CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

ELECTIONS 2014

CONGRESS

SENATE ELECTIONS

HOUSE ELECTIONS

Who is America's
best Senator?


Wisconsin's
RON JOHNSON!

And here's why!


Senate


Will Harry Reid hang
on as Senate Majority
Leader in 2014?
Photo from foxnews.com
It is looking like it
might slip away.

It's going to be close…
Keep an eye on our
election coverage!

House


Can John Boehner keep
his raucous caucus in
the driver's in 2014?
oxnews.com
Probably, but only if he
avoids unforced errors
like a bruising brawl on
immigration.

Keep an eye on our
election coverage. There
will surely be lots of
twists and turns.

LATEST ELECTION NEWS


Cruz Announces Suspension of Campaign

May 3, 2016 - Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced tonight that he will discontinue his presidential campaign after being defeated in Indiana.

Cruz had expected to do well in Indiana, and indeed needed a good night to stay alive. That was not to be as early returns show Cruz losing all nine of the state's Congressional Districts, and losing in all but a half dozen of its 92 counties.

The last win for Cruz was a month ago in Wisconsin. Lopsided defeats since then in six Northeast states created a self-fulfilling negative feedback loop of doom.

Cruz asserted that even though the campaign is suspended, the movement will continue.

Expect Cruz stay in the Senate, lying in wait for another opportunity in 2020 to reclaim rightful place as the leader of the Anti-DC movement, that he must feel was heisted by Trump.




2014/12/15 - ELECTION WRAP-UP




REPUBLICANS WIN BIG!





SENATE NEWS


December 06, 2014 - Bill Cassidy (R) defeats incumbent Mary Landrieu (D), giving the GOP their ninth Senate pick-up of the election. How bad are things for Democrats in the South? The Republican carried Jefferson Davis Parish by a 42-point margin!

November 12, 2014 - The GOP has clinched another Senate pickup bringing their gain to eight seats, as the Associated Press has called Alaska for Dan Sullivan (R). But, unlike Ed Gillespie, Mark Begich (D) refuses to concede. Sullivan's 4% lead of 7,911 votes has held firm, with the spread currently at 7,712 votes with most of the absentee ballots now counted.

November 07, 2014 - Ed Gillespie (R) concedes his Virginia Senate race to incumbent Mark Warner (D), limiting Democrat losses to nine seats. Gillespie graciously bowed out without demanding a recount. His spirited campaign and magnanimous withdrawal leave him well positioned for future electoral endavours.

November 04, 2014 - Republicans come close to running the table, taking almost every Senate seat that was concievably within reach. The GOP took at least seven seats from Democrats with the potential for as many as ten, without losing any.



FINAL RESULTS





ELECTION REVIEW


The punditry, both from the left and right, has been in overdrive to spin the election, in one direction or the other. But what was it really about?

Some on the left say it was a rejection of incumbents. Well, that's only half right. It was a rejection of Democrat incumbents, Republican incumbents did just fine, thank you. We could go on and on sifting through the spin but we will not. Let's get to the heart of the matter.

Our view is that the GOP played it right, made the election about President Obama's policies. Obama is a brilliant politician, but a dreadful policymaker. With Obama's policies on the ballot without Obama, as in 2010, it is a nightmare for Democrats.

The last five elections have been about Obama. In a way, maybe even the last six - did the Obama era actually begin with his speech at the DNC convention in 2004? We were a multitude, those of us on the right who saw this train wreck coming. In fact, you almost wonder if Democrats wanted Kerry to lose in order to expedite the Obama era...?

In 2006 and 2008, with Obama on the ballot but not his policies, it was golden for Democrats. In 2012 with both Obama and his policies on the ballot, it was great for Obama, but a wash at best for Democrats. And in 2010 and 2012, with Obama's policies on the ballot but not Obama, it was nothing short of a nightmare for Democrats.

This election - 2014 - was Part 2 of the 2010 election. Between the two elections (which in substance is a single election in two parts), Democrat losses in the Senate, House, Governor's mansions and state houses are devastating. Just outrageous!

Democrats should consider this carefully. Obama's policies don't work. Their leadership is a cast of losers - Reid, Pelosi, Wasserman-Schultz. The far left that now dominates the Democratic Party repels moderates. They just don't get it, they don't realize the severity with which Nancy Pelosi is reviled by the rest of the nation. She will never be Speaker of the House ever again. Ever.

