United States elections, 2014
|Election day||November 4|
|Seats contested||33 seats of Class II
and 3 mid-term vacancies
|Net change||Republican +9, Democratic -9|
|Map of the 2014 Senate races
Democratic hold Republican hold Republican gain
Line through state means both Senate seats were up for election
|Seats contested||All 435 seats to the 114th Congress|
|Net change||Republican +13, Democratic -13|
Map of the 2014 House races
|Net change||Republican +2, Democratic -3, Independent +1|
|Map of the 2014 gubernatorial races
General elections in the United States were held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, and other elections were being held throughout the year. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 36 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate were contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia), four territorial legislatures, and numerous state and local races. This midterm election became the most expensive in history, with total spending reaching $3.7 billion (including spending by outside entities), while producing the lowest turnout since 1942.
The elections saw sweeping gains by the Republican Party in the Senate, House, and in numerous gubernatorial, state, and local races. The Republicans gained control of the Senate for the first time since 2006, and increased their majority in the House. The Republicans also gained two seats in governors' races.
Overall, the elections resulted in the largest Republican majority in the entire country in nearly a century, with 54 seats in the Senate, 247 (56.78%) in the House, 31 governorships (62%), and 68 state legislative chambers. Moreover, Republicans gained their largest majority in the House since 1928, the largest majority in Congress overall since 1928, and the largest majority of state legislatures since 1928.
Political scientist Gary C. Jacobson argues that the voters treated the election as a referendum on the economy and especially on Obama’s presidency. The result was the most partisan, nationalized, and president-centered midterm election in at least 60 years.
- 1 Issues
- 2 Federal elections
- 3 State elections
- 4 Local elections
- 5 Allegations of misconduct
- 6 Voting machine issues
- 7 Milestones
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The 2014 election lacked a "dominant national theme", with no single issue rising above all others. Some of the major issues of the election included income inequality, the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as "Obamacare"), and immigration.
Although it generated much debate in early 2014, the Keystone Pipeline ultimately received little attention in the election, with environmentalists instead focused on fighting global warming and supporting the EPA's proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. Another potentially important issue, net neutrality, received little attention during the campaign.
According to political commentator Stuart Rothenberg prior to the election, foreign policy crises in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia were likely to hurt the Democratic Party's chances in 2014.
Perhaps affected by the lack of a single key issue, nationwide voter turnout was just 36.4%, down from 40.9% in the 2010 midterms and the lowest since the 1942 elections, when just 33.9% of voters turned out, though that election came during the middle of World War II.
The states with the highest turnout were Maine (59.3%), Wisconsin (56.9%), Alaska (55.3%), Colorado (53%), Oregon (52.7%) Minnesota (51.3%), Iowa (50.6%), New Hampshire (48.8%), Montana (46.1%) and South Dakota (44.6%), all of which except for Iowa and Montana featured a competitive gubernatorial race and all of which except for Maine and Wisconsin also featured competitive Senate races. The states with the highest turnout that had no Senate or gubernatorial race that year were North Dakota (44.1%) and Washington state (38.6%).
The states with the lowest turnout were Indiana (28%), Texas (28.5%), Utah (28.8%), Tennessee (29.1%), New York (29.5%), Mississippi (29.7%), Oklahoma (29.8%), New Jersey (30.4%) and West Virginia and Nevada (31.8%). Indiana and Utah had no Senate or gubernatorial elections and the others all had races for at least one of the posts, but they were not considered competitive. Turnout in Washington, D.C. was (30.3%).
Analysis by the Pew Research Center found that 35% of non-voters cited work or school commitments which prevented them from voting, 34% said they were too busy, unwell, away from home or forgot to vote, 20% either didn't like the choices, didn't know enough or didn't care and 10% had recently moved, missed a registration deadline or didn't have transportation.
The New York Times counts apathy, anger and frustration at the relentlessly negative tone of the campaigns as the reasons of low turn out and stated that, "Neither party gave voters an affirmative reason to show up at the polls."
All 33 seats in Senate Class II were up for election. Additionally, three special elections were held to fill vacancies in Class III.
Of the 36 Senate races, the Republican Party won 24 (a net gain of nine seats, which represents the largest gain for a party in the Senate since 1980, and the largest Senate gain in a midterm since 1958) and the Democratic Party won 12, thus resulting in the Republicans regaining control of the Senate for the first time since 2006, with a total of 54 seats. The race in Louisiana headed to a run-off on December 6, 2014, in which Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) defeated 3-term incumbent Sen. Mary Landreiu 55.9% to 44.1%.
House of Representatives elections
All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives were up for election. Elections were held to select the delegates for the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories. The only seat in the House not up for election was the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, who serves a four-year term. The Republican party won 247 seats (a net gain of 13 seats) and the Democratic Party, 188 seats. Thus, the Republicans gained their largest majority in the House since 1928.
On March 11, there was a special election for Florida's 13th congressional district, won by the Republican Party.
Elections were held for the governorships of 36 of the 50 U.S. states and three U.S. territories. The Republican Party won 24 of the 36 state governorships (for a net gain of two seats), with the Democratic Party losing a total of three seats, and an independent candidate winning one (Bill Walker in Alaska). This marked the first time an incumbent Governor running for re-election in Pennsylvania lost in the modern era. The final total, as a result, was 31 Republican governors, 18 Democratic governors, and one Independent governor.
