across the nation that I will work my hardest and try my best to fulfill these commitments," she said. Her peers on the court have an inkling of what to expect from their newest colleague. Kagan, the first woman to serve as Dean at Harvard Law, served as Obama's solicitor general, arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

Both Obama and Kagan used the occasion to joked about the rigorous confirmation process and the many hands she had to shake as part of the ritual. "After more than 80 one on one meetings and more than 17 hours of testimony, I'd say the Senate got a pretty good look at Elena Kagan," Obama said."I really enjoyed meeting with 83 Senators," Kagan cracked a moment later, drawing chuckles in packed East Room crowd. "But, then again, who's counting?"

She will be sworn in tomorrow as the nation's 112th Supreme Court justice. Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to preside. The Senate voted 63-37 Thursday to confirm Kagan's nomination. She will join Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the high court, marking the first time three women have served together on the court.

Source: Kenneth Bazinet, New York Daily News
Click for complete records of John Paul Stevens's issue stances.

Senate candidate interviews: July 28, 2010

OnTheIssues.org VoteMatch responses from 11 candidates.

    We at OnTheIssues.org ask all candidates for answers to our 20 questions in our VoteMatch quiz. The following Senate candidates have responded in detail. Responding to press inquiries like ours shows a level of openness that augurs well for the candidate in office, regardless of party affiliation.

    Almost always, the incumbent ignores our requests, indicating that they don't want their constituents to know their issue stances. We track their voting records accordingly, and infer their VoteMatch responses based on those. We also collect up public statements and book excerpts, and include those in our VoteMatch quiz results as well.

    Below are the Senate candidates who responded to this year's 20-question quiz so far:

  • Tom Alciere (R, NH)
  • Richard Behney (R, IN; lost primary)
  • Dennis Bradley (V, FL)
  • James Buckmaster (D, KY; lost primary)
  • Ray Clatworthy (R, DE; withdrew)
  • Eric Deaton (C, OH)
  • Daniel Freilich (D, VT)
  • Rudy Garcia (D, AR; lost primary)
  • Jim Holt (R, AR; lost primary)
  • Gail Lightfoot (L, CA)
  • Bob Smith (I, FL; withdrew)
Source: OnTheIssues email interviews with candidates
Click for VoteMatch responses and Senate races.

Sen. Carte Goodwin (D, WV) sworn in: July 20, 2010

Youngest member of Senate replaces Byrd, who at 92 was oldest member of Senate

Carte Goodwin will be sworn in Tuesday afternoon as the new senator from West Virginia, temporarily filling the seat formerly held by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

The Democrat is expected to cast a key vote when the U.S. Senate considers extending unemployment benefits later in the day. A Republican filibuster has prevented Democrats from ending debate on the measure, but with Goodwin's vote and support from two Republicans, Democrats believe they can overcome the GOP maneuver.

Goodwin, a member of a prominent West Virginia family, was appointed by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D). Goodwin, 36, is Manchin's former chief counsel; he will hold the seat until a special election is held. The governor wants general-election voters to decide who will serve the final two years of Byrd's term. The legislature has begun a special session to consider Manchin's proposal.

Goodwin ruled out running for the seat Friday. Manchin has said it's highly likely that he will seek the seat, but he has yet to officially announce his plans.

Source: CNN Political Ticker and Washington PostPolitics
Click for complete records of Sen. Robert Byrd's and Gov. Joe Manchin's and Carte Goodwin's issue stances.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV) dies: June 28, 2010

The "Prince of Pork" and former Ku Klux Klan member

Robert C. Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, was a Senator for 51 years and a member of the House for 9, making him the longest-serving member of the Senate and Congress in U.S. history. He died on June 28, 2010, at the age of 92.

During his three terms in the House and nine terms in the Senate, Mr. Byrd became known as a master of parliamentary procedures and a fierce defender of Congress against the expanding power of the executive branch. He held a number of Senate offices, including majority and minority leader and president pro tem.

