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Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson both announce presidential candidacy: May 4, 2015

Both enter growing Republican field

Carly Fiorina (R,CA) was the CEO of Hewlett Packard, and the mainstream media will speculate endlessly about her status as the only female candidate in the GOP field.

Ben Carson (R,MD) was a pediatric neurosurgeon, and the mainstream media will speculate endlessly about his status as the only African-American candidate in the GOP field.

We summarize their issues stances below.

Carly Fiorina's issues stances Ben Carson's issues stances
    Fiorina on Domestic Issues
  • Gun Rights: Opposed 1994 assault weapon ban; opposes no-fly list gun ban
  • Crime policy: Supports capital punishment for certain crimes
  • School Choice: Supports less federal & more local control of education
  • Government Reform: Abolish earmarks; limit federal salaries
    Carson on Domestic Issues
  • Gun Rights: Law-abiding citizens have right to guns without registration
  • Crime policy: Stop politically-correct prejudice against blacks vs. whites
  • School Choice: School choice increases competitive nature of education
  • Government Reform: Too many lawyers in government; get more doctors in
    Fiorina on Economic Issues
  • Corporate Welfare: Focus on supporting small family-owned businesses
  • Mortgage Crisis: Key to recovery is less government, taxation, & regulation
  • Free Trade: Change rules about outsourcing; current climate forces it
    Carson on Economic Issues
  • Corporate Welfare: Highest corporate tax rate causes highest national debt
  • Mortgage Crisis: 1990s deregulation paved way for 2008 economic meltdown
  • Free Trade: Stop severe trade imbalance via stiff tariffs
    Fiorina on Social Issues
  • ObamaCare: Repeal ObamaCare; it's vast legislative overreach
  • Affirmative Action: Women professionals are not treated the same as men
  • Abortion: Overturn the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion
  • Same-sex Marriage: Marriage is between a man and a woman; but civil unions ok
    Carson on Social Issues
  • ObamaCare: ObamaCare is the worst thing since slavery
  • Affirmative Action: Compassionate Action instead of Affirmative Action
  • Abortion: The thought of abortion for convenience is repugnant
  • Same-sex Marriage: Redefining marriage is slippery slope with disastrous ending
    Fiorina on International Issues
  • Defense Policy: Keep Gitmo; don't try foreign terrorists in civilian court
  • Middle East: Impose crippling sanctions against Iran
  • Foreign Policy: Lack of American leadership causes world trouble
    Carson on International Issues
  • Defense Policy: Roman Empire fell because military was stretched too thin
  • Middle East: Morality of war in Iraq was highly debatable
  • Foreign Policy: US is exceptional, with different values than rest of world

Sources: OnTheissues archives
Click for Carly Fiorina (R,CA) stances on the issues, or Ben Carson (R,MD) stances on the issues.

Bernie Sanders (D-VT) announces presidential candidacy: April 30, 2015

Second major Democratic entrant

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced that he would run for president in 2016 as a Democrat. Sanders represents the progressive wing of the Democratic Party; the mainstream media will explore the politics of his taking on Hillary Clinton. We instead explore his issue stances:

Bernie Sanders' issues stances
    Domestic Issues
  • Gun Control: Voted YES on prohibiting foreign & UN aid that restricts US gun ownership
  • Criminal Sentencing: Require DNA testing for all federal executions
  • War on Drugs: Legalize medical marijuana
  • Campaign Finance: Citizens United opens up the road to oligarchy

    Economic Issues
  • Corporate Welfare: Cap deductions for CEO pay; count perks as profit
  • Mortgage Crisis: Cap the home mortgage interest deduction at $300,000
  • Environment: Cut subsidies of wealthy farmers; increase grazing fees
  • Free Trade: Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade

    Entitlement Issues
  • ObamaCare: Make health care a right, not a privilege
  • Affirmative Action: Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender
  • Welfare Reform: Voted YES on instituting National Service as a new social invention

    Social Issues
  • Family Planning: Provide emergency contraception at military facilities
  • Same-sex Marriage: ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays

    National Security Issues
  • Terrorism Policy: Bush’s tracking citizens’ phone call patterns is illegal
  • Middle East: Get Saudis & regional powers involved with fighting ISIS
  • Defense Budget: End nuclear weapons and B-2 bomber production
  • Anti-Communism Policy: Allow Americans to travel to Cuba

Sources: OnTheissues archives and book review of Outsider in the House by Senator Sanders.
Click for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I,VT) stances on the issues.