State legislative elections
Elections to state legislatures were held in 46 states, with a total of 6049 seats up for election (82 percent of the total number of state legislative seats in the United States). Republicans won control of 10 legislative chambers: both chambers of the Nevada Legislature, the Minnesota House of Representatives, New Hampshire House of Representatives, the New Mexico House of Representatives, the West Virginia House of Delegates, the Colorado Senate, the Maine Senate, the New York Senate, and the Washington Senate. This increased the total number of Republican-controlled state houses from 57 to 67. The day after the election, Republicans, who achieved a 17-17 tie in the West Virginia Senate, gained control of that chamber as well thanks to the defection of State Senator Daniel Hall, thus increasing their total gains to 11, for a final total of 68 state houses won. The election left the Republicans in control of the highest amount of state legislatures in the party's history since 1928, and also left the Democrats in control of the smallest amount of state legislatures since 1860.
Numerous elections were held for officeholders in numerous cities, counties, school boards, special districts, and others around the country.
Major cities which held mayoral elections in 2014 include:
- Louisville, Kentucky: Incumbent Greg Fischer was re-elected to a second term.
- New Orleans, Louisiana: Incumbent Mitch Landrieu was re-elected to a second term on February 1.
- Newark, New Jersey: Acting mayor Luis A. Quintana, who took over on November 4, 2013, after Cory Booker resigned to become U.S. Senator, declined to run for a full term. Ras J. Baraka was elected as Newark's new mayor on May 13.
- San Diego, California: A special election was held on February 11 following the resignation of Bob Filner on August 30, 2013. Kevin Faulconer defeated David Alvarez to serve out the balance of Filner's term.
- San Jose, California: Incumbent Chuck Reed is term-limited out of office. A primary election was held on June 3, and a run-off was held on November 4. Sam Liccardo edged out opponent Dave Cortese in a razor-thin victory with 50.8% of the vote.
- Shreveport, Louisiana: Imcumbent Cendric Grove is term-limited out of office.
- Washington, D.C.: Incumbent Vincent C. Gray was defeated in the Democratic primary on April 1 by Muriel Bowser. The general election was held on November 4 and Bowser was elected as mayor.
Allegations of misconduct
Connecticut State Representative Christine Ayala was arrested in September 2014 on 19 voting fraud charges, specifically "eight counts of fraudulent voting, 10 counts of primary or enrollment violations and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence." California State Senator Roderick Wright resigned from office in September 2014 and was sentenced to 90 days in the Los Angeles jail for perjury and voter fraud. Despite being convicted months earlier for 8 felonies, Wright was allowed to take a paid leave of absence as State Senator.
In Chicago, election judges said they had received automated phone calls between October–November 3 with apparently false instructions about voting or required training, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In Pontiac, Michigan, local Democrats cited reports of voter harassment and intimidation by Republicans over questioning legally-cast ballots with election workers repeatedly having had to ask them to step aside. A clerk called police for help.
Voting machine issues
Scattered issues with machine occurred, with miscalibrated machines recorded a vote cast for one candidate as a vote for another candidate. They occurred in Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, and North Carolina.
In Bexar County, Texas, the Republican candidate for governor, Greg Abbott, was accidentally replaced on the ballot by David Dewhurst on one machine, on which 12 votes were cast before the problem was caught.
A series of milestones were set for African-Americans and women, among others, in the U.S. Congress and American politics in general. These include:
- Republican Saira Blair, elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates, became the youngest elected official to state office in American history, at age 18.
- Republican Terry Branstad, the governor of Iowa, was re-elected to a sixth four-year term as governor, thus becoming the longest-serving governor in U.S. history (surpassing George Clinton of New York).
- Republican George P. Bush, the son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, was elected Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, becoming the first member of the Bush family to win his very first race for elected office.
- Republican Shelley Moore Capito, elected to the Senate from West Virginia, became the first female senator in West Virginia's history.
- Republican Joni Ernst, elected to the Senate from Iowa, became the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, the first woman ever elected on a statewide level in Iowa, and the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress from Iowa.
- Democrat Nellie Gorbea, elected Secretary of State of Rhode Island, became the first Hispanic to be elected to a statewide office in New England.
- Democrat Maura Healey, elected Massachusetts Attorney General, became the first openly gay state attorney general elected in America.
- Republican Will Hurd, elected to the House from Texas, was the first African-American Republican elected to Congress in Texas.
- Republican Mia Love, elected to the House from Utah, was the first African-American woman elected to Congress as a Republican, the first Haitian-American person elected to the U.S. Congress, and the first African-American elected to Congress from the state of Utah.
- Republican Martha McSally, the first American woman to fly in combat since the 1991 lifting of the prohibition of women in combat, as well as the first woman to command a USAF fighter squadron, was elected to the House from Arizona.
- Republican Alex Mooney, elected to the House from West Virginia, became the first Latino elected to Congress in West Virginia's history.
- Democrat Gina Raimondo, elected Governor of Rhode Island was the first woman elected governor in Rhode Island.
- Republican Tim Scott, elected to the Senate from South Carolina, was the first African-American in history to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate in a former Confederate state, and also became the first African-American to be elected to both the House and the Senate.
- Republican Elise Stefanik, elected to the House from New York, was the youngest woman elected to Congress at age 30. She beat the previous record-holder and fellow New Yorker, Elizabeth Holtzman, who was elected at age 31 in 1972.
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