But the post that gave him the most satisfaction was chairman of the Appropriations Committee, with its power of the purse — a post he gave up only in 2009 as his health declined. A New Deal Democrat, Mr. Byrd used the position in large part to battle persistent poverty in West Virginia, which he called "one of the rock bottomest of states."

That attention brought the state billions of dollars for highways, federal offices, research institutes and dams. It also won him a reputation as "the prince of pork.''

Mr. Byrd's death came as Senate Democrats were working to pass the final version of the financial overhaul bill and win other procedural battles in the week before the Independence Day recess. In the polarized atmosphere of Washington, President Obama's agenda seemed to hinge on Mr. Byrd's health, just as in the final days of the health care debate, the ailing senator was pushed onto the Senate floor in his plaid wheelchair so he could cast his votes.

Mr. Byrd's political life could be traced to his early involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, an association that almost thwarted his career and clouded it intermittently for years afterward.

His opponents used his Klan membership against him during his first run for the House of Representatives in 1952; Democratic leaders urged him to drop out of the race. But he stayed in and won, then spent decades apologizing for what he called a "sad mistake."

He went on to vote for civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960, but when the more sweeping Civil Rights Act was before Congress in 1964, he filibustered for an entire night against it, saying the measure was an infringement on states' rights. He backed civil rights legislation consistently only after becoming a party leader in the Senate.

Governor Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, will appoint an interim successor to Mr. Byrd.

Source: New York Times Reference File
Click for complete records of Sen. Robert Byrd's and Gov. Joe Manchin's issue stances.

Analysis of House races in November: June 7, 2010

Can the Republicans recapture a House majority?

Many pundits compare the 2010 Congressional elections with 1994, when the GOP recaptured the U.S. House by gaining 54 seats (75 new GOP members were elected; some replaced incumbent Republicans). Is that possible in 2010? We analyze the House races in which there is a viable Republican candidate in districts with open seats or vulnerable incumbents. The list of possible turnover seats is....
Vulnerable Democratic seats Vulnerable Republican seats
AL-7: Artur DavisRunning for Governor
AR-2: Vic SnyderRetiring
AZ-5: Harry MitchellTargeted
AR-1: Marion BerryRetiring
CA-33: Diane WatsonRetiring
CO-4: Betsy MarkeyHot race
FL-8: Alan GraysonTargeted
FL-17: Kendrick MeekRunning for Senate
FL-24: Suzanne KosmasTargeted
HI-1: Neil AbercrombieRunning for Governor
ID-1: Walt MinnickFacing ex-Rep.
IL-14: Bill FosterHot Race
IN-9: Baron HillFacing ex-Rep.
KS-3: Dennis MooreRetiring
LA-3: Charlie MelanconRunning for Senate
MA-10: Bill DelahuntRetiring
MD-1: Frank KratovilFacing State Sen.
MI-1: Bart StupakRetiring
MI-7: Mark SchauerFacing 2 former Reps.
MI-9: Gary C. PetersFacing ex-Nominee
MS-1: Travis ChildersHot Race
NC-8: Larry KissellTargeted
ND-0: Earl PomeroyHot race
NH-1: Carol Shea-PorterTargeted
NH-2: Paul HodesRunning for Senate
NM-2: Harry TeagueFacing Former Rep.
NV-3: Dina TitusTargeted
NY-23: Bill OwensHot race
NY-24: Michael ArcuriHot race
NY-29: Eric MassaTargeted
OH-1: Steven DriehausFacing Former Rep.
OH-15: Mary Jo KilroyTargeted
OH-18: Zack SpaceTargeted
PA-7: Joe SestakRunning for Senate
PA-8: Patrick J. MurphyFacing ex-U.S. Rep.
PA-11: Paul KanjorskiTargeted
TN-6: Bart GordonRetiring
TN-8: John TannerRetiring
TX-17: Chet EdwardsHot race
VA-2: Glenn Nye IIITargeted
VA-5: Tom PerrielloTargeted
WA-3: Brian BairdRetiring
WI-7: David ObeyRetiring
WI-8: Steve KagenTargeted
WV-1: Alan MollohanLost primary
AL-2: Bobby BrightHot race
AR-3: John BoozmanRunning for Senate
AZ-3: John ShadeggRetiring
CA-19: George RadanovichRetiring
CA-44: Ken CalvertHot race
DE-0: Michael CastleRunning for Senate
FL-4: Ginny Brown-WaiteRetiring
FL-12: Adam PutnamRunning for Ag. Cmsn.
FL-21: Lincoln Diaz-BalartRetiring
FL-25: Mario Diaz-BalartRunning in FL-21
GA-7: John LinderRetiring
GA-9: Nathan DealRunning for Governor
IL-10: Mark KirkRunning for Senate
IL-13: Judy BiggertHot race
IN-3: Mark SouderResigned
IN-4: Steve BuyerRetiring
IN-8: Brad EllsworthRunning for Senate
KS-1: Jerry MoranRunning for Senate
KS-4: Todd TiahrtRunning for Senate
LA-2: Joseph Anh CaoTargeted
MI-2: Peter HoekstraRunning for Governor
MN-6: Michele BachmannHot Race
NE-2: Lee TerryHot Race
NJ-5: Scott GarrettHot race
NJ-7: Leonard LanceTargeted
PA-6: Jim GerlachHot race
PA-15: Charlie DentHot race
WA-8: Dave ReichertTargeted
That list comprises 44 vulnerable Democrats and 28 vulnerable Republicans. Let's assume, in an anti-Democrat fit, that the voters choose Republicans in all 28 of the vulnerable Republican races. And then, in an anti-incumbent-party fit, throw out all 44 of the vulnerable Democrats. Even that is not enough to match the 1994 results, where 54 seats changed party.