Marco Rubio (R-FL) announces presidential candidacy: April 13, 2015

Third major GOP entrant

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida announced that he would run for president in 2016. Marco Rubio represents the Tea Party wing of the GOP:

Rand Paul's issues stances
    Domestic Issues
  • Gun Rights: 2nd Amendment is a cornerstone of our democracy
  • Capital Punishment: Endless death row appeals hinder justice
  • War on Drugs: No responsible way to recreationally use marijuana
  • Term Limits: Term limits ensure new people and ideas

    Economic Issues
  • Budget Deficit: Real problem is $1T deficit each year since 2009
  • Business Tax Reform: Eliminate taxes on capital gains; lower corporate tax rates
  • ObamaCare: ObamaCare stifles entrepreneurship with regulation
  • Welfare Reform: War on Poverty shows big-government approach fails

    Social Issues
  • Family Planning: Expand birth control exemption for faith-based organizations
  • Gays in the Military: No evidence to change policy of don't ask, don't tell

    National Security Issues
  • Terrorism Policy: No greater risk than radical Islamic terrorists
  • Iranian Sanctions: Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment
  • Military Priorities: We've over-militarized our foreign policy
  • Cuba Policy: Cuba must improve on human rights for engagement to continue

Sources: OnTheissues archives
Click for Sen. Marco Rubio (R,FL) stances on the issues.

Hillary Clinton (D-NY) announces presidential candidacy: April 12, 2015

OnTheIssues releases book on Hillary Clinton's issue stances

Hillary Clinton announced that she would run for president in 2016. Hillary represents the establishment Democratic Party; the mainstream media will explore her opposition in her primary from progressives such as Warren and Sanders, and centrists such as O`Malley and Webb We instead explore her issue stances:

Hillary Clinton's issues stances
    Domestic Issues
  • Gun Control: Rein in idea that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime
  • Criminal Sentencing: Mandatory sentences have been too widely used
  • War on Drugs: Divert non-violent drug offenders away from prison
  • Voter Registration: Same-day voter registration; no oppressive ID requirements

    Economic Issues
  • Corporate Welfare: Enough with corporate welfare; enough golden parachutes
  • Budget Deficit: Look back to 1990s to see how I’d be fiscally responsible
  • Environment vs. Economy: $5B for green-collar jobs in economic stimulus package
  • Business Tax Reform: Perhaps raise capital gains tax, but at most to 20%

    Entitlement Issues
  • ObamaCare: Non-employer system better; but don’t turn back ObamaCare
  • Affirmative Action: Equal pay is not yet equal
  • School Vouchers: Supports public school choice; but not private nor parochial
  • Welfare Reform: 1990s welfare work requirement was critical step despite flaws

    Social Issues
  • Family Planning: Advocates birth control but OK with faith-based disagreement
  • Same-sex Marriage: I support gay marriage personally and as law
  • Personal Faith: I have always felt the presence of God in my life

    National Security Issues
  • Terrorism Policy: Called war on terror “Bush’s war” but has played active role
  • Iranian Sanctions: Political restraint against Iran’s Ahmadinejad was a mistake
  • International Alliances: NATO essential for evolving threats of the 21st century
  • Russia Policy: Take a harder line with Russia’s Putin

Sources: OnTheissues archives and our book Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush On The Issues
Click for Secy. Hillary Clinton (D,NY) stances on the issues.

Rand Paul (R-KY) announces presidential candidacy: April 7, 2015

OnTheIssues releases book on Rand Paul's issue stances

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky announced that he would run for president in 2016. Rand Paul represents the libertarian wing of the GOP and the Tea Party; the mainstream media will explore the politics and horse-race based on that; we instead explore his issue stances:

Rand Paul's issues stances
    Domestic Issues
  • Gun Rights: Don't let the liberals tread on the Second Amendment
  • Criminal Sentencing: Blacks look who's in prison & conclude cops out to get them
  • War on Drugs: War on drugs has unintentionally had a racial outcome
  • Term Limits: Instead of bringing home the bacon, bring home politicians

    Economic Issues
  • Corporate Regulation: Punishing the rich means the poor lose their jobs
  • Budget Deficit: We borrow $1M per minute; mandate a balanced budget
  • Environment vs. Economy: EPA regulations cost $15 trillion in 2012
  • Business Tax Reform: Cut corporate tax in half to create millions of job

    Entitlement Issues
  • ObamaCare: Compassion cannot be delivered in the form of coercion
  • Affirmative Action: Women won the "war on women": no longer downtrodden
  • School Vouchers: Allow school choice for everyone, white, brown, or black
  • Welfare Reform: Federal "gifts" don't generate wealth but perpetuate poverty

    Social Issues
  • Family Planning: Supports religious freedom to deny contraceptive coverage
  • Same-sex Marriage: Don't register guns federally, nor marriages
  • Flag Issues: End US aid to countries that burn our flag

    National Security Issues
  • Terrorism Policy: TSA is a testament to Islamic terrorist's success
  • Iranian Sanctions: Keep all options on the table, but don't declare war on Iran
  • Military Priorities: We've over-militarized our foreign policy
  • Cuba Policy: Good idea to end Cuba embargo; it hasn't worked

Sources: OnTheissues archives and our new book Rand Paul vs. Jeb Bush On The Issues
Click for Sen. Rand Paul (R,KY) stances on the issues.

