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No Apology
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2012 Election Coverage
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The incumbents...
Incumbent 112th Senate
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Preliminary House results: Nov. 12, 2012

Democrats gain a few seats; GOP maintains majority

The Republicans held control of the U.S. House 240-190 before the election; the Democrats had a net gain of about 5 seats, so the 113th Senate, starting in January 2013, will still be controlled by the Republicans. (OnTheIssues predicted a net gain of 7 seats for the Democrats). The exact number is still not yet known because of several ongoing recounts; and the 3rd Louisiana House district will conduct a Dec. 8 runoff election.

The table below indicates, by category, the number of seats that changed hands in this election (with asterisks* indicating the races still undecided at this time).

Counts by category: Democratic gains Republican gains Commentary
Electoral takeovers: (Incumbent ran and lost to the opposing party) +18: CA-7, CA-36, CA-52, FL-18, FL-26, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17, MD-6, MN=8, NH-1, NH-2, NY-18, NY-25, OH-3, TX-23 +6: AR-4, CA-8, CA-21, FL-3, IN-2, NC-13, OK-2, PA-4 This is a strong showing for the Democrats -- these are the hardest seats to win, since the incumbent is defending an existing seat. This category indicates that overall, this election shows the country agrees more with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party in 2012.
Redistricting gains: (New seats due to 2010 census) +3: AZ-9*, FL-22, NV-4 +7: AR-4, CA-8, CA-21, FL-3, IN-2, NC-13, OK-2, PA-4 This category indicates that demographics are shifting towards the Republicans -- i.e., red states are gaining population relative to blue states, and hence there are more GOP districts. Many of the "open seats" in the next category were open partly because of redistricting also -- many incumbents faced an election battle and hence retired -- so redistricting effects are even more widespread than directly indicated.
Open seat takeovers: (Incumbent retired, but newly elected member is of the opposing party) +5: AZ-1, CA-26, CA-29, CA-41, FL-9 +8: GA-9, IA-8, MO-3, SC-7, TX-33, TX-34, TX-36, UT-2 In a typical election, the party of the retiring incumbent strongly favors that the successor is of the same party. That did not happen in 2012. Some of these changes indicate a demographic switch, and some indicate a more partisan electorate.
Retentions: (Incumbent retired, and newly elected member is of the same party) 19: AZ-8*, CA-2, CA-5, CA-47, CA-51*, HI-2, IL-12, MA-4, MI-5, NV-1, NJ-10, NY-5, NY-10, PA-17, TX-16, TX-20, WA-1, WA-6, WI-2 16: AZ-5, CA-1, FL-6, FL-19, IL-15, IN-5, IN-6, KY-4, MO-2, MT-0, NC-9, ND-0, OH-2, OH-14, OK-1, TX-14 This is what normally happens when an incumbent retires: a replacement wins from the same party. These districts are all new faces in the U.S. House but do not affect the party balance.
Totals: +26 new Democrats
plus 19 replacement Democrats
+21 new Republicans
plus 16 replacement Republicans
Net change is about +5 Democrats
with 82 new members regardless of party.

Is this a Democratic "mandate"? No, not quite -- maybe more of a "message" about hyper-partisanship. The Democrats needed 25 seats to win control of the House -- THAT would have been a mandate! Even if all of the redistricting changes are ignored -- and we assume that all open seat takeovers were due to demographic changes from redistricting -- the Democrats would still have gained only 12 seats -- not nearly enough to take over control of the House.

Overall we will see about 82 new faces in the U.S. House of Representatives (we'll report the exact number, and rework our House member list, when the final tallies are completed). But it's not actually 82 NEW faces, because 4 of the incoming "freshmen" have been in the U.S. House before! They were re-elected after having been out of Congress, usually returning by taking advantage of some redistricting changes. They are:

Those four did not have it easy -- three other former U.S. House members ran again and lost in either the primaries or the general election. See our full House page for details....

Click for detailed House prediction or House results for the new 113th Senate

Gubernatorial results: Nov. 9, 2012

5 new governors; 6 re-elected

The recounts are completed for all 11 gubernatorial elections that took place on Election Day:

  • Five new governors were elected; six incumbent governors were re-elected.
  • In all 5 cases of newly-elected governors, the elections were open seats -- 3 retirements and 2 term-limited governors -- so no incumbents were ousted.
  • In only one case did the party change hands -- NC, from Democrat to Republican.
  • Links to each new governor below; we'll be filling in the newly-elected governors' issue stances this week.

State  Newly-elected GovernorOutgoing Governor
IN Mike Pence (R) Mitch Daniels (R)
NC Pat McCrory (R) Bev Perdue (D)
NH Maggie Hassan (D) John Lynch (D)
MT Steve Bullock (D) Brian Schweitzer (D)
WA Jay Inslee (D) Christine Gregoire (D)
State    Re-elected Governor
DE Jack Markell (D)
MO Jay Nixon (D)
ND Jack Dalrymple (R)
UT Gary Herbert (R)
VT Peter Shumlin (D)
WV Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

Click for all governors

Final Senate results: Nov. 8, 2012

Democrats maintain control of Senate, 52-48

The Democrats held control of the U.S. Senate 53-47 before the election; the Democrats had a net gain of one or two seats, so the 113th Senate, starting in January 2013, will still be controlled by the Democrats, 55-45.

Senator-Elect Angus King (I-ME) has not stated with which party he will caucus; if he decides on the Republican Party, that would reduce the Democratic majority to 54-46 but would not change majority control. Majority control determines which party chairs each Senate committee, and hence which bills get debated on the Senate floor.

OnTheIssues predicted a Democratic majority of 50-50 (with V.P. Joe Biden casting the majority vote for the Democrats; we predicted the Presidential race correctly also). We were wrong in our prediction of 7 Senate races -- but right in 26 out of the 33 Senate races (a rate of 79% correct!), and right in predicting the Senate majority. Mostly, we over-predicted the number of Republican takeovers. The Republican Senate candidates did not do nearly as well as expected; hence the Democrats held on to many seats. Our prediction compared to actual results:

    OnTheIssues Senate prediction:
  • 3 Democratic takeovers
  • 17 Democratic retentions
  • 6 Republican takeovers
  • 7 Republican retentions
    Senate election results:
  • 3 Democratic takeovers
  • 22 Democratic retentions
  • 1 Republican takeover
  • 7 Republican retentions
Some of the interesting races, including all of those we predicted wrong, follow:
StateParty ResultElection WinnerElection Loser
AZ Republican retentionJeff FlakeRichard Carmona
CT Democratic retentionChris MurphyLinda McMahon
FL Democratic retentionBill NelsonConnie Mack IV
IN Democratic takeoverJoe DonnellyRichard Mourdock
MT Democratic retentionJon TesterDenny Rehberg
NE Republican takeoverDeb FischerBob Kerrey
NM Democratic retentionMartin HeinrichHeather Wilson
WI Democratic retentionTammy BaldwinTommy Thompson

One Governor's race and several House races are still to be decided as of today; we will report on those results when they are known.

Click for detailed Senate prediction & results or Senators in new 113th Senate

Presidential prediction: Nov. 3, 2012

OnTheIssues predicts Obama 279 to Romney 259

OnTheIssues.org predicts that President Obama will win re-election by an electoral margin of 279-259. We predict that the popular vote will be much closer, with Romney holding Obama to under 50% of the popular vote. Hence we predict that the pundits will claim that the third party candidates acted as "spoilers" in this race. This map summarizes our prediction, or click for state-by-state prediction.

We read hundreds of polls over the last several months, and we see that the mainstream media mostly ignores the Electoral College, reporting instead on the popular vote. In the presidential election, the electoral vote is all that matters. Note that our map shows Romney overwhelmingly winning a geographic victory; but that same map says that Obama wins the electoral victory!

We base our prediction on Obama's state-by-state victories in 2008, modified by the redistricting changes due to the 2010 census, and then further modified by several special considerations, including:

  • IN, NC, and NE: There were three states that Obama won in 2008 without a majority: in IN, NC, and NE. Because the Third Party candidates are stronger in 2012 than in previous elections, we assume they will turn those states to Romney, reducing Obama to 332 electoral votes.

  • WI: Paul Ryan hails from Wisconsin, which Obama won in 2008; Ryan is popular in his home state, so we award the 10 WI electoral votes to Romney.

  • FL: Seniors will overwhelmingly vote against Ryan due to his Medicare plans.

  • OH and MI: Romney has been struggling to make the case that he supported the Detroit automakers during the Great Recession, but he hasn't made enough of a case to persuade the middle class.
In summary, OnTheIssues recommends what to watch for on Election Night TV coverage:
  • You can get an early preview when the polls close for NH and VA at 7 PM EST -- if Obama takes those states (we predict them for Romney), it means a landslide for Obama.
  • If not, then keep your eye on Florida, Ohio, and Michigan -- all three of which have their polls close by 9 PM EST.
  • So turn on your TV at 9:15 and look at the results from those three states and we predict you'll know the next president.
  • If Romney wins any of those three, Obama must win several of the other battleground states, or it'll be a Romney landslide.
  • If, as we predict, Obama wins all three, the rest of the battleground states won't matter!

Click for detailed electoral prediction

House prediction: Oct. 28, 2012

OnTheIssues predicts Republican majority 235-200

OnTheIssues predicts the Democrats will gain 7 House seats, leaving control of the United States House of Representatives in Republican hands, 235-200. Our evidence is laid out below.

So why do the Democratic pundits claim that they can gain the 25 seats necessary for their party to gain control of the House? For example, the Kansas City Star on Oct. 24, 2012, cites a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesperson saying "The Republican majority is in jeopardy," and expressing that he is "confident that his party can buck the odds and pick up the 25 seats needed to regain control of the House of Representatives." Let's look at the sort of evidence they present, starting with the current party split -- a large Republican majority -- of 242R-193D.