In 1994, 54 new GOP seats were enough to take over the House majority. The current party count in the House is 254 Democrats to 181 Republicans, a 73-seat majority. Changing an incumbent Democratic seat to Republican in 37 seats would take over the House majority in 2010. The 44 vulnerable Democrats listed above are sufficient, in other words.

As in our Senate analysis below, we list only races where the opposing candidate is viable (although some of the Democratic retirees are in safe Democrat districts). Certainly, in this longer House list, we missed a few which will be upsets. In other words, a GOP takeover of the House is politically possible, not just mathematically possible. But we don't predict a GOP takeover, because there are just too many seats that the GOP would need to win.

Why is that? In 2010, the anti-incumbent fervor seems as strong as in 1994, to be sure. But in 1994, Newt Gingrich engineered the House takeover via a nationwide campaign called The Contract With America. Voters therefore recognized the nationwide importance of their local district races, and candidates stepped up accordingly, and donors donated accordingly, making many more viable challengers. In 2010, the equivalent nationwide campaign is the Tea Party movement. While the Tea Party has succeeded in getting candidates elected in several races, they have not yet matured sufficiently to be able to RECRUIT candidates, as Newt Gingrich did in 1994.

In summary, we predict major Democratic losses in both the House and the Senate, but we just don't see enough viable challengers for the Republicans to take over either chamber.

Source: Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org
Click for issues stances for House incumbents and challengers

Analysis of Senate races in November: May 30, 2010

Can the Republicans recapture a Senate majority?

With Scott Brown's special election in Jan. 2010, the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. (A supermajority of 60 seats out of 100 means that the Republicans could not mount a filibuster to block a bill from passage). Now, with the economy sputtering and the Tea Party rallying from the Brown victory, pundits ponder whether the Democrats will lose their majority in November. The majority party chairs all Senate committees, which means they decide which bills reach the Senate floor, and have final say over the content of the bills too.

Several recent primary elections vouch for the electorate's dissatisfaction with the incumbent Congress: Arlen Specter (D, PA) and Bob Bennett (R, UT) both lost their seats before the general election season even began. The Tea Party scored a second major victory when Rand Paul defeated the party favorite Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R, KY).