Harry Reid (D-NV) announces retirement: March 27, 2015

Fourth incumbent Senator to announce retirement for 2016

Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016.

The job of Minority Leader of the United States Senate is just as important as being the Majority Leader. It gives you so much opportunity to do good things for this country. And that’s what I am focused on.

I am going to be here for another 22 months, and you know what I’m going to be doing? The same thing I’ve done since I first came to the Senate.

We have to make sure that the Democrats take control of the Senate again. And I feel it is inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources on me when I could be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that’s what I intend to do.

Reid's retirement sets up one of the hottest Senate races of the 2016 season. The other two hot races so far are OH and PA. The likely candidates who may run in the 2016 Senate races in those three states follow:

Nevada Senate candidatesOhio Senate candidatesPennsylvania Senate candidates

Sources: Statement from reid.senate.gov plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Harry Reid (D,NV) stances on the issues.

Dan Coats (R-IN) announces retirement: March 24, 2015

Third incumbent Senator to announce retirement for 2016

Sen. Dan Coats announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016. From 1981 to 1999, Coats served in the United States Congress, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate. Coats stepped down from his Senate seat in 1999. In 2001, Coats was named U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. Coats returned to the Senate in 2011.

There are now three incumbent Senators who have announced their retirement as of the 2016 election. The other two are Barbara Mikulski (D,MD) and Barbara Boxer (D,CA). The likely candidates who may run in the 2016 Senate races in those three states follow:

Indiana Senate candidatesMaryland Senate candidatesCalifornia Senate candidates

Sources: WTHR-13-Indiana's News Leader (3/24); Contra Costa Times (3/6); Baltimore Post-Examiner (3/4); plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Dan Coats (R,IN) stances on the issues.

Ted Cruz (R-TX) announces presidential candidacy: March 23, 2015

First major candidate to formally announce

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced that he would run for president in 2016, becoming the first Republican candidate to declare himself officially in the race.

What does a "formal announcement" or an "official declaration" mean? Nothing, actually, except that it generates news headlines. The legal status that matters is to form an "Exploratory Committee" that can accept campaign donations, or to create a website that can accept donations....

Candidates' Presidential Announcement Status

Sources: New York Times plus multiple news sources plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Sen. Ted Cruz (R,TX) stances on the issues.

Aaron Schock (R-IL) resigns: March 17, 2015

Special election will take place in summer 2015

Rep. Aaron Schock's resignation after six weeks of intense scrutiny over spending, travel and real estate deals marked a stunning fall for a politician once seen as a rising young voice in Congress. Schock, 33, the first member of Congress born in the 1980s, said he will step down March 31. He was in his fourth term in the House of Representatives, having served since 2009.

The Republican from Peoria, whose conduct has been the subject of investigations by several news organizations, admitted no wrongdoing in his resignation statement, saying only that the constant questions were a "great distraction." Once he steps down, Schock no longer will come under the jurisdiction of congressional ethics investigators. However, legal observers said the recent issues that have dogged Schock ever since the Washington Post on Feb. 2 wrote about his $40,000 "Downton Abbey" office decor could follow him into his post congressional life. The Federal Election Commission, or state or federal prosecutors in Illinois still could examine the allegations leveled against Schock to determine if he violated the law.

Schock easily won re-election in November, but the spate of recent media reports quickly led to rumors he would resign. Still, just a week ago, Schock said, "I'm not going anywhere."

Schock's resignation becomes official March 31, and once that happens, Governor Bruce Rauner will call a special election for Schock's Illinois district. State law requires the governor to set the date for a special election within five days. Primary and general elections would be held, and by law the congressional seat must be filled within 120 days.

Republican state Sen. Darin LaHood said he's interested in running in the special election. He is the son of Ray LaHood, a former Peoria congressman and U.S. transportation secretary.

Also interested in the special election in the heavily Republican congressional district is state Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington. And state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who ran for Illinois governor three times, said he "won't say no" at this point to a potential congressional bid.