OnTheIssues conducted a "vulnerability analysis" which found 26 vulnerable Republican incumbents. If all of them lose, the Democrats would gain the House majority -- it would result in a House split with a slight Democratic majority, 217R-218D.

But of course that's only a half-truth, because some Democrats are vulnerable also. Our same analysis for vulnerable Democrats knocks down the Dems' hopes to a weaker Republican majority, 230R-205D.

But it's even worse than that, due to redistricting. The 2010 census takes effect in this House election -- and will cost the Democrats another 6 seats. Some special considerations reduce that by one loss, making our final prediction 235R-200D.

OnTheIssues does not claim to be prognosticators -- but we do claim to have real substantiation for our prediction, especially when compared to the hocus-pocus of other pundits. Our vulnerability analysis has worked to identify incumbents in our local State House who have been ousted; the redistricting analysis is complicated but accurate. We would be very shocked if the Democrats do better than 230R-205D or if the Republicans do any better than 240R-195D. More extreme results than that would indicate a "landslide mandate" for one party over the other.

Click for detailed U.S. House prediction
or click for U.S. House vulnerability analysis
or click for detailed U.S. House races

Romney and Obama Third and final Debate: Oct. 22, 2012

At Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida

    Third and final Presidential debate, Oct. 22, 2012:
  • Held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
  • Moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.
  • Sponsored by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.
  • 90 minutes on foreign policy topics.
  • "Democracy Now!" aired a live commentary called Expanding the Debate, including two 3rd-party candidates, the Green Party's Jill Stein and the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson; focusing on how Obama and Romney agree on the Afghan War and other foreign policies.

  • Commentary:
  • This debate was intended to stick to foreign policy, but the candidates often brought the topic back to domestic policy, despite the efforts of the moderator to stay on topic.
  • Any president has an inherent advantage when debating foreign policy topics, because the president has been immersed in foreign policy for four years, while the challenger mostly just reads about foreign affairs in the newspapers -- especially so this year because Romney has never served in the Senate.
  • Romney prepared heavily for this debate, and sounded like he had prepared heavily for this debate -- reciting esoteric facts about Mali and Pashtuns -- often sounding like a novice student who is excited at just having learned a new field. Romney sounded more comfortable and experienced when discussing the more standard topics such as China, Iran, Syria, and Libya. Overall, Romney accomplished his goal of not sounding like he would march the United States off to war.
  • Romney presented a much more cautious viewpoint than in the past -- definitively stating that he would not send ground troops to Syria nor Iran, contrasting his past much more belligerent statements on those same countries (which Obama pointed out were a shift towards his own positions). Romney remained belligerent towards China (saying we're in a trade war already) and Russia (saying they are still a geopolitiical foe).
  • Romney did make a couple of flubs, such as describing "crippling sanctions" against Iran as "peaceful dissuasion" against developing nuclear weapons. In fact, economic sanctions are an act of war under international law (they must be enforced by a navy, usually). And he head-scratchingly described Syria as Iran's "route to the sea," evidently not having been briefed on Iran's 800-mile coastline on the Persian Gulf and 300 miles on the Indian Ocean (that was RUSSIA who worried about a route to the sea, not IRAN). And Romney's attitude towards Russia sounded like he was still in the Cold War, but most of Europe feels that he is anyway.
  • Obama and Romney do not differ dramatically on foreign policy stances, judging by this debate. That will displease partisans on both sides -- but particularly Obama's progressive supporters. Absent was any discussion of closing Guantanamo; of reducing collateral damage of drone strikes; or of actually REDUCING the military budget as opposed to just reducing its growth rate. Those topics were addressed only in the Third Party debate -- another argument why third party candidates should be included in the main debates.
  • But in summary, Romney held his own in a forum in which Obama could have dominated Romney on the issues. Obama still "won" the debate, as expected, but it was not a crushing victory. At issue is whether Obama "won" by enough to reverse Romney's previous momentum -- the election is now just two weeks away!
Sources: OnTheIssues archives

Romney and Obama Second Debate: Oct. 16, 2012

At Hofstra University, Long Island, New York

    Second Presidential debate, Oct. 16, 2012:
  • Held at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York.
  • Moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN.
  • Sponsored by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.
  • 90 minutes on domestic issues in Town Hall format.

  • "Democracy Now!" aired a live commentary called Expanding the Debate, including three 3rd-party candidates, the Constitution Party's Virgil Goode, the Green Party's Jill Stein and the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson.

  • Commentary: Obama recuperated in this second debate after Romney "won" the first debate.
  • On the issues, Obama responded to all of Romney's key points, but Romney managed to connect to the audience, addressing his most significant weakness.
  • The pundits and talkshows all focused on just two non-issues (as usual). Both of these "issues," we predict, will be ignored in a week, and forgotten in a month:
  • Romney said he had "binders full of women" when he attempted to gender-balance his gubernatorial cabinet. He meant "binders full of women's résumés," which was obvious in the full context, but the mainstream media played and replayed the excerpt out of context.
  • Romney noted that his cabinet and his adminstration were nationally recognized as leaders in gender-balance, but that was forgotten in the wake of the replayed out-of-context phrase. Romney also neglected to mention that his running-mate, Kerry Healey, was also female (she served as Lieutenant Governor and then ran for Governor in 2004 and lost to Deval Patrick; Romney legitimately did push gender balance, and deserves recognition for it, binders full of women or not.
  • Romney's second gaffe was pushing Obama on whether he referred to the attack on 9/11/2012 which killed the American ambassador to Libya as an "act of terror." Obama asserted that he did refer to it as an "act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech on 9/12/2012, and Romney pushed hard to get Obama to say that "on the record," i.e., Romney thought Obama had the facts wrong. The moderator pointed out that Romney had the facts wrong.
  • Romney was correct in pointing out that Obama downplayed the terrorism aspects while focusing on the surrounding riots protesting a video demeaning the prophet Mohammed. But Romney's point was lost because of the hyperfocus on what exactly Obama said on 9/12/2012.
  • Romney was prepared poorly for that point -- his staff should have researched the original statement and Romney should not have pushed the point so hard without the proper research in advance. But Romney's lack of preparation is not what the talkshows talk about -- they get caught up in the buzz about fact-checking Candy Crowley -- so enjoy the buzz but recognize its meaninglessness.
Sources: OnTheIssues archives

Biden and Ryan Debate: Oct. 11, 2012

Vice Presidential debate in Kentucky

    Vice Presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2012:
  • Held in Danville, Kentucky, at Centre College
  • Moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News
  • Sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (a private bipartisan group which excludes third party candidates from debates)

  • Commentary:
  • Biden sure smiles a lot. And laughs a lot. And interrupts a lot.
  • And Ryan sure succeeded at looking vice-presidential by NOT smiling too much and NOT laughing too much and NOT interrupting too much.
  • Biden did fine on the issues -- he responded well to all of Ryan's points, and embarrassed Ryan by forcing him to admit that there was no Romney-Ryan plan to balance the budget (Romney & Ryan say they will cut spending without raising taxes, by closing loopholes, but Obama & Biden say there are not enough loopholes to do that, and choosing any loopholes is politically challenging. Ryan's response was to claim, as Romney did, that a Reagan-Tip-O'Neill-like discussion will take place to determine which loophooles to close).
  • Perhaps if one reads the transcript one would accept Biden's argument. But watching the vice president of the United States show off his dental whitening and chuckle repeatedly at a subordinate politician turned off most viewers to listening to Biden's content at all.
  • The mainstream media calls this one a "draw." We call a "draw" against an incumbent vice president a victory for his challenger.
Sources: OnTheIssues excerpts from V.P. debate

Romney and Obama First Debate: Oct. 3, 2012

In Denver Colorado

    First Presidential debate, Oct. 3, 2012:
  • Held at Magness Arena at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado.
  • Hosted by Jim Lehrer of the "PBS NewsHour"
  • Sponsored by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.
  • 90 minutes on domestic issues in six segments:
  • Three on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government and governing.

  • Since third-party canddates are excluded by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, "Democracy Now!" aired a live commentary called Expanding the Debate, including two 3rd-party candidates, the Green Party's Jil Stein and the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson.

  • Commentary: The mainstream media widely viewed Romney as having "won" this first debate. Obama several times seemed disengaged, and certainly not up to his usual level of passion.
  • On the issues, however, Obama did respond to all of Romney's key points. Obama's lack of passion and engagement seems to have come from lack of preparedness. I.e., Obama was not ready to respond to Romney's views.
  • Another way to view this debate is that Romney changed several of his key issue stances just for this debate -- he finally implemented the "Etch-a-Sketch" plan which was so much the focus of the mainstream media during the summer campaign. Some examples of key issue changes:
  • Romney formerly pushed for tax breaks for job creators and now says he will not reduce high-income tax rates.
  • Romney formerly pushed for trillions of dollars in reduced spending and now says he will not have any deficit spending, despite the tax cuts.
  • Romney says he will accomplish the above by closing tax loopholes, but has not (and it sounds like he will not) identified the loopholes in question. He matches that with a process description for how to decide spending cuts -- he will sit down with Congressional Democrats -- so far the only identified cut is PBS' "Big Bird" (which became the tag line of this debate).
  • Romney has now adopted Paul Ryan's plan to allow opt-outs of Medicare (known to opponents as the "voucher plan").
  • Most people expected Romney to modify his stances for the general election -- but there is a risk to doing so in October. Obama will respond more effectively to Romney's new stances in the next debate -- likely with passion and engagement. And in addition, Obama will be able to point to the "Etch-a-Sketch" changes themselves for political benefit.
  • In summary, Romney won this debate -- and gained several points in the polls -- but at the expense of making his task harder in the subsequent debates.
Sources: OnTheIssues archives

Senate race prediction: Oct. 1, 2012

OnTheIssues predicts: Republicans gain 3 seats

Following are the OnTheIssues predictions for each Senate race nationwide. 33 Senate seats (out of 100) are up for election in 2012, but 23 of those seats are currently held by Democrats and 10 by Republicans. That means the Democrats have more to lose in 2012 -- but the Dems also hold the majority in the Senate, 53-47.