But to throw the bums out, there have to be challengers to replace them. Are there enough viable challengers against incumbent Democrats for the Republicans to take over the Senate? From the current 59-41 Democratic majority, the Dems would have to lose 10 seats to Republicans. We analyze here whether that is mathematically and politically possible:

Democratic incumbent or nomineeViable Republican challenger
AR: Sen. Blanche Lincoln vs. Rep. John Boozman
CA: Sen. Barbara Boxer vs. Former Rep. Tom Campbell
CO: Appointee Michael Bennet vs. Lt. Gov. Jane Norton
DE: Appointee Ted Kaufman (retiring) vs. Rep. Michael Castle
IL: Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias vs. Rep. Mark Kirk
IN: Rep. Brad Ellsworth vs. Former Senator Daniel Coats
NY: Appointee Kirsten Gillibrand vs. Former Rep. Joe DioGuardi
ND: State Sen. Tracy Potter vs. Gov. John Hoeven
PA: Rep. Joe Sestak vs. Former Rep. Pat Toomey
WA: Rep. Rob Portman vs. State Sen. Dino Rossi
Republican incumbent or nomineeViable Democratic challenger
FL: Appointee George LeMieux (retiring)
Marco Rubio (R)
vs. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D)
and Gov. Charlie Crist (I)
KY: Dr. Rand Paul vs. Attorney General Jack Conway
LA: Sen. David Vitter vs. Rep. Charles Melancon
MO: Rep. Roy Blunt vs. Sec. of State Robin Carnahan
NH: Attorney General Kelly Ayotte vs. Rep. Paul Hodes
NC: Sen. Richard Burr vs. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall
OH: Rep. Rob Portman vs. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher

There has been a lot of talk about Harry Reid (D, NV) losing his seat -- but there are no viable Republican challengers [Update Oct. 2010: Sharron Angle has become viable -- ed.]. Same for Chuck Schumer (D, NY) -- he's unpopular but there are no Republicans capable of unseating him. Anger against incumbents is healthy for democracy; but to have an effect at the ballot box, there needs to be someone else to vote for.

The bottom line: Republicans must win in all ten of the states we list in the first half, and must also stave off viable Democratic challengers in all seven of the states we list in the second half above. It is possible there will be an upset in a race we did not list above, but that would be front-page-news-level-upset. If the Republicans miss even one of those 17 races, then the Senate is a 50-50 tie with Vice President Joe Biden giving the Dems the majority. In other words, the Republicans have a MATHEMATICAL chance of taking back the Senate, but no POLITICAL chance.

Source: Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org
Click for issues stances for Senate incumbents and challengers

Decisive primaries: May 18, 2010

Critical congressional nominees decided in 3 states.

Source: DcPoliticalReport.com
Click for House races and Senate races.

Decisive primaries: May 4 and 11, 2010

Critical congressional nominees decided in 4 states.

Source: DcPoliticalReport.com
Click for House races and Senate races.

Gov. Charlie Crist switches parties: April 29, 2010

Elected as Republican, runs for Senate as Independent

Gov. Charlie Crist heads to St. Petersburg today to announce that he is snubbing the Republican Party and running for the U.S. Senate as in independent. Florida has never had a third-party or non-party affiliated governor or U.S. senator.

Republican frontrunner Marco Rubio spent the morning thanking supporters while saying a three-candidate race will change nothing in his campaign message and strategy. Rubio quietly registered as a candidate for the Senate in early 2009, when Crist was widely seen as the Republican frontrunner in the race. But today, Crist is a Republican Party pariah and polls show Rubio holds a wide lead in a primary race. ``Today feels like an election day,'' Rubio told volunteers as a gaggle of media surrounded him. But Thursday was ``no celebration,'' he said: ``This is still an election. No one has cast any votes yet.''

Will GOP leaders shun Crist? “I will not be seen anywhere in public with the governor. I will not be participating in anything with the governor,” said House budget chief David Rivera, a Marco Rubio supporter and Miami Congressional candidate.

“He is still the duly-elected governor of the state. He just happens to be a candidate with no party affiliation running for the U.S. Senate. We still have to respect that,” House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala said.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of Florida voters found that in a race against Crist and Meek, Rubio would pull 37 percent, Crist 30 percent and Meek 22 percent. Asked if his campaign started as a David and Goliath bout, Rubio said ``I always remind people that David won.''

