Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
|This article is part of a series on the|
|United States Senate|
|History of the United States Senate|
|Politics and procedure|
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States Senate. It is the only organization solely dedicated to electing Democrats to the United States Senate. The DSCC's current Chairman is Senator Jon Tester of Montana, who succeeded Senator Michael Bennet following the United States Senate elections, 2014. The DSCC's current Executive Director is Tom Lopach, who is assisted by Deputy Executive Director Preston Elliott.
List of Chairs
|Name||State||Term of Service|
|Bennett Johnston, Jr.||LA||1976-1977|
|Wendell H. Ford||KY||1977-1983|
2011-12 election cycle
In 2012, 23 Democratic Senate seats were available, as opposed to 10 Republican seats. An increase of four seats would have given the GOP a Senate majority. In the election, three GOP seats and one Democratic seat was lost, increasing the Democratic majority by two.
DSCC executive director said their strategy was to “localize” elections – make them “a choice between the two people on the ballot...and not simply allow it to be a nationalized election”. Because this is not easy to do in a presidential election year, the DSCC has gone very much on the offensive, depicting Republican candidates and donors, and especially the Tea Party, as extreme. During the Florida and Indiana primaries, they are pushing that the Tea Party is working to move the GOP "so far to the right that candidates will say anything to get their party's nomination". The GOP is targeting four red states to pick up the seats they need for a Senate majority. They were looking at states that didn't swing for President Obama in 2008: Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota.
2013-14 election cycle
In 2013, 21 Democrats were up for either re-election or election to complete the six-year term. In order to have a majority, the Republicans were required to attain at least 51 seats in the Senate. The Democrats would have been able to retain a majority with 48 seats (assuming the two Independents continued to caucus with them) because, in event of a tie vote, Vice President Joe Biden becomes the tie-breaker. Many of the incumbents were elected in the Democratic wave year of 2008 along with President Obama's first election.
Although Democrats saw some opportunities for pickups, the combination of Democratic retirements and numerous Democratic seats up for election in swing states and red states gave Republicans hopes of taking control of the Senate. 7 of the 21 states with Democratic seats up for election in 2014 had voted for Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Democrats also faced the lower voter turnout that accompanies mid-term elections.
By midnight ET, most major networks projected that the Republicans would take control of the Senate. The party held all three competitive Republican-held seats (Kentucky, Kansas, and Georgia), and defeated incumbent Democrats in North Carolina, Colorado, and Arkansas. Combined with the pick-ups of open seats in Iowa, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, the Republicans made a net gain of 7 seats before the end of the night. In the process of taking control of the Senate, Republicans defeated three incumbent Democrats, a task the party had not accomplished since the 1980 election. Five of the seven confirmed pickups were in states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, but two of the seats that Republicans won represent states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 (Colorado and Iowa). Of the three races that were not called by the end of election night, Alaska and Virginia were still too close to call, while Louisiana held a December 6 run-off election. Virginia declared Democrat Mark Warner the winner of his race by a narrow margin over Republican Ed Gillespie on November 7, and Alaska declared Dan Sullivan the winner against Democratic incumbent Mark Begich a week later, on November 12. Republican Bill Cassidy defeated Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu in the Louisiana runoff on December 6.
Days after the election, the United States Election Project estimated that 36.6% of eligible voters voted, 4% lower than the 2010 elections, and possibly the lowest turnout rate since the 1942 election.