To gain control of the Senate, the Republicans must gain 4 seats. We arrange the chart below based on which Senate seats we predict will stay in the same party and which will change hands:

StatePredictionPredicted WinnerPredicted Loser
AZ Democratic takeoverRichard CarmonaJeff Flake
CA Democratic retentionDianne FeinsteinElizabeth Emken
CT Republican takeoverLinda McMahonChris Murphy
I drive throughout Connecticut for my daily business, and I see a dozen "Linda" signs every hour, in every corner of the state, whereas seeing one Murphy sign per day is a lot. While signs don't vote, the lawn owners do, and they seem overwhelming.
DE Democratic retentionTom CarperKevin Wade
FL Republican takeoverConnie Mack IVBill Nelson
Paul Ryan's strong stance for Medicare/Medicaid overhaul hurts the Romney-Ryan ticket in Florida, and we therefore predict Obama will win Florida based on the large elderly population in this key state. But Florida voters prefer bipartisanship and therefore Sen. Nelson will suffer from "negative coattails."
HI Democratic retentionMazie HironoLinda Lingle
IN Republican retentionRichard MourdockJoe Donnelly
Oct. 26 update: Mourdock stumbled by saying in a debate that pregnancy rape was "God's will," which infuriated women's groups, but we do not see any change in the underlying dynamics that favor a conservative Senator to represent conservative Indiana.
MA Democratic takeoverElizabeth WarrenScott Brown
Obama will overwhelmingly beat Romney in blue-state Massachusetts, and we predict Warren will ride Obama's coattails to victory. Sen. Brown won in a special election -- when there were no presidential coattails -- and would probably win again if this were not a presidential election year -- but the coattails are just too long against him in 2012.
MD Democratic retentionBen CardinDan Bongino
ME Democratic takeoverAngus KingCharlie Summers
Gov. King is an independent but we predict he will win and then choose to caucus with the Democrats in the Senate, in effect gaining the Democrats one Senate vote. King is a true independent, but sides with the Democrats on healthcare, social issues, and the need for taxes to deal with the deficit -- key upcoming voting issues for Senators.
MI Democratic retentionDebbie StabenowPete Hoekstra
MN Democratic retentionAmy KlobucharKurt Bills
MO Democratic retentionClaire McCaskillTodd Akin
During the summer, we would have predicted a Republican victory in red-state Missouri, but Rep. Akin put his foot in his mouth and exacerbated the problem with yet more flubs with every passing week -- he blew it!
MS Republican retentionRoger WickerAlbert N. Gore
MT Republican takeoverDenny RehbergJon Tester
ND Democratic retentionHeidi HeitkampRick Berg
North Dakota's economy is booming due to new oil extraction. So this Senate race is missing the usual drag on Obama and the Democrats, that the economy is bad elsewhere and that the Democrats would limit oil extraction elsewhere -- and Hietkamp will benefit.
NE Republican takeoverDeb FischerBob Kerrey
NJ Democratic retentionBob MenendezJoe Kyrillos
NM Republican takeoverHeather WilsonMartin Heinrich
NV Republican retentionDean HellerShelley Berkley
NY Democratic retentionKirsten GillibrandWendy Long
OH Democratic retentionSherrod BrownJosh Mandel
Voter registration is an issue in many states but none more than in Ohio. As a result of the heavy-handed election-day voter suppression in minority districts in the 2004 election, Ohio Democrats have pushed voter registration and early voting (beginning Oct. 2) -- and Sen. Brown will benefit.
PA Democratic retentionBob CaseyTom Smith
RI Democratic retentionSheldon WhitehouseBarry Hinckley
TN Republican retentionBob CorkerMark Clayton
TX Republican retentionTed CruzPaul Sadler
UT Republican retentionOrrin HatchScott Howell
VA Democratic retentionTim KaineGeorge Allen
Gov. Allen seems to have recovered from his "macaca" gaffe in 2006, but he has run the nastiest campaign in the country, and we predict that many will vote against him to signal a dislike for negative campaigning.
VT Democratic retentionBernie SandersJohn MacGovern
WA Democratic retentionMaria CantwellMichael Baumgartner
WI Republican takeoverTommy ThompsonTammy Baldwin
The Tommy-Tammy race is one of the tightest in the country, but we predict a Republican victory based on Paul Ryan's coattails. While Wisconsin is a blue state, many independents will vote Republican on the presidential line based on Ryan's "favorite son" status, and will push that pattern downballot to the Senate race.
WV Democratic retentionJoe Manchin IIIJohn Raese
WY Republican retentionJohn BarrassoTim Chesnut

To summarize our prediction by party status:

  • 3 Democratic takeovers
  • 17 Democratic retentions
  • 6 Republican takeovers
  • 7 Republican retentions
The net result of our prediction: A 50-50 split in the Senate. The Republicans score a net gain of 3 seats, but that's not enough. We predict Maine Independent Governor Angus King will win his Senate race; and we predict he will caucus with the Democrats. But if he goes Republican the GOP will gain control of the Senate -- hence King will become the kingmaker in that scenario!

The more likely scenario is that one of our predictions goes the other way: The most likely? Connecticut, where a wrestling executive takes on a long-term Congressman. And then Indiana, where a Tea Party Republican beat the incumbent Senator in the GOP primary. If either of those races goes against our prediction, the Democrats maintain control of the Senate. But a 50-50 split is MUCH more fun!

A 50-50 split means that control of the Senate is determined by the presidential race: If Romney wins the Presidency, Paul Ryan would get the tie-breaking vote in the Senate; if Obama wins re-election, Joe Biden retains his tie-breaking Senate vote. So stay tuned for our House and presidential prediction next week....

Sources: OnTheIssues archives
Click for Senate races
or click for detailed U.S. Senate prediction
or click for Senate debates

Romney and Obama Joint Interview: Sept. 19-20, 2012

Joint Obama-Romney interview by Univision

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney answered questions in a live forum hosted by the Spanish-language Univision network. Held at the University of Miami on Sept. 19, 2012, co-hosted by Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas

The TV network's presidential forums continued the next day, Sept. 20, 2012, with the same hosts questioning President Barack Obama.

The hosts made a special point of drawing attention to the fact that the formal "Presidential Debate Commission" declined to have any Hispanic journalists as moderators or panelists for the upcoming trio of presidential debates.

Sources: Univision excerpts

Romney and Obama "debate": Sept. 12, 2012

Joint Obama-Romney questionnaire by ScienceDebate.org

ScienceDebate.org managed to get both Romney and Obama to answer their candidate questionnaire. Their statement:

"Science now affects every aspect of life and is an increasingly important topic in national policymaking.

"ScienceDebate.org invited thousands of scientists, engineers and concerned citizens to submit what they felt were the the most important science questions facing the nation that the candidates for president should be debating on the campaign trail.

"ScienceDebate then worked with the leading US science and engineering organizations listed at left to refine the questions and arrive at a universal consensus on what the most important science policy questions facing the United States are in 2012.

"Candidates readily debate jobs and the economy even though they are not economists; they debate foreign policy and military intervention even though they are not diplomats or generals; they debate faith and values even though they are not priests or pastors. We call on the candidates for President to also debate these Top American Science Questions that affect all voters' lives."

Sources: ScienceDebate.org

Democratic National Convention coverage: Sept. 4-6, 2012

Speech excerpts from the DNC convention

OnTheIssues excerpted speeches from the Democratic National Convention, and incorporating them into the candidates' websites. Coverage of key speakers:

Sources: Speech transcripts
Click for Democratic National Convention speech excerpts
or click for Democratic Party Platform excerpts

Republican National Convention coverage: Aug. 28-30, 2012

Speech excerpts from the RNC convention

OnTheIssues is excerpting speeches from the Republican National Convention as they occur, and incorporating them into the candidates' websites. Coverage after the first full Convention day (and additional speeches added):

Sources: Speech transcripts
Click for Republican National Convention speech excerpts
or click for Republican Party Platform excerpts

Primaries in six states: Aug. 28, 2012

One member of House of Representatives loses seat in Arizona GOP primary

Primary elections took place in four states on Tuesday, (plus two states last Tuesday), resulting in the following races for the November general election:

DistrictPrimary winnerPrimary loser
AZ SenateJeff Flake(R)
vs. Richard Carmona(D)
Bryan Hackbarth(R)
David Ruben(D)
VT SenateTommy Thompson(I)
vs. Tammy Baldwin(R)
H. Brooke Paige (R)
WY SenateJohn Barrasso(R)
vs. Tim Chesnut(D)
Emmett Mavy (R); Thomas Bleming (R); Al Hamburg (D)
AZ-6 HouseDavid Schweikert(R) Ben Quayle(R)

Sources: Arizona Republic (AZ); Burlington Free Press (VT); Fox News (others); OnTheIssues archives
Click for House of Representatives. or U.S. Senate.

Primaries in four states: Aug. 14, 2012

Two members of House of Representatives lose seats in Florida primaries

Primary elections took place in four states on Tuesday, resulting in the following races for the November general election:

DistrictPrimary winnerPrimary loser
CT SenateLinda McMahon(R)
vs. Chris Murphy(D)
Chris Shays(R)
Susan Bysiewicz(D)
FL SenateConnie Mack(R)
vs. Bill Nelson(D)
Dave Weldon(R)
MN SenateKurt Bills(R)
vs. Amy Klobuchar(D)
Joe Arwood(R)
WI SenateTommy Thompson(R)
vs. Tammy Baldwin(D)
Mark Neumann(R)
John Schiess(R)
FL-6 HouseTed Yoho (R) Cliff Stearns(R)
FL-7 HouseJohn Mica(R) Sandy Adams(R)

Sources: Huffington Post (FL House); Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI Senate); Hartford Courant (CT Senate); OnTheIssues archives
Click for House of Representatives. or U.S. Senate.