Source: Jim Ash, The Tallahassee Democrat; Dara Kam, Palm Beach Post; David Smiley, Miami Herald
Click for issues stances for Gov. Charlie Crist(I), Rep. Kendrick Meek(D), or Speaker Marco Rubio(R)

Justice Stevens replacement speculation: April 21, 2010

Obama to announce replacement for John Paul Stevens

The White House has begun floating trial balloons for candidates President Obama might appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

  • Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears was the first African-American woman to serve as chief justice of any state supreme court.
  • Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sidney Thomas, appointed by President Clinton in 1995.
  • Solicitor General Elena Kagan, The solicitor general's position is sometimes referred to as the "10th justice" because of the importance of the role before the nation's highest court.
  • 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood clerked for liberal Justice Harry Blackmun and was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
  • Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, appointed by Obama, was governor of Arizona and, prior to that, its attorney general.
  • D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland.
  • Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is labeled a "long shot" by her home state newspaper, the Free Press, but her name keeps coming up.
Source: Lisa Keen, Windy City Times
Click for complete records of John Paul Stevens's issue stances.

Justice Stevens to resign: April 9, 2010

John Paul Stevens announces retirement

Justice John Paul Stevens, 89, who served on the high court for a near record breaking 34 years, announced his retirement today, giving President Barack Obama his second chance to name a Supreme Court justice.

The announcement comes 11 days before Stevens' 90th birthday. When he turns 90, Stevens will be only the second Supreme Court Justice to pass such a milestone on the bench.

Stevens wrote in a letter to the president, stating his retirement would be "effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year." The last day of oral arguments is April 28 and the last day of the court will be sometime in the last week of June.

Source: ARIANE de VOGUE, ABC News
Click for complete records of John Paul Stevens's issue stances.

Political Conventions: Apr. 9, 2010

Excerpts from archives speeches and debates.

We cover major political events during the off-season, such as political conventions and major speeches. Often these comprise the early "invisible primary" for positioning for upcoming electoral primaries. We cover five such events for early 2010:

Source: OnTheIssues.org and Speakout.com
Click for our Political Archive.

Gubernatorial races: Apr. 5, 2010

Excerpts from Governors and challengers.

Governor's races are now getting started. Unilke Congress, most governors are term-limited. Our coverage of governors' races starts with previously-elected challengers, including:
GovernorParty / StateChallengers
Bob Riley
Term-limited, 2010
R, AL Rep. Artur Davis (D, AL-7)
Sonny Perdue D, GA Rep. Nathan Deal (R, GA-9)
Former Gov. Roy Barnes (D)
Linda Lingle
Term-limited; Running for Senate
R, HI Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D, HI-1)
Mark Parkinson D, KS Sen. Sam Brownback (R)
Deval PatrickD, MA Christy Mihos (R)
Grace Ross (D)
Dr. Jill Stein (G)
Jennifer Granholm
Term-limited, 2010
D, MI Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R, MI-2)
Former Rep. Joe Schwarz (I, MI-7)
David Paterson
Retiring 2010
D, NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D)
Rep. Rick Lazio (R, NY-2)
Brad Henry D, OK Rep. Mary Fallin (R, OK-5)
Mark Sanford
Term-limited, 2010
R, SC Rep. Gresham Barrett (R, SC-3)
Jennifer Granholm
Term-limited, 2010
D, MI Rep. Zach Wamp (R, TN-3)

Source: OnTheIssues.org and DcPoliticalReport.com
Click for Governor's list by state.

State of the State speeches: Apr. 1, 2010

Excerpts from
Governors' State of the State speeches.

Throughout the early months of 2010, Governors delivered their annual State of the State addresses to their respective state legislatures. See Feb. 3 entry below for early speeches; Our final round of coverage includes governors who delivered the speech in February, including:
Phil BredesenTennesseeFeb. 1
Dave FreudenthalTennesseeFeb. 8
Ed RendellPennsylvaniaFeb. 9
Jim GibbonsNevadaFeb. 8
Tim PawlentyMinnesotaFeb. 11

Source: OnTheIssues.org and speech transcripts
Click for excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.