Hard left policies on the ballot, without the Demonizer-in-Chief on the bully pulpit, is a disaster for Democrats. But they don't see it that way, so it looks like Democrats are going to aim this ship at the rocks for a third time in 2016.

Obama's policies on the ballot without Obama. I guess they just haven't had enough of it yet.


Here's our review of the top Senate races. The number indicates our initial call in December 2013, while the order indicates our final call four days before the election. We were right, all along:

FIRST TIER OF LIKELY TURNOVERS
Republicans challengers are a lock to pick up these four seats from Democrats:
3. Montana — We rated this as a sure thing right from the start. We started it at 65%, then moved it to 80% and higher as the Democrats imploded.
1. West Virginia — As far back as 2013 we gave this race to the GOP. The Democrat Natalie Tennant was a decent candidate but she never stood a chance.
2. South Dakota — We initiated coverage at 70% chance of takeover, and never dropped it below 75% afterwards even when Larry Pressler (I) made things a bit dicey. We correctly predicted that Republicans would come home and stick with Mike Rounds.
5. Arkansas — We initiated this race as a GOP pickup and left it there, and so it came to be.

SECOND TIER OF LIKELY TURNOVERS
Republicans are well positioned to pick off all four of these Democrat seats, but none are guaranteed:
6. Louisiana — At no point did we have this race as anything but a GOP pick up.
4. Alaska — We had this as a GOP pickup from start to finish. Still, we expressed concern in our final report that Dan Sullivan's momentum had stalled, and, the finish closer than others had expected. The stupid "Willie Horton" attack ad put out by Mark Begich (D) may well have accounted for his margin of defeat, and with a bit more time he might have undone the damage.
9. Colorado — We initiated coverage in December 2013 as a pure toss-up. The moment Senator-elect Cory Gardner (R) and Representative-elect Ken Buck (R) cleverly traded races, we nudged the race into the GOP column, and never stopped nudging it further away from the incumbent Mark Udall (D).
7. Iowa — Like Colorado, this Democrat open seat started as a coin flip in December 2013. We left it there until the GOP primary, then moved it to the GOP column when the party united behind Joni Ernst. From there we kept moving it further from the Democrats.

THIRD TIER OF LIKELY TURNOVERS
These 4 seats - 2 GOP, 2 DEM - could go either way. Statistical ties. But it is more likely the GOP might sweep them than the Democrats:
10. North Carolina — We initiated this race as even money. In February we moved it to the GOP column with a 55% chance of takeover, and left it there until our final report where we moved it back to 50/50, while commenting "The recent drift has been ever so slight in favor of Thom Tillis." Kind of nailed it.
11. New Hampshire — We began with a "Dem Hold", noting, however, that a Scott Brown candidacy would take this race to the wire. After the primary we suspected he might overtake Jeanne Shaheen by Election Day, but in our final report we had it at 50/50. Which is about how it ended.
16. Georgia — In October it seemed like Michelle Nunn (D) had gained the upper hand with her outsourcing attack line, but David Perdue fought back hard - the final result was much wider than polling had indicated.
23. Kansas — Numerically we had this as even going in based on polls, but our gut feeling expressed in our commentary was born out in the final result - Republicans would "come home", "hold their noses", and "take care of business".

FOURTH TIER OF LIKELY TURNOVERS
Four races that might have developed into competitive races, but appear to be settling in favor of the incumbent party:
12. Minnesota — Probably the most boring of all the Senate contests. Oh, of course, Minnesnowda, never mind...
13. Virginia — Republicans always have a decent chance in a statewide race in reddish-purplish Virginia, and Ed Gillespie is a good candidate, so at the start we gave him a better chance than most others did. But he just couldn't seem to budge the needle against the popular incumbent, and we began to wonder if he ever would. But he valiantly fought on, and we could see things starting to move as he came within a hair of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
8. Michigan — This race was the mirror opposite of Virginia. It's a blue state, but throughout the winter and spring it really seemed as though Michigan wanted to elect a Republican to the Senate (keep an eye on this state in 2016). Unfortunately the GOP candidate "Bland" Terri Land ran a listless MIA campaign, giving Michigan voters no choice but to shake their heads in dismay and vote for Gary Peters, while simultaneously re-electing Republican Governor Rick Snyder by a comfortable margin. Bland Land snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
17. Kentucky — Republicans who loathe Mitch McConnell absolutely despise Harry Reid. All along we downplayed Democrats' chances, and we were right all along. McConnell smoked Grimes.