Mitt Romney chooses Paul Ryan: Aug. 11, 2012

Rep. Ryan staying in House race, too

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan will be in two places on the ballot Nov. 6 now that he has been picked by Republican Mitt Romney as his running mate. Ryan will remain on the ballot for re-election to his seat in the House of Representatives.

Ryan represents the 1st Congressional District that includes much of southeastern Wisconsin. He has won election to the seat seven times. Ryan can run both for vice president and for re-election to Congress thanks to a 1968 law that permits a candidate to be on the ballot twice, but only if he or she is running for president or vice president.

Ryan faces Democrat Rob Zerban of Kenosha in November.

Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Click for Paul Ryan's issue stances.

Michigan and Missouri GOP Senate primaries: Aug. 7, 2012

Winners are Rep. Hoekstra (R, MI) and Rep. Akin (R, MO)

Rep. Todd Akin, who played up his tea party credentials and conservative appeal, broke out from a three-way Missouri Republican primary on Tuesday to earn the right to take on Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, setting up one of the most closely watched Senate races of 2012. Akin won a contest defined by which candidate was the most conservative. In doing so, he beat out Sarah Palin's candidate of choice, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, and John Brunner, a businessman who poured more than $7.5 million of his own money into the race.

In Michigan, meanwhile, Republicans selected former Rep. Pete Hoekstra to oppose Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November. Democratic Rep. John Conyers staved off a primary challenge in a slightly redrawn district to advance to November's election, when he will be strongly favored to win a 25th consecutive term in Congress.

Rep. Gary Peters defeated Rep. Hansen Clarke in a member versus member Democratic primary also brought on by congressional redistricting. In another closely watched Missouri race, Rep. William Lacy Clay defeated Rep. Russ Carnahan in a showdown of two of Missouri's most prominent Democratic families. The two were also drawn together because of congressional redistricting.

Sources: Associated Press in Peninsula (MI) Daily, Aug. 7
Click for other Senate candidates' issue stances.

Ted Cruz wins GOP Senate primary: July 31, 2012

Tea Party candidate over establishment candidate

Texas' drift toward the Tea Party brand of GOP conservatism continued Tuesday when lawyer Ted Cruz scored a surprisingly easy win over David Dewhurst in the Republican primary runoff for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Cruz once was considered a long shot to take down well-heeled Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst – the favorite of the party establishment and Hutchison's heir apparent. Cruz told a jam-packed crowd of supporters that when he started his campaign, he was largely unknown. "This is a victory for the grassroots, We should take it as a providential sign that today would be the 100th birthday of Milton Friedman," he said.

Cruz praised God – "To Him be the glory" – and Martin Luther King Jr., and thanked a long list that included Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ron Paul and Rand Paul, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Dewhurst. On the Democratic side, former state Rep. Paul Sadler trounced San Antonio educator Grady Yarbrough for the chance to face Cruz in November.

Sources: Mike Tolson in Houston Chronicle, Aug. 1
Click for Ted Cruz's issue stances.

Thad McCotter resigns Congress: July 6-23, 2012

$650,000 to run special election after Thad McCotter resigns amid scandal

Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, who launched a short-lived White House bid in 2011, announced Friday that he was resigning from Congress, citing personal family issues. In March, McCotter failed to acquire the necessary amount of signatures to appear on the party's primary ballot to represent his district near Detroit. He initially launched a write-in campaign, but announced he would end his efforts, choosing instead to retire from Congress when his term ended in January 2013.

McCotter chose to resign amid a scandal and criminal investigation regarding his election signature petitions. A special primary election will be held on Sept. 6 and then a special general election will be held simultaneously with the general election in November. The special election winner will be elected under the old House district and seated until Jan. 2013; the general election winner will be elected under the new House district and will be seated in Jan. 2013.

Gov. Rick Snyder called a special election, saying it was constitutionally required. His administration says it will cost $650,000 to run the special election in suburban Detroit's 11th District.

There will be five Republicans — Milford teacher Kerry Bentivolio, former state Sen. Nancy Cassis of Novi and Livonia residents Steve King, Kenneth Crider and Carolyn Cavanagh — and one Democrat, David Curson on the Sept. 5 special primary ballot.

McCotter joins our OnTheIssues Rogues' Gallery of elected members of Congress who resigned prior to completing their term, which breaks their promise to their constituents to serve out their term, to avoid a scandal or just for personal enrichment, resulting in costing their state funds to hold a special election. The updated Rogues' Gallery for the 112th Congress:

DistrictResignation DateRogue Representative
Kentucky, 4thJuly 31, 2012Geoff Davis
Michigan, 11thJuly 6, 2012Thaddeus G. McCotter
Washington, 1stMarch 20, 2012Jay Inslee
Oregon, 1stAugust 3, 2011David Wu
New York, 9thJune 21, 2011Anthony D. Weiner
Nevada, 2ndMay 9, 2011Dean Heller
California, 36thFebruary 28, 2011Jane Harman
New York, 26thFebruary 9, 2011Christopher John Lee
Sources: Yahoo news (July 6); Associated Press (July 13); Detroit Free Press (July 23); U.S.House archives (July 31); and OnTheIssues archives.
Click for Thad McCotter's issue stances.

Wendy Long wins N.Y. GOP Senate primary: June 27, 2012

Primary election results from last Tuesday...

Wendy Long, who promoted her conservative credentials on her way to a convincing win in New York's Republican Senate primary, now faces a broader and more liberal electorate as she takes on Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.

Long, a New York City attorney, defeated U.S. Rep. Bob Turner and Nassau County comptroller George Maragos in a primary election Tuesday notable for low turnout.

Sources: Associated Press and OnTheIssues archives.
Click for Wendy Long's issue stances.

New House member Ron Barber sworn in: June 19, 2012

Gabby Giffords' aide replaces Gabby Giffords

Ron Barber, the former staffer to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was also wounded during the Arizona shooting Jan. 8, 2011, took the oath of office today and his place in the House of Representatives, closing another chapter in the “Tragedy in Tucson.”

“Congratulations. You are now a member of the 112th Congress,” House Speaker John Boehner said after administering the oath of office on the House floor this afternoon.

Barber then acknowledged his predecessor, who resigned from office Jan. 25, a little more than a year after the shooting. The newly minted congressman was shot in the cheek and leg during the rampage at a constituent event he staffed with Giffords.

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said, “Welcome Ron Barber, we are glad to have you here. Nobody would have wished for the circumstances that made this seat vacant. We all miss our colleagues Gabby Giffords, but it was her wish that you fill this seat for the remainder of her term, and she got her wish, as was the wish of so many Arizonans.”

Sources: ABC News
Click for Ron Barber's issue stances.

Scott Walker wins recall election: June 5, 2012

First governor in US history to survive a recall

    Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall debates:
  • Gov. Scott Walker in 2011 terminated collective bargaining rights for state employees (including teachers' unions and numerous other unions).
  • In protest, the governor plus numerous members of the Wisconsin legislature were subject to a "recall election" -- a special election, initiated by petition, prior to the end of their term.
  • A primary election took place on May 8, 2012; the general election took place on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
  • This was only the 3rd time in US history that a governor was subject to a recall election, and the first time that the incumbent won.
  • At the state legislature level, in this election plus 2011 recall elections, Democrats won enough seats to take control of the State Senate.

Sources: OnTheIssues archives.
Click for Scott Walker's issue stances; or click for his opponent Mayor Tom Barrett's issue stances; or click for OnTheIssues' coverage of the Wisconsin gubernatorial debates.

Most vulnerable House Democrats: June 3, 2012

OnTheIssues.org's predictions for the toughest Congressional campaigns

  • OnTheIssues.org analyzed the House incumbents to determine the most vulnerable in the 2012 election.
  • The list of the most vulnerable Democratic House incumbents appears below; the most vulnerable House Republicans appear in yesterday's posting; or click for complete analysis.

  • Our methods:
  • We looked for incumbents whose party is a mismatch with the people in that district.
  • For incumbent Democrats, if McCain won the district in 2008, the incumbent is vulnerable.
  • For incumbent Republicans, if Obama won the district in 2008, the incumbent is vulnerable.
  • The degree of vulnerability is scored by the percentage difference between Obama and McCain.
  • We also compared the results of the 2004 election, and added in the the percentage difference between Kerry and Bush.
  • The overall score indicates the degree of incumbent vulnerability; we list the incumbents sequenced by this vulnerability score.
  • A higher score (larger negative number) indicates a higher vulnerability.

KY-6 Ben ChandlerD43%55%41%58%-29
WV-3 Nick RahallD42%56%46%53%-21
NY-26Kathy HochulD46%52%43%55%-18Special Election 2011; NY redistricting loses 2 seats
NC-7 Mike McIntyreD47%52%44%56%-17
MN-7 Collin PetersonD47%50%43%55%-15
NC-8 Larry KissellD52%47%45%54%-4

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives
Click for OnTheIssues' the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Thad McCotter withdraws from House race: June 2, 2012

One of OnTheIssues' "most vulnerable GOP incumbents"

U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, plagued by a criminal probe into his nominating petitions, on Saturday said he is ending his write-in campaign for re-election and will focus on serving out the final days of his 10-year congressional career.