Sources: Multiple news sources plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Aaron Schock (R,IL) stances on the issues.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) indicted: March 7, 2015

Subject of criminal investigation by federal Dept. of Justice

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is the subject of an investigation into his relationship with a wealthy Florida eye doctor and political donor, including trips to the Dominican Republic on Dr. Salomon Melgen’s private aircraft and actions Sen. Menendez allegedly took regarding Medicare payments that would have benefited the ophthalmologist. Menendez also is said to have intervened regarding a port security business in the Dominican Republic in which Dr. Melgen had a financial interest.

At a news conference Friday, Menendez strong denied any wrongdoing. "Let me be very clear, I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law," he said. "Every action that I and my office have taken for the last 23 years that I have been privileged to be in the United States Congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and this entire country."

Political notes:

If the Senator faces a criminal trial, and/or is convicted, he is not REQUIRED to resign, but might feel morally obligated to do so. Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR) recently resigned when his fiancee got indicted -- so Menendez might also.

If Menendez resigns, what happens? New Jersey faced the same situation a few years ago, and here was the series of events:

Sources: Christian Science Monitor plus OnTheissues archives
Click for issue stances of Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Rand Paul (R-KY) wins CPAC poll: Feb. 28, 2015

Conservative Political Action Conference poll results below

Sen. Rand Paul won The Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll for the third time in a row while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surged to second place. Sen. Ted Cruz slipped to third place, down a rung from his showing last year, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in fourth and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fifth. Mr. Bush was booed by the crowd when his name was announced in the poll results, suggesting how polarizing a figure he is among conservatives.

The more than 3,000 activists who voted at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference also showed commanding support for legalizing marijuana, with a strong plurality of 41 percent saying it should be legal for recreational use, and another 26 percent saying Americans should be able to at least use it for medicinal purposes with permission of a doctor.

And the activists were overwhelmingly in favor of Congress using its power of the purse to halt President Obama’s new deportation amnesty, with more than three-quarters of voters saying they agree — and a stunning 60 percent saying they “strongly agree” with the tactic.

Sources: Washington Times plus OnTheissues archives
Click for 2014 CPAC speech excerpts.

Governor John Kitzhaber (D, OR) resigns: Feb. 13, 2015

Blames "intense media scrutiny" of himself and fiancee

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced Friday he would resign amid a mounting ethics scandal involving him and his fiancée -- even as he remained defiant, lashing out at the media and former allies: “I am announcing today that I will resign as governor of the state of Oregon,” Kitzhaber said in a written statement.

The rapidly accelerating political pressure to resign, coupled with various investigations and intense media scrutiny, proved too much to withstand. The governor took a few parting shots at his critics in his statement on Friday, calling it "deeply troubling to me to realize that we have come to a place in the history of this great state of ours where a person can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced by the media with no due process and no independent verification of the allegations involved." He added: "But even more troubling -- and on a very personal level as someone who has given 35 years of public service to Oregon -- is that so many of my former allies in common cause have been willing to simply accept this judgment at its face value. It is something that is hard for me to comprehend -- something we might expect in Washington, D.C. but surely not in Oregon.”

Two days ago, Kitzhaber had said he had no intention of resigning, despite growing pressure from almost every single top lawmaker in Oregon, including his friends and one-time political allies. Kitzhaber maintained he has broken no laws but understands he has “become a liability to the very institutions and policies to which I have dedicated my career and, indeed, my entire adult life.”

Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat like Kitzhaber, was expected to assume the office and become the first openly bisexual governor in the country. Unlike most states, Oregon does not have a lieutenant governor, and the state Constitution puts the secretary of state next in line.

Kitzhaber has been embroiled in a series of controversies involving his fiancee Cylvia Hayes. The pressure mounted earlier this week. First, the state attorney general, who is also a Democrat, confirmed she had opened a criminal investigation. Then on Thursday, the two top-ranking Democrats in the legislature called on Kitzhaber to step down. The spiral marks a remarkable fall for a politician in his fourth term as governor, and who has been an elected leader in Oregon for 37 years.

Sources: The Oregonian
Click for excerpts from Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR) or Kate Brown (D-OR).