Interviews of U.S. Senate candidates: March 29, 2010

Races for the 112th Senate.

Our 2010 Senate race coverage expands this week to include candidate interviews. This adds a third round of candidates to the first two rounds (listed below March 15 and Jan. 9).
StateSenate ChallengerParty & Position
AZRudy GarciaDemocratic challenger; formerly Mayor
CTRichard BlumenthalRepublican challenger; currently Attorney General
FLBob SmithRepublican challenger; formerly NH Senator
FLDennis BradleyVeterans Party challenger
NCCal CunninghamDemocratic challenger; formerly State Senator
NHTom AlciereRepublican challenger; formerly State Rep
OHEric DeatonConstitution Party challenger
SCMullins McLeodDemocratic challenger
SDNancy Turbak BerryDemocratic challenger; currently State Senator
Some late additions to the 'previous officeholder' list:
INDaniel CoatsRepublican challenger; former US Senator (until 1998)
UTMerrill CookRepublican challenger; former US Rep.
We have requested that all candidates answer our 20-question VoteMatch quiz. Stay tuned for more responses!

Source: Speakout.com and candidate campaign websites
Click for complete details of VoteMatch candidate interviews.

Key vote on healthcare reform: March 21, 2010

Final Healthcare bill in US House

OnTheIssues.org opens our coverage of healthcare reform with an attempt at clarifying the contents of the healthcare bill. This bill is by far the most significant political legislation of the current Congress. Discussions about healthcare reform gave rise to the Tea Party movement, as part of Town Hall protests in August 2009. Blocking this legislation in the Senate (by creating a 41st vote against its passage) is credited with the upset victory of Scott Brown (R, MA). Pres. Obama has declared this legislation core to his presidency, and it will likely be a decisive factor in many 2010 House and Senate races.

Yet few people know exactly what the bill contains. This is partly because the bill is several thousand pages long; partly because the level of rhetoric on both sides is so high; and partly because legislation is inherently messy (which is why OnTheIssues.org does not report on bills until votes actually occur).

We plan to report on this bill in its entirety over the coming months, including its content and candidate commentary. To get started, we link to the contents of the bill itself. That, too, has become controversial, with Pres. Obama promising to post on the Internet the full contents, but many commentators unable to find the final text. Our opening salvo:

OnTheIssues will read and summarize the 3,754-page documents in the coming months, including candidate commentary. We recognize that even just reading (or identifying!) the legislation is confusing, and numerous commentators have claimed that is a Democratic trick to avoid public scrutiny. We ascribe the confusion to legislators' inability to speak normal English, having been rendered incapable of understandable language by writing as lawyers and legislators for too long. In other words, we believe that the Democrats are not INTENTIONALLY hiding this bill or its votes from the public, but instead just don't know how to communicate normally anymore. Hence we will do so instead. Stay tuned!
Source: Speakout.com and thomas.loc.gov.
Click for complete records of past Health Care legislation.

Coverage of U.S. Senate races: March 15, 2010

Races for the 112th Senate.

Our 2010 Senate race coverage expands this week with a second round of candidate pages. The first round (see Jan. 9 below) included new Senate pages for candidates who already had OnTheIssues.org pages, either from a House or Governor position, or a previous Senate challenge. This second round includes new challengers who are added to the OnTheIssues.org pages for the first time. We will expand their coverage during the course of the Senate race to attempt to answer all 20 SenateMatch questions, so that you can compare your views with theirs, using our 20-question Quiz.