The decision by the five-term congressman ends a stunning political week that began with the Secretary of State's office determining he was ineligible for the Aug. 7 primary ballot with widespread invalid and tampered petition signatures. McCotter, in agreement with the office, launched a write-in campaign and requested a criminal investigation into fraudulent petitions he said he trusted his longtime staff to handle.

"I have ended my write-in campaign in Michigan's 11th Congressional District," McCotter said in a statement released Saturday afternoon.

With about 87 percent of his nominating petitions tossed, McCotter, R-Livonia, didn't meet the minimum number of 1,000 signatures to get his name on the ballot. The Michigan attorney general launched its criminal investigation Thursday of the suspect signatures.

"One can't clean up a mess multitasking," McCotter said in his statement. "Honoring my promise to the sovereign people of our community only allows me to finish the official duties of my present Congressional term; and aid the State Attorney General criminal investigation that I requested into identifying the person or persons who concocted the fraudulent petitions that have cost me so dearly.

McCotter's withdrawal is notable because he ran for President briefly in 2011. OnTheIssues ranked McCotter as one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents for the 2012 elections. We base that ranking on the 2008 presidential campaign results; McCotter's district went for Obama 54% to 45%, so the Democrat gets a head-start from Obama's coattails. McCotter was not among the top ten most vulnerable Republicans because his district went for Bush over kerry in 2004. Those top ten (plus McCotter) are:

IL-10Robert DoldR61%38%53%47%-29Freshman; IL redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-11Lou BarlettaR57%42%53%47%-21Freshman; PA redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-6 Jim GerlachR58%41%51%48%-20PA redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-7 Patrick MeehanR56%43%53%47%-19Freshman
IL-17Bobby SchillingR57%42%51%48%-18Freshman; IL redistricting loses 1 seat
NH-2 Charlie BassR56%43%52%47%-18
WA-8 Dave ReichertR57%42%51%48%-18WA redistricting gains 1 seat
MN-8 Chip CravaackR53%45%53%46%-15
NY-25Ann Marie BuerkleR56%43%5%48%-15Freshman; NY redistricting loses 2 seats
WI-7 Sean DuffyR56%42%5%49%-15Freshman
MI-11Thad McCotterR54%45%47%53%-3Write-in
Sources: Marisa Schultz in the Detroit News; and OnTheIssues archives.
Click for Thad McCotter's issue stances; or click for OnTheIssues' the most vulnerable Republican incumbents.

Buddy Roemer ends campaign: May 31, 2012

Folds campaign for Americans Elect nomination

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer announced in a statement this morning that his quixotic independent campaign for president has come to an end.

After failing to get access to the GOP primary debates last year, Roemer had decided to run as an independent and seek the Reform Party and Americans Elect nominations. Then, Americans Elect folded earlier this month, while Roemer continued to struggle to draw attention and interest to his campaign.

In his statement, Roemer said he would create a new organization focused on his core issue of getting corporate and special interest money out of politics.

"As I am no longer a candidate for president, I am free to pledge a good portion of the rest of my life to enacting campaign reform in the halls of Congress and the corridors of the White House. Instead of using my right to the floor of Congress to lobby for corporate clients, I will lobby for the American people who want reform," he said. "To be successful, this endeavor must cross party lines. In truth, the two major parties are addicted to special interests and corporate money. I have said it many times: they are joined at the billfold. The two parties have been graveyards of reform too often in the past. They don’t want reform. They only want victory and reelection."

OnTheIssues.org mourns the loss of a serious third-party contender -- this website was established to give third party candidates equal coverage because the mainstream media does not.

OnTheIssues.org also mourns the loss of Americans Elect -- we provided issue coverage for the AmericansElect organization, but we also believed in its mission. We hope they will come back in 2016.

Sources: Buddy Roemer press release; Politico.com report; and OnTheIssues archives.

Ron Paul suspends new state campaigning: May 14, 2012

But will continue delegate-gathering in previous states

Ron Paul, the last remaining GOP opponent to Mitt Romney, today suspended active campaigning in states with primaries after today. But he will continue to actively seek delegates from previous voting, and asks supporters to vote for him in all primaries. Paul's statement via email:

“Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future. Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have. I encourage all supporters of Liberty to make sure you get to the polls and make your voices heard, particularly in the local, state, and Congressional elections, where so many defenders of Freedom are fighting and need your support.”
The field for the general election now includes these candidates:
  • Gov. Mitt Romney: MA Republican, to be formally nominated at GOP convention on August 27.
  • Pres. Barack Obama: IL Democrat, to be formally nominated at Democratic convention on September 3.
  • Dr. Jill Stein MA Green, to be formally nominated at Green National Convention on July 12.
  • Gov. Buddy Roemer LA former governor, frontrunner for AmericansElect convention in June.
  • Gov. Gary Johnson NM Libertarian, was nominated at the Libertarian National Convention on May 5.
  • Rep. Virgil Goode VA former representative, was nominated at the Constitution Party National Convention on April 21.
  • Mayor Rocky Anderson Salt Lake City's former mayor, was nominated by the Justice Party on January 13.

Sources: Ron Paul press release; and OnTheIssues archives.

Newt Gingrich suspends presidential campaign: May 2, 2012

Ron Paul stays in

Newt Gingrich withdrew from the presidential race, leaving the nomination to Mitt Romney. Ron Paul evidently will stay in the race until the convention, as promised. Paul's statement on Gingrich's withdrawal:

“As he exits the race for the Republican nomination, I’d like to acknowledge my former colleague in the House Newt Gingrich for running a spirited campaign. In particular, I want to thank the former Speaker for echoing my calls for monetary policy reform including a full audit of the Federal Reserve, steps that will bring America closer to lasting economic prosperity for middle-class Americans who bear the brunt of the dangerous and unjust inflation tax.”
Another of Ron Paul's books has been re-released for 2012, "The Case For Gold", which is included in the list of Ron Paul books excerpted and reviewed below:

Sources: Ron Paul press release; and OnTheIssues archives.

Senate debate coverage: April 20, 2012

Shift to Senate election coverage by OnTheIssues.org

Senate debates are underway; some for primaries and some for the general election. OnTheIssues.org covers all debates; we'll cover more states as their races get underway. So far....

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives

Santorum withdraws: April 11, 2012

Shift to general election coverage by OnTheIssues.org

Sen. Rick Santorum "suspended" his campaign; hence OnTheIssues.org switches to general election coverage. The following candidates are running for President as their party nominees:

Candidate Party
Gov. Mitt Romney Republican
Pres. Barack Obama Democrat
Vice Pres. Joe Biden Democrat
Jill Stein Green
Gov. Gary Johnson Libertarian
Mayor Rocky Anderson Justice
Gov. Buddy Roemer AmericansElect
Andre Barnett Reform

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives

Romney wins three primaries: April 3, 2012

Romney wins Wisconsin, Maryland, and D.C.

After a protracted Republican primary season, many viewed tonight as the potential “tipping point night” in the Mitt Romney campaign. This was to be the win where things changed, according to the conventional wisdom.

Problem is, this is an unconventional year. Who would have predicted just a few months ago that Rick Santorum would be the last man standing to challenge Romney?

Santorum and Gingrich never got the memo. After Romney’s sweep of the primaries, Santorum gave a speech about looking toward the future and May primaries. Gingrich sent out a defiant press release saying, “Our party must commit itself to a bold, conservative platform. We cannot win on an etch-a-sketch platform that shows no principle or backbone.”

Mitt Romney began Tuesday night with an easy primary victory in Maryland. The Maryland race was called for Romney as the polls closed at 8 p.m ET. In D.C., Santorum did not appear on the ballot.

The delegate counts:

Jan.-Feb.Super TuesdayMarchWIMDDCTotal
Mitt Romney147 223146 333718 604
Rick Santorum84 8989 900 271
Newt Gingrich29 7425 000 128
Ron Paul18 232 000 48
Total278 409191 423718 1,051

Sources: Fox News (April 4); ABC News (April 4); and OnTheIssues archives.
Click for FAQs on the Primary Process.

Santorum wins Louisiana Primary: March 25, 2012

Romney wins Illinois and Puerto Rico

There are two tracks to the GOP race, and the former Massachusetts governor is winning both. The most important is the fight to accumulate the 1,144 convention delegates needed to secure the nomination. Romney has done consistently well in that effort, including winning the Illinois primary. The second aspect of the race involves perceptions; here Romney has fared less well.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has no electoral votes in the general election in November. However, it does send 23 delegates to the Republican National Convention in August. Santorum made a serious gaffe while campaigning on the island last week, insisting to local voters that federal law needed to make English the "main language" to achieve statehood.

Santorum won the Louisiana Republican presidential primary Saturday. Santorum's win underscores a pattern in the drawn-out race. "This race has clearly gotten down to two candidates that can win the nomination," Santorum told reporters in Milwaukee. "I'd love to have a one-on-one debate."

Santorum claimed Sunday that his nomination chances are not nearly as dim as they look. He effectively claimed that the delegate tally is inaccurate. "There's a lot of bad math there that doesn't reflect the reality of what's going on on the ground. And so I think we're in much, much better shape than what the numbers that are out there suggest," Santorum said in an interview.

The delegate counts:

Jan.-Feb.Super TuesdayLast WeeksPRILLATotal
Mitt Romney147 22376 22435 516
Rick Santorum84 8969 01010 262
Newt Gingrich29 7424 100 128
Ron Paul18 232 000 48
Total278 409191 235315 954

What does Santorum mean about "bad math"? First, there are a couple hundred superdelegates -- party officials and so on -- who are not committed based on the primaries. Second, Santorum can force an open convention if Romney does not reach the 50% threshold in the primaries.

So far in all of the primaries, Romney is at 54% (516 out of 954). Since Super Tuesday, Romney has captured only 51% (146 out of 282). In other words, Santorum is gaining ground. The numbers require the superdelegates to push Romney below 50% -- which would require that Santorum gain more ground in upcoming primaries to persuade them!