State of the Union speech: Jan. 20, 2015

Coverage of Obama's speech and five Republican responses

A summary sampling of OnTheissues' excerpts:

    Pres. Barack Obama:
  • On Abortion: Teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows
  • On Budget & Economy: Should economy benefit the few, or everyone?
  • On Education: Lower the cost of community college to zero
  • On Energy & Oil: 14 warmest years on record occurred in last 15 years
  • On Families & Children: Childcare is an economic priority; not a side-issue
  • On Foreign Policy: Cuba: When something doesn't work for 50 years, change it
  • On Government Reform: Right to vote is sacred & is being denied to too many
  • On Health Care: ObamaCare didn't crush jobs nor explode deficits
  • On Homeland Security: Finish the job: it's time to close Gitmo
  • On Jobs: Best employment growth since 1999; the crisis is past
  • On Technology: Out to space not just to visit; but to stay
  • On War & Peace: I will veto any new sanctions against Iran
  • On War & Peace: Authorize the use of force against ISIL

    Sen. Joni Ernst (R, IA):
  • On Abortion: Protecting most vulnerable is important measure of society
  • On Energy & Oil: Keystone Jobs Bill: many jobs; minimal environmental impact
  • On Free Trade: Tear down trade barriers in Europe & the Pacific
  • On Health Care: Failed mindset gave us policies like ObamaCare
  • On War & Peace: Comprehensive plan to defeat ISIL and al Qaeda

    Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY):
  • On Budget & Economy: We borrow $1M per minute; mandate a balanced budget
  • On Corporations: No safety net cuts until corporate welfare is all cut
  • On Foreign Policy: We've over-militarized our foreign policy
  • On Health Care: Compassion cannot be delivered in the form of coercion
  • On Homeland Security: Military should be second to none; so audit the Pentagon
  • On Welfare & Poverty: Federal "gifts" don't generate wealth but perpetuate poverty

Sources: White House transcript, National Journal, and Miami Herald
Click for excerpts from the 2014 State of the Union and the 2015 State of the Union.

Governor's State of the State speeches: Jan 7-14, 2015

Coverage begins with AZ, KY, NJ, NY, VA, and WI

OnTheIssues covers governor's State of the State speeches as a primary source of issue material for incumbent governors. State of the State speeches traditionally occur early in the year: mostly in January, but some into February and March. We focus on newly-elected Governors and also on governors considering a presidential run. Below is our initial coverage; check back as more speeches are made....

AZ: State of the State speech by newly-elected Governor Doug Ducey (R); Jan. 12, 2015
KY: State of the Commonwealth speech by Governor Steve Beshear (R); Jan. 7, 2015
NJ: State of the State speech by Governor Chris Christie (R, considering run for presidency); Jan. 12, 2015
NY: State of the State speeches by Former Governor George Pataki (R, considering run for presidency); Jan. 5, 2006 and Jan. 4, 2006
VA: State of the Commonwealth speech by Governor Terry McAuliffe (D, elected in 2013); Jan. 12, 2015
WI: State of the State speech by Governor Scott Walker (R, considering run for presidency); Jan. 12, 2015

Click on the candidates above to see their issue stances; and check back in the coming weeks to see additional SOTS coverage.

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives.
Click for 2014 State of the State speeches and 2015 State of the State speeches.

New Congress sworn in: Jan. 6-8, 2015

Republicans officially take over Senate

The "freshman class of 2015" got sworn in to the House and Senate this week. OnTheIssues.org has created a new issues page for eahc and every incoming House and Senate member, covering the basics of their campaign promises and their political philosophy. Over the coming months, we will add to that their bill sponsorships and voting record, for comparison to their campaign promises.

Governors are generally sworn in during the first week of January also, but on a schedule determined by each state. Each and every newly-elected governor also has a new page linked below.

Sources: OnTheIssues Archives
Click for Senate debate coverage.

Michael Grimm (R-NY) resigns House seat: Dec. 30, 2014

Resigns before being sworn in!

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) has resigned from Congress after winning re-election in November, but before the swearing-in ceremony for the new Congress in January. By choosing to resign now, instead of dropping out of the re-election race, Grimm's choice will cost the taxpayers of New York millions of dollars to run a special election in 2015 to replace him. Details from the New York Daily News:

Rep. Michael Grimm plans to resign from Congress in the wake of his guilty plea on a felony tax evasion charge. Grimm (R, Staten Island) said after he entered his plea last week that he would continue to serve in the House. But he reversed course after speaking Monday to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has taken a hard line on Republicans facing ethics charges.

Before his plea, Grimm had been scheduled to go on trial Feb. 2 on charges of evading taxes by hiding more than $1 million in receipts and wages at Healthalicious, a Manhattan restaurant he owned before he was elected to Congress in 2010. Despite the charges, Grimm easily won reelection on Nov. 4, beating Democrat Domenic Recchia 55% to 42%. Grimm said during that campaign that he would resign his seat if a conviction left him "unable to serve." After pleading guility he said that he still could serve. But on Monday he concluded his position was untenable

Grimm's resignation will mean Gov. Cuomo has to call a special election to fill the seat. GOP candidates could include Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and state Sen. Andrew Lanza. Democratic contenders could include former Rep. Michael McMahon and Assemblyman Michael Cusick. [The special election for New York’s 11th congressional district will be held on May 5, 2015].