The list of candidates is always changing, so there will be a third round of additional candidates, and perhaps a fourth. Some candidates have already dropped out of the race -- Beau Biden of Delaware (Vice President Joe Biden's son) announced his withdrawal on Jan. 25 (hence opening the field to several new Democratic challengers, whom we will cover in the next round). On Feb. 2, the Senate primary was held in Illinois: Mark Kirk knocked out Andy Martin on the GOP side (we had covered both). Alexi Giannoulias won the Democratic primary, and we add his page below. We will cover all future changes as the race progresses!
StateSenate ChallengerParty & Position
CACarly FiorinaRepublican
COJane NortonRepublican; formerly Lt. Gov.
FLMarco RubioRepublican
ILAlexi GiannouliasDemocratic; currently State Treasurer
KYJack ConwayDemocratic; currently Attorney General
KYJames BuckmasterDemocrat
MORobin CarnahanDemocratic; currently Secretary of State
NDJohn HoevenRepublican; currently Governor
NHJim BenderRepublican
NHKelly AyotteRepublican; formerly Attorney General
OHJennifer BrunnerDemocratic; currently Secretary of State
OHLee FisherDemocratic; currently Lt. Gov.

Source: OnTheIssues.org
Click for status of members of the 111th Senate.

Rep. Diaz-Balart to run for brother's seat: March 1, 2010

Click for coverage of Congressional races

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R, FL-21) previously announced his retirement. His brother who is also in Congress, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R, FL-25) announced today that he would run for his brother's seat instead of his own. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D, RI-1) also announced his retirement this weekend, ending the Kennedy family political legacy.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for coverage of 111th Congress

Coverage of U.S. House races: Feb. 13, 2010

Races for the 112th Congress.

All 435 members of Congress are up for election in 2010. Following is a list of issue stances of some of their challengers.

DistrictChallenger for 112th Congress
HI-1 Former Rep. Ed Case (D)
ID-1 Former Rep. Bill Sali (R)
IN-9 Former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R)
MD-1 State Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R)
MI-9 Former Senate Nominee Rocky Raczkowski (R)
NH-2 Former Rep. Charlie Bass (R)
NM-2 Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R)
OH-1 Former Rep. Steve Chabot (R)
Challengers in "hot races" (targeted by one party, or open seats) are listed with each incumbent. Other challengers may request a page by writing to us at submit@ontheissues.org.
Source: OnTheIssues.org
Click for status of members of the 111th Congress.

Rep. John Murtha (D, PA-12) dies: Feb. 8, 2010

Special election to be scheduled in May 2010

Rep. Murtha was hospitalized with gallbladder problems in December 2009, and had surgery January 28 at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Murtha's large intestine was damaged during the normally routine laparoscopic surgery, causing an infection. Due to the complication, Murtha was again hospitalized two days later, and died on the afternoon of February 8, 2010, in the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia with his family by his side.

 Special Elections in 2010
Jan. 3
Rep. Robert Wexler (D) Resigned to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace & Economic Cooperation. A special election will be held after April 13, 2010.
Jan. 19
Sen. Scott Brown (R) Special election to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy (D). Sen. Brown will serve until the election in November 2012.
Feb. 8
Rep. John Murtha (D) Died. A special election will be held on a date to be determined, possibly in May 2010.
Feb. 28
Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) Will resign to focus on run for Governor of Hawaii. A special election will be held on a date to be determined, possibly in May 2010.
Nov. 2
Sen. Roland Burris (D) The appointment lasts only until the November 2, 2010 special election. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the term that expires January 3, 2011.
Nov. 2
Sen. Ted Kaufman (D) The appointment lasts only until the November 2, 2010 special election, in which he is not a candidate. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the term that expires January 3, 2015.
Source: Speakout.com and Wikipedia.com.
Click for complete records of Rep. John Murtha's issue stances & voting record.

State of the State speeches: Feb. 3, 2010

Excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.

Throughout January and February, Governors will deliver their annual State of the State addresses to their respective state legislatures. Our first round of coverage includes governors who delivered the speech in January; we'll do another round after the later speeches are delivered. This first round includes:
Sean ParnellAlaska1/20
Jan BrewerArizona1/11
Arnold SchwarzeneggerCalifornia1/6
Sonny PerdueGeorgia1/13
Pat QuinnIllinois1/13
Mark ParkinsonKansas1/11
Deval PatrickMassachusetts1/21
Bill RichardsonNew Mexico1/19
David PatersonNew York1/6
Brad HenryOklahoma2/1
Donald CarcieriRhode Island1/26
Mark SanfordSouth Carolina1/20
Gary HerbertUtah1/26
Bob McDonnellVirginia1/18

Source: OnTheIssues.org and speech transcripts
Click for excerpts from Governors' State of the State speeches.