Sources: Melanie Jones in International Business Times (Mar. 18); Mark Barabak in Chicago Tribune (Mar. 21);
AP in New Orleans Times-Picayune (Mar. 24); Fox News (Mar. 25); and OnTheIssues archives.
Click for FAQs on the Primary Process.

New Senate Challengers: March 20, 2012

A dozen new Senate candidates excerpted by OnTheIssues.org

Late entrants into the Senate races now have their issue stances outlined. Each campaign has the opportunity to answer our VoteMatch quiz; we outline the basics in the meantime.

AZDon BivensDemocratic
AZRichard CarmonaDemocratic
CTLinda McMahonRepublican
CTChris MurphyDemocratic
HILinda LingleRepublican
MDCorrogan VaughnRepublican
MEAngus KingIndependent
MIScotty BomanLibertarian
MSAlbert N. GoreDemocratic
NYBob TurnerRepublican
PASteve WelchRepublican
TNZach Poskevich Republican
TXPaul SadlerDemocratic

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives

Santorum wins Southern Caucuses: March 13, 2012

Romney wins Hawaii and American Samoa

Romney was rejected by Southern conservatives in the primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, won caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa to claim about a third of the total delegates available and maintain his lead. However, Santorum's twin primary triumphs -- while narrow -- reframed the GOP race as a one-on-one battle between the socially conservative former Pennsylvania senator and the more moderate Romney, with Gingrich's chances fading fast.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian champion, continued to trail well behind the other three candidates in the campaign to face President Barack Obama in November.

"There is no end in sight," noted Ari Fleischer, a CNN contributor who was White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. "... For Republicans who thought that maybe Mitt Romney could come South and make this race look like it was coming to an end, this race is going on and on and on."

OnTheIssues notes: The total for the day, in all four contests, was 43 delegates for Romney and 36 delegates for Santorum.

The delegate counts:

Jan.-Feb.Super TuesdayLast WeekALHISamoaMSTotal
Mitt Romney147 22333 119914 446
Rick Santorum84 8933 194013 242
Newt Gingrich29 740 120012 127
Ron Paul18 231 0100 48
Total278 40967 4214939 863

Sources: Tom Cohen, Jason Hanna and John Helton, on CNN, and OnTheIssues archives.
Click for FAQs on the Primary Process.

Santorum wins Kansas Caucus: March 11, 2012

Romney wins 3 primaries in U.S. Territories

Rick Santorum won the Kansas caucuses in a rout on Saturday Final returns in Kansas showed Santorum with 51% support, far outpacing Romney, who had 21%. Newt Gingrich had 14% and Ron Paul trailed with 13%.

Santorum picked up 33 of the state’s 40 delegates at stake, cutting slightly into Romney’s overwhelming’s advantage.

Romney’s totals included 22 that he picked up in the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The delegate counts:

Jan.-Feb.Super TuesdayKSGuamVirgin IslandsMarianasTotal
Mitt Romney147 223 7989 403
Rick Santorum84 89 33000 206
Newt Gingrich29 74 0000 103
Ron Paul18 23 0010 47
Total278 409 40999 759

Sources: OnTheIssues FAQs
Click for FAQ on Brokered Conventions.

Dennis Kucinich (D, OH) loses primary: Mar. 7, 2012

First of eleven incumbent-vs.-incumbent races due to redistricting

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), the two-time presidential candidate and icon of the antiwar left, suffered a bruising primary defeat Tuesday as a new Republican-drawn congressional map threatened to end the career of one of the most colorful figures in Congress.

With most attention focused on the state’s GOP presidential primary battle, and no Democratic primary for president, Kucinich was left in a low-turnout race in a newly drawn district against his once-close ally, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).

The election is the first of 13 House races in 2012 that pit a sitting lawmaker against another sitting lawmaker. Eleven of those races are primary battles, seven Democratic and four Republican. The additional two races, in Iowa and Ohio, pit a sitting Democratic and Republican incumbent against each other in the general election.

These races guarantee that 13 incumbent lawmakers will not return next year, setting the stage for an election season of bruising and negative member-on-member campaigns that occur every 10 years. The races are:

March 6Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D, OH-10)vs.Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, OH-9)
March 20Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R, IL-11)vs.Rep. Don Manzullo (R, IL-16)
April 24Rep. Mark Critz (D, PA-12)vs.Rep. Jason Altmire (D, PA-4)
June 5Rep. Steve Rothman (D, NJ-9)vs.Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D, NJ-8)
June 5Rep. Howard Berman (D, CA-28)vs.Rep. Brad Sherman (D, CA-27)
June 5Rep. Janice Hahn (D, CA-36)vs.Rep. Laura Richardson (D, CA-37)
Aug. 7Rep. William Lacy Clay (D, MO-1)vs.Rep. Russ Carnahan (D, MO-3)
Aug. 7Rep. Gary Peters (D, MI-9)vs.Rep. Hansen Clarke (D, MI-13)
Aug. 14Rep. Sandy Adams (R, FL-24)vs.Rep. John Mica (R, FL-7)
Aug. 28Rep. David Schweikert (R, AZ-5)vs.Rep. Ben Quayle (R, AZ-3)
Nov. 6Rep. Jeff Landry (R, LA-3)vs.Rep. Charles Boustany (R, LA-7)

Sources: USA Today (Mar. 2); Associated Press (Mar. 5); Washington Post (Mar. 7); and OnTheIssues.org archives (Mar. 8)
Click for all House races.

Super Tuesday: March 6, 2012

Romney wins 6; Santorum wins 3; Gingrich wins 1; Paul wins 0

The delegate counts from Super Tuesday:

Mitt Romney815324173513129438223
Rick Santorum73001121142640389
Newt Gingrich347002013900074
Ron Paul6000801043123

Sources: OnTheIssues FAQs
Click for FAQ on Brokered Conventions.

Olympia Snowe (R, ME) announces retirement: Mar. 1, 2012

Click for Olympia Snowe's issue stances

Moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe's decision to step down from her long-held Senate seat in a high-stakes election year is reverberating like an earthquake across Maine's political landscape. The departure of the popular incumbent, who faced little opposition for her party's nomination--and that polls indicated stood a good chance of winning re-election--throws the race for her much-coveted Senate seat wide open.

Among those expressing interest in jumping into the race: Maine's two Democratic U.S. House representatives, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud.

But major party candidates are coming up on a March 15 deadline to file signatures for entering the race. So far, Scott D'Amboise is the only GOP candidate left in the race, but some prominent Republicans, including Maine's current secretary of state, Charlie Summers, are being mentioned as potential candidates.

In Nebraska, Former senator and New York City college administrator Bob Kerrey (D) completed a remarkable turnaround, declaring he will run for the Democratic nomination for his old seat.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D) announced his retirement some time ago.

Sources: Maine Public Broadcasting Network (Feb. 28); Huffington Post (Feb. 29); and OnTheIssues.org archives (Mar. 2)
Click for all issues stances by Olympia Snowe and issues stances by Bob Kerrey.

Mitt Romney wins Michigan and Arizona: Feb. 28, 2012

Super Tuesday arrives in one week

Mitt Romney won both the Michigan primary and the Arizona winner-take-all primary.

Romney continues to lead his foes in the delegate hunt, adding at least three dozen to his total after beating Rick Santorum in Michigan and Arizona.

But with 437 delegates on the table next Tuesday, and with most of them allocated according to each candidate's share of the vote, all four of the GOP contenders are certain to boost their delegate counts, giving everyone in the field a rationale, however thin, to move forward.

The Super Tuesday map features both bright spots and traps for every candidate -- Romney is expected to coast to easy wins in Massachusetts and Virginia, for instance, but faces a tough slog in states like Ohio and Tennessee -- meaning that no one is likely to emerge as an outright victor when the smoke clears.

The delegate count as of the two new primaries:

Mitt Romney127250 149112913147
Rick Santorum13000 355001384
Newt Gingrich00230 6000029
Ron Paul0300 50100018
Jon Huntsman0200 000002

Sources: OnTheIssues FAQs
Click for FAQ on Brokered Conventions.

Four-way debate in Arizona: Feb. 22, 2012

Click for excerpts of CNN debate on eve of Arizona primary

The Republican presidential candidates take the stage for another debate, the last one before Super Tuesday. After 19 previous debates, that may be a relief or a disappointment, depending on your appetite for debates. But this debate in Mesa, Arizona, could have far-reaching consequences. It comes less than a week before primaries in Arizona and Michigan, and less than two weeks before voters in 10 states go to the polls.

Santorum is in a heated contest against Romney in what has essentially turned into a two-man contest for the nomination to challenge President Obama, surging in recent polls both nationally and in key primary states.

But Romney, who has a wide lead in Arizona, is claiming he's got something none of his opponents has -- a business background. Romney said if he were president, he would go through every single federal program and ask if it is affordable or whether it's worth borrowing money to pay for it.

Sources: NPR's All Things Considered (Feb. 22) & Fox News (Feb. 23)
Click for CNN Arizona GOP primary debate.

Donald Trump reconsiders re-entering race: Feb. 21, 2012

Will re-enter race if Rick Santorum wins nomination

Donald Trump told CNBC he would "seriously, seriously" consider jumping into the White House race if Rick Santorum wins the GOP presidential nomination.

Said Trump: "Honestly, if Santorum got it, I would seriously, seriously consider it. We need someone that's really going to be great. This is the most important election in my opinion that this country has ever had. Santorum is not the right person."

He added that he is a "free agent" after his Apprentice show ends its season on May 16.

Sources: PoliticalWire.com reporting on CNBC interview
Click for all Donald Trump's issue stances or Donald Trump's book, "Time To Get Tough".