Sources: New York Daily News plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Michael Grimm's issue positions.

Martha McSally (R-AZ) wins last House seat: Dec. 17, 2014

Incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) defeated

Republican Martha McSally has finally and officially been declared the winner in a very, very close Congressional race. McSally won by 167 votes, a Superior Court judge announced this morning.

The original vote count was so close — less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the votes — that a recount was required. The first tally after the general election 43 days ago showed McSally winning by 161 votes.

McSally ousted incumbent Ron Barber, a Democrat who served one full term and one partial term after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords resigned to recover from injuries sustained in a Jan. 8, 2011 assassination attempt that left six people dead and both she and Barber severely injured.

This was McSally's third run for Congress in District 2. In 2012, Barber won by 2,454 votes — less than 1 percent of ballots cast.

Sources: Arizona Daily Star plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Ron Barber's issue positions.

Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wins Senate seat: Dec. 6, 2014

Incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) defeated

Bill Cassidy has done what Republicans have tried nearly 20 years to accomplish. He's beaten Mary Landrieu to become Louisiana's next United States senator. Cassidy won 56 percent to 44 percent, with all precincts reporting.

A doctor by trade, Cassidy spent most of his professional life working in the LSU charity hospital system. He served in the Louisiana Senate about two years before he was elected to Congress in 2008 over incumbent Democrat Don Cazayoux. He has represented the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District ever since.

Cassidy rode a wave of Republican support that swept the nation during the midterm elections. Voters in Louisiana were angry with President Barack Obama and his policies, particularly the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy used Landrieu's vote for the law against her to motive people to oust her from office. His ads hammered home the message. "She represents Barack Obama. I represent you." "A vote for her is a vote for him." "Remember: Mary Landrieu... Barack Obama... 97 percent."

Landrieu, who has served for three terms, attempted to make the race about her record of delivering for the state, but she couldn't shake the Obama connection. Saturday's election might have brought an end to her political career that began in the Louisiana legislature when she was just 25 years old. The daughter of former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, she has spent her entire life in the public eye as a member of one of the state's most prominent families.

Cassidy's path to victory was due in no small part to his ability to unify the party. The tactic cleared the field for all except one major candidate, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness who ran underneath the Tea Party banner. Maness' votes in the primary likely cost Cassidy a win a month ago. But Maness quickly endorsed Cassidy and appeared with him on the campaign trail. Numerous potential Republican presidential candidates like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal as well as national conservative figures like Sarah Palin stumped for Cassidy at unity rallies in an effort to show voters Republicans of every stripe were committed to Cassidy.

In other Louisiana runoff races, the winners were Ralph Abraham (R-LA-5) and Garret Graves (R-LA-6).

Sources: Cole Avery in New Orleans Times Picayune, Dec. 6, 2014 plus OnTheissues archives
Click for Bill Cassidy's and Mary Landrieu's issue positions.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigns: Nov. 24, 2014

Obama may appoint replacement during Lame Duck session

Huffington Post:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down from President Barack Obama's Cabinet, following a tenure in which he has struggled to break through the White House's insular foreign policy team.

Hagel is the first senior Obama adviser to leave the administration following the sweeping losses for Obama's party in the midterm elections. It also comes as the president's national security team has been battered by multiple foreign policy crises, include the rise of the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Hagel agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, an administration official said. The official said both Hagel and Obama "determined that it was time for new leadership in the Pentagon," adding that they had been discussing the matter over a period of several weeks.

Hagel is a Republican who served as senator from Nebraska and became a critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Obama nominated him to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary in his second term. Hagel served in the Vietnam War and received two Purple Hearts.

OnTheIssues comments:

  • This Cabinet shakeup indicates that Obama has a new policy on ISIL in which Hagel just didn't fit in.

  • It is more about anti-terrorism policy than about the midterm elections -- we think the Huffington Post is focusing on politics while this resignation is actually about policy. Hagel is a Republican, and removing the one senior Republican from the Cabinet does not fit with the "midterm election response" theory.

  • On the midterm elections: As of today (Nov. 24) there is only one House race left undecided: AZ-2, Martha McSally (GOP) vs. Ron Barber (Dem), which is being litigated and recounted for the next week or perhaps several weeks.

  • The Louisiana runoff election is coming up in two weeks, on Dec. 6, with one Senate seat and two House seats up for grabs.

  • There are 10 newly-elected Governors nationwide; OnTheIssues has already covered 5 of them (linked below) and the remaining 5 will be posted this week.