Obama Q&A at GOP House Retreat: Jan. 29, 2010

Click for Q+A from Republican members of Congress

President Obama attended the House Republican Retreat in Baltimore, and took questions from some Republican House members in attendance. The Republican Retreat is an annual event where the Republican Caucus meets to plan their Congressional agenda for the year. Since this year's Retreat occurred shortly after the State of the Union address, most of the questions responded to Pres. Obama's comments during that speech.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for excerpts from the 2010 GOP House Retreat

State of the Union speech: Jan. 27, 2010

Excerpts from Obama's speech and the GOP response, plus analysis.

This was Pres. Obama's first formal State of the Union speech -- his 2009 address to a joint session of Congress was popularly called the "State of the Union" address, but that speech was not constitutionally required of an incoming president.

Pres. Obama used this speech to summarize his first year in office, and focused on the economic woes of the deep recession as well as the cynicism in the electorate resulting from those woes. The cynicism was expressed most dramatically by the election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, which is usually a "safe" Democratic seat. The special election to replace Ted Kennedy happened to be held one week prior to the State of the Union speech, and Senator-Elect Brown was alluded to by Pres. Obama, and cited by name in the Republican response. Brown's election makes passage of Obama's healthcare reform much more difficult, and indicates that the public is dissatisfied with how the Congress has ignored the voice of the people on this issue and others.

Obama's remedy for public cynicism is to call for a reduction in partisanship. However, he then points out that the Democrats still have a large majority in the Senate (59-41 even with Brown) and that they need to get healthcare done, i.e., without Republican input. Obama then calls for Republicans to join in the healthcare process and calls for their input -- implying that they have not offered any constructive suggestions. In the Republican response, the Governor of Virginia lays out the two standard Republican ideas on healthcare reform: allowing cross-state insurance purchasing, and tort reform. Indeed, the Republicans have been pushing those ideas for years -- and if Obama truly cared about Republican input, he would call for those two ideas to be included in the healthcare reform bill. Obama instead sounds partisan -- both on healthcare and on cynicism -- despite his call for a reduction in partisanship.

Source: OnTheIssues.org and speech transcripts from WhiteHouse.gov
Click for excerpts from Obama's State of the Union speech and the GOP response or Senator-Elect Scott Brown's issue stances.

Scott Brown wins: Jan. 21, 2010

41st Republican vote in the Senate

Scott Brown did manage to defeat Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, pulling off the largest political upset in years. Defeating the Democratic healthcare bill was a major part of his platform, and certainly the issue spotlighted by Democrats and Republicans alike as the greatest reason why the Massachusetts race mattered. Brown’s victory bodes well for the GOP, looking to capitalize on voter frustration over the healthcare debate and other priorities of the Obama Administration in the 2010 midterm elections. If a Republican could win a Senate seat in Massachusetts for the first time in four decades by lambasting Democratic healthcare reform efforts, then there is a distinct possibility that the GOP will make major gains, if not win an outright majority, at the next polls.

Source: Matt Cavedon, Frum Forum
Click for issue stances frmo Attorney General Martha Coakley or State Senator Scott Brown.

Massachusetts Senate Election Prediction: Jan. 17, 2010

Answer 20 questions and get matched to special election candidates

OnTheIssues.org completes our coverage of the Massachusetts special election with a prediction based on coverage of the general election debates. The debate coverage includes issue stances on all hot topics from all three candidates.

Our election prediction is that Attorney General Martha Coakley will eke out a narrow victory due entirely to the "Democratic Machine" in places like Boston. State Senator Scott Brown and the Republican Party nationwide will justifiably declare moral victory because the vote was a referendum on the lack of public input in healthcare reform. Both sides will claim that this election foretells their own victory in the Congressional races in November.

Source: Speakout.com
Click for 2009 MA Senate VoteMatch Quiz or click for more detailed prediction and coverage of the general election debates.

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