Mitt Romney squeaks to victory in Maine Caucuses: Feb. 12, 2012

Ron Paul promises to stay until Tampa; FAQ on Brokered Conventions

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney battled to a near-tie in the Maine caucuses on Feb. 12, 2012. The press declared Romney the victor by 196 votes, but the caucuses were just a "beauty contest" -- the popular vote awarded no delegates yet. The actual delegate count won't be known for several weeks; our figures below are just estimates. The Ron Paul campaign claimed they still may win the delegate count victory, based on the town-by-town results and one snowed-out caucus in a Paul-favorable district. We'll follow the mainstream media estimate of delegates for Maine, and award a near-even split between Romney and Paul:

Mitt Romney127250 14911105
Rick Santorum13000 355071
Newt Gingrich00230 60029
Ron Paul0300 501018
Jon Huntsman0200 0002

Romney has only won 4 out of 9 contests so far, and something of a pattern has emerged: Ron Paul heavily contests caucus states such as Maine; Rick Santorum heavily contests Christian conservative states such as Colorado; and Newt Gingrich heavily contests hard-core "red states" such as South Carolina. That pattern means that Romney has a fight on his hands in just about every upcoming state, and none of his three opponents seem likely to withdraw anytime soon.

So what happens? The pundits have started talking about a "brokered convention," which means that the primaries don't choose a nominee, so a nominee is selected at the Republican National Convention. For details click below....

Sources: OnTheIssues FAQs
Click for FAQ on Brokered Conventions.

Rick Santorum wins triple header: Feb. 10, 2012

Santorum wins MN, MO, and CO

Santorum won caucus votes Tuesday in Minnesota and Colorado and a primary in Missouri. Santorum had been seen surging in the Midwestern states of Minnesota and Missouri thanks to support from evangelical Christians, but few expected him to win in the Rocky Mountain west.

It was a bitter blow for Romney, who had romped home in Colorado and Minnesota during his 2008 bid with large leads in the final counts. The triple win catapulted Santorum at least for the moment past former House speaker Newt Gingrich into the role of Romney's main rival.

Rick Santorum has surged nationally in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination after his three-state sweep this week, while Mitt Romney has lost ground among GOP primary voters. In addition, most GOP voters say the nomination race isn’t over -- someone other than Romney could still win.

The latest delegate counts appear below.

Mitt Romney127250 14691
Rick Santorum13000 32844
Newt Gingrich00230 6029
Ron Paul0300 508
Jon Huntsman0200 002

Missouri will not award delegates until a later caucus on March 17, so its primary was just a "beauty contest".

Sources: Fox News, canada.com, and OnTheIssues FAQs
Click for Sen. Santorum's issue stances.

Mitt Romney wins Nevada Caucus: Feb. 5, 2012

Click for our analysis of Open vs. Closed primaries.

Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses, but since it's a proportional caucus, the three other contenders -- Sen. Rick Santorum, Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Ron Paul -- also gained a few delegates each. The delegate score after the Nevada caucuses is:

Mitt Romney127250 1485
Newt Gingrich00230 629
Rick Santorum13000 316
Ron Paul0300 58
Jon Huntsman0200 02

Nevada holds "closed caucuses", which means only voters who had previously registered as Republicans can vote. Closed caucuses have fewer participants than open caucuses, and caucuses have fewer participants than primaries. So a closed caucus is the smallest of all contests -- only 33,000 people voted in Nevada, compared to 250,000 in New Hampshire. For more on Open vs. Closed Primaries in anticipation of Super Tuesday, see link below....

Sources: OnTheIssues Frequently Asked Questions
Click for our Open vs. Closed primaries FAQ.

Suzanne Bonamici (D, OR) wins special election: Feb. 1, 2012

Click for Suzanne Bonamici's issue stances

Democrat Suzanne Bonamici swept to victory Tuesday in Oregon's 1st Congressional District, continuing her party's nearly four-decade-long hold on the seat covering the northwestern corner of the state.

With the bulk of ballots counted [from the all-mail-in balloting], Bonamici was defeating Republican Rob Cornilles by about 15 percentage points in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Democrat David Wu in August.

Elsewhere, three members of the House announced their retirement this week. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords resigned from the House for her medical recovery.; Gov. Jan Brewer (R, AZ)announced the date for the special primary will be April 17 and the special general election will be on June 12.

Redistricting has caused two new House resignations: Rep. Brad Miller (D, NC) and Rep. Dan Burton (R, IN) both announced that they will not seek re-election. Redisticting in both those states caused overlapping districts in which the incumbent would have to fight over another incumbent. Redistricting may claim some additional incumbents as the district races get sorted out; see our House of Representatives page for a rough outline.

Sources: The Oregonian, San Pedro Valley News-Sun (AZ), and OnTheIssues.org archives
Click for all issues stances by Suzanne Bonamici

Mitt Romney wins Florida primary: Jan. 31, 2012

Click for excerpts from GOP primary debate in Jacksonville Florida

Mitt Romney won all 50 delegates in the Florida primary, the first statewide winner-take-all primary. Here is the delegate count post-Florida:

Mitt Romney12725071
Newt Gingrich0023023
Rick Santorum1300013
Ron Paul03003
Jon Huntsman02002

For more on Winner-take-all vs. Proportional Primaries, see link below....

Sources: OnTheIssues Frequently Asked Questions
Click for excerpts from the Florida debate or our Winner-take-all vs. Proportional Primary FAQ.

President Obama delivers State of the Union speech: Jan. 24, 2012

Click for excerpts from State of the Union speech and GOP Response

It was a wish list, not a to-do list. President Obama's array of plans in his State of the Union speech was light on a key piece of context -- namely, that his hands are so tied ahead of the election that it is doubtful many if any of them can be done in the remainder of his term. There can be little more than wishful thinking behind his call to end oil industry subsidies -- something he could not get through a Democratic Congress, much less today's divided Congress, much less in this election year.

Sources: Fox News Fact Check
Click for all issues stances by Barack Obama or complete excerpts from the State of the Union

Rep. Gabby Giffords (R, AZ) announces resignation: Jan. 22, 2012

Click for excerpts from Gabby Giffords voting record

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the three-term Arizona Democrat who was shot in the head during a 2011 assassination attempt, announced Sunday that she will resign from Congress this week in order to focus on her continuing recovery. She plans to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday and will resign sometime after that.

Giffords' resignation will force a special election to fill her seat in the 8th Congressional District. Republican candidates state Sen. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, and Dave Sitton, a University of Arizona sports broadcaster, already had formed exploratory committees for the November general election to test the waters for a possible run in her district. Jesse Kelly, Giffords' 2010 GOP opponent also might run again. Republican Adam Hansen of Bisbee also has announced his candidacy.

On the Democratic side, state legislators Paula Aboud, Steve Farley and Matt Heinz of Tucson have been mentioned as possible Giffords replacements. Mark Kelly, Giffords' retired astronaut husband, Pia Carusone, her congressional chief of staff, and Ron Barber, her state director, also have been mentioned as possibilities, although Kelly particularly has indicated he isn't interested in running.

According to state law, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) must set a date for a special election primary 80 to 90 days after Giffords formally steps down, and a general election will be set for 50 to 60 days after the primary. So the primary election for Giffords seat will likely be held in late April with the general election in June.

The state’s independent redistricting comission made Giffords’ swing seat slightly more Democratic. But that map is under dispute, and a special election for Giffords’ seat will be held under the old lines. That’s the map under which Giffords was reelected in 2010 by a mere 1.3 percent margin. Her district voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.

But the special circumstances — Giffords has become a national hero since the assassination attempt against her last January — surrounding the seat could give Democrats something of a boost.

Sources: Arizona Republica and Washington Post
Click for all issues stances by Gabby Giffords

Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary: Jan. 21, 2012

FAQ: How did the S.C. primary differ from the previous ones?

After the South Carolina primary (Jan. 21, 2012), the pundits breathlessly assert, "It's all tied up: One for Newt; one for Mitt; and one for Santorum." (Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary; Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary; Rick Santorum retroactively won the Iowa caucus). So is that true, that it's all tied up?

No, of course not. The way to keep score is to count delegates, not to count states. South Carolina has 25 delegates -- more than any one candidate had after the New Hampshire and Iowa contests. And furthermore, South Carolina was a "district-winner-take-all" primary -- so almost all of its delegates went to Newt; whereas the other two contests were "proportional" -- so their delegates were split. Hence Newt Gingrich is well in the lead -- but it won't matter in a few weeks, when Super Tuesday arrives! Here is the delegate count post-South Carolina:

Newt Gingrich002323
Mitt Romney127221
Rick Santorum130013
Ron Paul0303
Jon Huntsman0202

For more on Winner-take-all vs. Proportional Primaries, see link below....

Sources: OnTheIssues Frequently Asked Questions
Click for excerpts from the South Carolina debate or our Winner-take-all vs. Proportional Primary FAQ or other FAQs from previous elections.

Gov. Rick Perry exits presidential race: Jan. 19, 2012

Former Senator Rick Santorum retroactively wins Iowa caucus

Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the Republican presidential race Thursday, saying he saw no way forward. The same day, the Iowa Republican party announced that Mitt Romney is no longer the winner of the caucuses there.

[Perhaps, on the eve of the South Carolina primary, Perry] wanted to spare himself the indignity of a bad finish. And actually determine the terms of his exit and to have everybody care about what he says as he leaves, and that's what endorsing Newt Gingrich does for him. It's not like Rick Perry had a lot of votes to give to Gingrich.

In Iowa, with the primary more than two weeks ago, now, we find out that it was not Romney's win. That it was actually Santorum's, although we may never really know who won because it's being called a statistical tie. When they did a re-canvas, which is part of the normal process--it's not a recount--the tally comes in Santorum 34 points ahead.