  • There are 58 newly-elected House members nationwide (not including McSally); OnTheIssues has already covered 31 of them (linked below) and the remaining 29 (including whoever wins in Louisiana) will be posted by mid-December.

Sources: Huffington Post and OnTheIssues Archives
Click for Cabinet coverage.

What's left undecided? Nov. 6, 2014

Still pending after the Tuesday vote

When is the election over? Well, actually, there is a concrete answer to that, and it is NOT "When the loser concedes" (details on that after the candidate list!) The answer is, "When the board of elections certifies the final results." That might happen shortly after the close of the polls (by a couple of days; but never as soon as the TV networks say!). The dozen races below are not yet completed -- mostly because they were too close to quickly count.

Sometimes, the losing candidate can request a "recount." Each state defines the rules for that, such as "within 1% difference." Several of the close races below might have recounts -- sometimes state law dictates an automatic recount in very close races. Sometimes the losing candidate is required to pay for the recount, if it's not very close (say, above 1% but below 3% difference).

In two states in the list below (Vermont and Louisiana), there was no winner, because state law requires that the winner exceed 50% of the vote. In most races in those states, the winner DID get over 50%, but in the ones listed below, there will be a "runoff" (details and dates below). Georgia was expected to have a runoff in either the Senate or Governor's race or both, but in both of those races the winner got cleanly over 50%.

So are all the elections over except the ones listed below? Well, you probably watched some TV news network report on Tuesday night their definitive checkmarks next to each winners' name -- but those "projections" are entirely up to the rules of the TV station (see details on TV baloney after the list too!) The ACTUAL official winners are being declared, starting today, based on official counts -- see details in California section below -- but in any race that is not very close, the winner is "projected" by TV networks on Tuesday evening after preliminary counting. Our list below is based on The Los Angeles Times' declarations of "winners." For comparison, see ABC-7 L.A.'s list of "races that are still too close to project": ABC-7 omits the following races: AK-Gov; CA-7; CA-9; CA-16; CA-17; CA-26; CA-31; and MD-6 (i.e., those all have projected winners according to ABC, but not according to the L.A. Times). And ABC-7 would ADD the AZ-1 House race and the CT-Governor race to our list -- in other words, there is no real agreement at all, until the official counts are done later this week!

RacePreliminary vote counts
Higher preliminary count and percent listed first; * indicates incumbent; click on links for full issue stances
AK-GovBill Walker (NPA) 107,395 48.0% Sean Parnell (GOP)* 104,230 46.6% (called for Walker, Nov. 16)
AK-SenDan Sullivan (GOP) 110,203 49.0% Mark Begich (Dem) * 102,054 45.3% (called for Sullivan, Nov. 12)
AZ-2Martha McSally (GOP) 94,103 50.3% Ron Barber (Dem) * 92,810 49.7% (called for McSally, Dec. 17)
MD-6John Delaney (Dem) * 89,811 49.6% Daniel Bongino (GOP) 87,708 48.4% (called for Delaney, Nov. 7)
NY-25Louise Slaughter (Dem) * 93,053 50.2% Mark Assini (GOP) 92,471 49.8% (called for Slaughter, Nov. 13)
VA-SenMark Warner (Dem) * 1,071,283 49.2% Ed Gillespie (GOP) 1,054,556 48.4% (called for Warner, Nov. 7)
WA-4Dan Newhouse (GOP) 55,600 51.0% Clint Didier (GOP) 53,352 49.0% (called for Newhouse, Nov. 8)
    California has numerous unresolved races, so we explored the state's rules for counting votes and for recounts:
  • The "official canvas" (vote counts) must begin by the Thursday following the election (today) and continue at least 6 hours per day until completed.
  • The state can order an "Elections Official-Ordered Recounts" if there's reason to believe the count was mistaken (such as a very close count), but there are no specific percentage guidelines as some states have.
  • A candidate (or any voter) can request a recount but is required to pay the full cost. That request must occur within 5 days of the completion of the vote count (that's next Tuesday, for those that finished today)
CA-7Doug Ose (GOP) 56,284 51.4% Ami Bera (Dem) * 53,273 48.6% (called for Bera, Nov. 19)
CA-9Jerry McNerney (Dem) * 40,244 51.5% Tony Amador (GOP) 37,847 48.5% (called for McNerney, Nov. 8)
CA-16Johnny Tacherra (GOP) 35,207 50.5% Jim Costa (Dem) * 34,471 49.5% (called for Costa, Nov. 19)
CA-17Mike Honda (Dem) * 44,103 52.3% Ro Khanna (Dem) 40,173 47.7% (called for Honda, Nov. 7)
CA-26Julia Brownley (Dem) * 63,811 50.2% Jeff Gorell (GOP) 63,281 49.8% (called for Brownley, Nov. 14)
CA-31Pete Aguilar (Dem) 40,123 51.0% Paul Chabot (GOP) 38,488 49.0% (called for Aguilar, Nov. 7)
CA-52Carl DeMaio (GOP) 72,431 50.3% Scott Peters (Dem) * 71,679 49.7% (called for Peters, Nov. 8)
Vermont election laws specify that when no candidate gets 50% of the vote, that the state legislature decides. That vote will take place in January, when the legislature convenes. The legislature can vote for any candidate, but since the Vermont legislature is majority Democratic and the Democrat won the plurality vote, there is no expectation that anyone other than the incumbent will win.
VT-GovPeter Shumlin (Dem) * 89,883 46.4% Scott Milne (GOP) 87,788 45.3% Dan Feliciano (Lib) 8,468 4.4%
Louisiana election laws specify that when no candidate gets 50% of the vote, a runoff occurs with the top two vote-getters. The runoff vote is scheduled for December 6th. All three of the races will be hotly contested -- with party resources pouring in on both sides.
LA-SenMary Landrieu (Dem) * 618,840 42.1% Bill Cassidy (GOP) 602,439 41.0% Rob Maness (GOP) 202,413 13.8% (called for Cassidy, Dec. 6)
LA-5Jamie Mayo (Dem) 67,610 28.2% Ralph Abraham (GOP) 55,487 23.2% Zach Dasher (GOP) 53,627 22.4% Vance McAllister (GOP) * 26,605 11.1% (called for Abraham, Dec. 7)
LA-6Edwin Edwards (Dem) 77,852 30.1% Garret Graves (GOP) 70,706 27.4% Paul Dietzel (GOP) 35,013 13.5% Dan Claitor (GOP) 26,520 10.3% (called for Graves, Dec. 7)