FIFTH TIER OF LIKELY TURNOVERS
In another year without such a bumper crop of low-hanging fruit, Republicans could have allocated resources to these races and made them competitive:
14. Oregon — The Republican Establishment got their insufficiently vetted candidate, Dr. Monica Wehby. Great resume, but the skeletons in her closets? Uh oh. This race should have been interesting in a much different way than it ended up being.
25. Illinois — On an otherwise bad night for Illinois Democrats, Durbin managed to win. Not a blowout, but not a nail-biter either, just a win, and a win is a win.
19. New Jersey — The unhurtful but unhelpful Cory Booker gets to continue his indifferent Senate career for another six years.
15. New Mexico — New Mexico is not out of reach for Republicans. Maybe next time.



SYNOPSIS
Post Election Review

So how did we do? Well, we basically nailed it.

First, in our ongoing commentary, we emphasized that the Republicans, after their huge gains in 2010, were unlikely to lose more than a few seats, in 2014 that it was able to hold in 2012. This turned out to be correct. We correctly had CA31 as the most vulnerable GOP district after a fluky win in 2012, and the GOP lost only two seats: NE02, and FL02.

Second, we pointed out that there were many vulnerable Democrat seats that were lost for sure, or could go either way. Going into the final week, we had the GOP ahead 233-176 with 26 mostly Democrat Districts as "Even". If you split the 26 down the middle, you end up exactly with the final score.

Third, we predicted that turnout would be on the low side, and that Republicans would benefit.

Looking at individual races, on the Democrat side, seven of our top-9 went down to defeat, calls we made early on, in February and March. A few we got wrong? We expected Dems to hold NV02 and NY24. We didn't miss any races entirely, but didn't think that the Democrat was sufficiently vulnerable to put IA01 or IL10 on the list.

On the Republican side, we expected the overall Republican lean of Nebraska to save NE02, and that Lee Terry's self-inflicted wounds would heal, but they proved terminal.

Regarding polling, a few late congressional polls that got us excited about Massachusetts proved to be nothing - Governor-elect Charlie Baker had no coattails. And we discounted late polls in Iowa and New York that showed sudden, late GOP strength, and these polls turned out to be predictive.

Overall, we feel entitled to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. For 2016, a Presidential election without Obama on the ballot, there will be a whole new dynamic, and we will need to develop our perspective as circumstances unfold.



COUNTDOWN
Week 01 Ending November 01, 2014

TOP-52 MOST VULNERABLE
Rank DEM Status Result GOP Status Result
1 UT04 Flip Flip CA31 Flip Flip
2 NC07 Flip Flip NY11 Even Hold
3 WV03 Flip Flip FL13 Hold Hold
4 NY21 Flip Flip IA03 Even Hold
5 GA12 Even Flip CA21 Hold Hold
6 MN07 Even Hold CO06 Hold Hold
7 NH01 Flip Flip NJ03 Even Hold
8 NH02 Flip Hold IL13 Even Hold
9 NY01 Even Flip NJ02 Hold Hold
10 NY18 Even Hold NE02 Hold Flip
11 AZ01 Even Hold NV03 Hold Hold
12 AZ02 Even Flip CA10 Hold Hold
13 FL18 Even Hold VA10 Hold Hold
14 TX23 Even Flip VA02 Hold Hold
15 CA07 Even Hold NY23 Hold Hold
16 CA36 Even Hold MI07 Hold Hold
17 IL12 Even Flip WA08 Hold Hold
18 OR05 Even Hold CA25 Hold Hold
19 AZ09 Even Hold MI11 Hold Hold
20 FL26 Even Flip FL27 Hold Hold
21 CA52 Even Hold PA08 Hold Hold
22 NV04 Hold Flip PA06 Hold Hold
23 MA06 Even Hold MI01 Hold Hold
24 ME02 Even Flip MI08 Hold Hold
25 HI01 Even Hold FL02 Even Flip
26 MA09 Even Hold AR02 Even Hold
27 MN08 Even Hold AR04 Hold Hold
28 NY24 Hold Flip WV02 Hold Hold
X1 IL10 Hold Flip -- -- --
X2 IA01 Hold Flip -- -- --
Even 26 Hold 2 Flip 6 Flip 16 Hold 21 Flip 1 Flip 3




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