Sources: National Public Radio NPR.org
Click for all issue stances from Rick Perry or Rick Santorum

Jon Huntsman exits presidential race: Jan. 15, 2012

Former Governor of Utah withdraws after 3rd place showing in N.H.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr. informed his advisers on Sunday that he intends to drop out of the Republican presidential race, ending his candidacy a week before he had hoped to revive his campaign in the South Carolina primary.

The campaign manager to Mr. Huntsman confirmed the decision in an interview Sunday evening. “The governor and his family, at this point in the race, decided it was time for Republicans to rally around a candidate who could beat Barack Obama and turn around the economy. That candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.”

A third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary last week failed to jump start Mr. Huntsman’s flagging candidacy, aides said, and his campaign limped into South Carolina with little money. Mr. Huntsman has spent days pondering his future in the race, but aides said that he concluded he was unlikely to topple Mitt Romney or match the momentum of his Republican rivals in the conservative Southern primary.

The decision from Mr. Huntsman came on the same day that he received the endorsement from The State, the newspaper in the capital of Columbia. He had campaigned in South Carolina over the weekend, not giving any indication that the end was near.

Voters also seemed wary of a candidacy by a man whose most recent service was to the very many he now wanted to oust. Fawning letters that Mr. Huntsman wrote about Mr. Obama’s leadership did not help that case.

Mr. Huntsman did better in New Hampshire than polls might have suggested, but he came in a distant third behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Click for all issue stances from Jon Huntsman

Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire primary: Jan. 12, 2012

FAQ: How do primaries differ from caucuses?

The Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary was the first primary in the 2012 presidential race. It followed the Iowa caucus, but represents different political skills than a caucus; we'll discuss the differences below.

Mitt Romney won both Iowa and N.H. (statistics below) and now has 20 delegates. Rick Santorum has 12 delegates from Iowa but gained none in N.H.; Ron Paul & Jon Huntsman gained their first few delegates each.

Primaries differ substantially from caucuses. The key differences, and their political implications, are:

For more on primaries vs. caucuses, see link below....

Sources: OnTheIssues Frequently Asked Questions
Click for Primary vs. Caucus FAQ or other FAQs from previous elections.

Meet the Pres GOP Primary Debate: Jan. 8, 2012

Candidates debate on Meet the Press

This Sunday, a special edition of MEET THE PRESS live from New Hampshire, the last debate before the first in the nation Republican presidential primary. Voting here is just 48 hours away. We come to the Granite State where nearly one in five voters remains undecided despite seeing these candidates face-to-face in town halls, coffee shops and even in their living rooms, a small state that will have a big impact on the race. Their motto, "Live free or die." The issues: jobs and the economy, America's role in the world, and which of these candidates is best suited to take on President Obama. This morning, a debate in partnership with Facebook, the world's number one social platform, and the New Hampshire Union Leader. The candidates, the issues and your questions.

All six candidates are here; and before we begin, you know the drill, we quickly go through the rules. Each candidate will have one minute, 60 seconds, to make their statement, to respond to questions and, at my discretion, 30 seconds for follow-ups or rebuttals. We're on a pretty tight schedule, so I will ask the candidates to stay within their allotted time, and we'll see how that goes.

Sources: Meet the Press coverage and OnTheIssues Archive
Click for debate excerpts.

New Hampshire Primary Debate: Jan. 7, 2012

Candidates debate on WMUR-NH TV

Protesters gathered in Manchester on Saturday hours before the Republican presidential candidates met to debate.

Occupy New Hampshire rallied at Veterans Park in downtown Manchester, saying that the 99 percent need a voice not only during the first-in-the-nation primary but during the general election, as well.

"We're saying they're controlled by lobbyists, by the 1 percent corporation and that our voice doesn't matter," said protester Grace Braley.

The gathering included Democrats, Republicans and independents, all saying they were protesting against what they called the establishment. They said the money spent on politics and getting into the White House has gotten out of control.

During the debate, protesters and supporters of the campaigns chanted outside St. Anselm College.

Sources: WMUR.com coverage and OnTheIssues Archive
Click for debate excerpts.

What does the Iowa caucus mean?: Jan. 6, 2012

Our first FAQ of 2012

On Jan. 3, 2012, the Iowa caucuses represented the first vote in the 2012 presidential primary. The mainstream media breathlessly reported "Romney won by 8 votes over Santorum! And Ron Paul placed a respectable third!"

As usual, the mainstream media got it wrong.

The mainstream media reported on the popular vote -- the number of actual people voting for each candidate. But the real result is the delegate count. It's the same as the electoral college vs. the popular vote in the general election -- the popular vote is what's reported, but it doesn't actually count.

The presidential campaigns focus on getting above the "magic number" of 1,143 delegates. The Iowa caucus, despite all the media hoopla, assigned only 25 delegates -- 13 to Romney and 12 to Santorum. Iowa is a small state and so is New Hampshire -- the N.H. Republican primary on Jan. 10 will assign only another 12 delegates.

Click for more detais and the popular vote count, and the delegate vote count, from the Iowa caucus.

This is the first in a series of FAQs about the 2012 election. We will update our previous election cycle's FAQs for 2012, too, over the coming weeks.

Sources: OnTheIssues Frequently Asked Questions
Click for Iowa caucus FAQ or other FAQs from previous elections.

Michele Bachmann drops out after Iowa caucus: Jan. 4, 2012

Iowa caucus results: Mitt Romney 1st; Rick Santorum 2nd; Ron Paul 3rd

A day after lackluster showings in the Iowa caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of the Republican presidential nomination race Wednesday, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent several hours reassessing his candidacy before announcing he would remain in the contest.

Both onetime front-runners in Iowa, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Perry had tried to consolidate the state's bloc of socially conservative voters. But those voters split among multiple candidates, with former Sen. Rick Santorum drawing a big enough share to claim second place in the caucuses behind Mitt Romney.

Sources: Kasie Hunt on Bloomberg Businessweek, and OnTheIssues.org archives
Click for Michele Bachmann's issues stances.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D, NE) announces retirement: Dec. 28, 2011

Click for excerpts from Ben Nelson's voting record

Democrats lamented U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson's decision to retire rather than seek a third term in Nebraska, fearing the move sets up Republicans for an easy and crucial victory in their effort to reclaim control of the chamber next year.

Nelson, the lone Democrat in Nebraska's five-member congressional delegation, faced a tough re-election campaign against a large group of Republican challengers who have spent the past several months attacking his support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and federal stimulus legislation.

While some floated the names of state Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha and Nelson's former lieutenant governor, Kim Robak, as possible contenders, many said it was too early to know who might run. Messages seeking comment were left for Lathrop and Robak.

A dream candidate for Democrats: former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey. Traveling in India on Tuesday, Kerrey told The Washington Post, "Ben's retirement is a huge loss for Nebraska. I am very sad he's leaving. That is as far as I am going (right now)."

Sources: Associated Press on Fox News
Click for all issues stances by Ben Nelson

Jill Stein interview: Dec. 22, 2011

OnTheIssues interviews the Green Party nominee

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson will abandon his GOP presidential bid and seek the White House under the Libertarian Party banner.

Dr. Jill Stein is the Green Party nominee for President of the United States in 2012.

She ran as the Green Party nominee for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010 prior to entering the Presidential race.

Dr. Stein is a medical doctor who resides in Lexington Massachusetts.

This interview, which took place on Dec. 21, 2012, addresses our usual VoteMatch quiz plus the AmericansElect.org questions.

Sources: USA Today
Click for all Jill Stein's issue stances or Interview Excerpts or outline of the Green Party's issue stances.

Gary Johnson withdraws from GOP race: Dec. 21, 2011

Will run as Libertarian Party nominee

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson will abandon his GOP presidential bid and seek the White House under the Libertarian Party banner.

Johnson has drawn scant attention in the race for the Republican Party nomination and barely registered in national public opinion polls, which are often used as a criteria for participation in debates.

The former two-term governor participated in two of the 13 GOP debates this year: the first, in May in South Carolina, which lacked many of the big-name candidates, and most recently in Florida in September.

Sources: USA Today
Click for all Gary Johnson's issue stances or an outline of the Libertarian Party's issue stances.

Past Presidential Coverage: Dec. 17, 2011

OnTheIssues.org initiates coverage of past presidents

OnTheIssues.org today expands our coverage to include past presidents back to 1960. Please check out our new President's page.

1961-1963 John F. Kennedy Democrat
1963-1969 Lyndon Johnson Democrat
1969-1974 Richard Nixon Republican
1974-1977 Gerald Ford Republican
1977-1981 Jimmy Carter Democrat
1981-1989 Ronald Reagan Republican
1989-1993 George Bush Sr. Republican
1993-2001 Bill Clinton Democrat
2001-2009 George W. Bush Republican

Sources: OnTheIssues archives.
Click for all President's issue stances.

Mayoral Coverage: Dec. 16, 2011

OnTheIssues.org initiates coverage of big-city mayors

OnTheIssues.org today expands our coverage to include a dozen big-city mayors. Please check out our new Mayor's page which includes current mayors and numerous past mayors.

The long past mayor's list, of course, is why we cover mayors -- because they often "graduate" to higher offices which we already cover. Our new coverage includes:

Boston MA Tom Menino
Chicago IL Rahm Emanuel
Dallas TX Mike Rawlings
Houston TX Annise Parker
Los Angeles CA Antonio Villaraigosa
New York City NY Mike Bloomberg
New York City NY Rudy Giuliani
Newark NJ Cory Booker
Philadelphia PA Michael Nutter
Phoenix AZ Phil Gordon
Salt Lake City UT Rocky Anderson
San Antonio TX Julian Castro
San Diego CA Jerry Sanders

Sources: Mayoral press releases, Mayoral websites, and State of the City speeches.
Click for all Mayor's issue stances.

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