So what about those well-publicized and well-televised "concession speeches"? At midnight on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Martha Coakley announced that she would not be offering any concession speech, and my friends wondered, "What if a candidate NEVER concedes?" Well, that's meaningless -- the concession speeches have no legal significance whatsoever.

For example, in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, Martha Coakley decided not to give a concession speech until 11 AM Wednesday morning, despite losing by nearly 40,000 votes on Tuesday evening. Her opponent Charlie Baker politely withheld his victory speech, but that was just politeness. If Coakley never gave her concession speech, and regardless of whether Baker "declared victory" or not, the state board of elections would have gone about their business, and declared the actual winner on their own schedule. The mainstream media routinely report irrelevant baloney on this point: in the Massachusetts race, for example, the Boston Globe headline read, "Charlie Baker victorious as Martha Coakley concedes in governor’s race," implying that his victory came BECAUSE of her concession, when the facts are otherwise. That article confidently but wrongly asserts that Baker met with outgoing Governor Deval Patrick "after Coakley officially conceded the race." But there is no such thing as an "official" concession -- Baker could have met with Patrick at any time to discuss the transition -- and there is no requirement to "officially" declare anything!

You'll recall that in the Senate Republican primary in Mississippi over the summer, Chris McDaniel refused to concede for weeks, and sued all the way to the state Supreme Court. His opponent went on campaigning in the general election, and the ballots went on getting printed without McDaniel's name, regardless of the lack of a "concession." So next time you hear about "official" concession speeches, be aware that the mainstream media is simply spouting baloney!

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives, Boston Globe (Nov. 5); and Los Angeles Times (Nov. 6).
Click for Gubernatorial winners' list, or Senate winners' list.

Newly-elected members of Congress and Governors: Nov. 4, 2014

Who's new? (Non-incumbent winners)

The list below include races where any non-incumbent won, which means an outsider got elected.

The list is separated into 3 rows: Governors, Senate, and House; and into 2 columns: Republicans and Democrats.

A linked name means OnTheIssues has set up a page detailing the candidate's issue stances; an unlinked name means we will do so shortly.

Check back in coming days as we fill out the list as final results become known, and in coming weeks as we fill out the issue coverage of every newly-elected outsider.

    * Asterisked names indicate those who served previously in the United States House of Representatives

    ** Double-asterisked names indicate those who won special elections and hence will be sworn in immediately, rather than in January

    (D⇒R) and (R⇒D) indicate that the seat changed party control

Click on the newly-elected officials above to see their issue stances; and check back in the coming months as we "freshen" their coverage with their actions in office.

Sources: OnTheIssues.org archives (updated Nov. 7)
Click for Gubernatorial debate coverage, or Senatorial debate coverage.

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