Election Races to Watch in 2014

Author: NFIB Date: July 01, 2014

These U.S. Senate and governor races could impact your small business.

As we head into the final months before the 2014 midterm elections, candidates are gearing up for the push to the finish line. With strong anti-incumbency sentiment nationwide, unhappiness with the Affordable Care Act, congressional retirements and the emergence of competitive challengers, the midterm elections may potentially usher in a more business-friendly climate, particularly in the U.S. Senate, which may see a change in majority if Republicans gain six seats. Here are some Senate and governor races to watch.

U.S. Senate Midterm Election Races to Watch

Colorado: Rep. Cory Gardner (R) vs. incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D)

Representative Gardner served for five years in the Colorado state legislature before getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, representing Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. Since being sworn in, he co-sponsored a balanced budget amendment, voted to cut 5 percent from his congressional office budget, and introduced legislation that would help small business owners and families save for college. Gardner, with a 100 percent NFIB voting record, has a history of standing up for families and small businesses, advocating for lower taxes, and fighting against regulations that hurt farmers and obstruct job growth. His family’s farm equipment dealership has been a longtime NFIB member. Senator Udall, on the other hand, has a 23 percent lifetime NFIB voting record.

Iowa: U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D) vs. State Sen. Joni Ernst (R)

State Sen. Joni Ernst was elected to the Iowa State Senate in 2011 and there she has fought for fiscal responsibility, tax relief, better education, job growth and limited government. Prior to that, from 2004 to 2010, she served as the Montgomery County Auditor, where she worked for taxpayer savings, government accountability and elimination of government waste. State Sen. Ernst has more than 19 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserves and Iowa Army National Guard, as well as a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 to 2004. Ernst’s opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley, has an 18 percent NFIB voting record.

Other Senate Races to Watch:

*NFIB lifetime voting record percentages noted where applicable.

Arkansas: U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton (R), 100 percent vs. Sen. Mark Pryor (D), 49 percent

Georgia: U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, 98 percent/Businessman David Perdue (R) (candidate to be determined by July 22 runoff) vs. Non-profit group director Michelle Nunn (D)

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), 95 percent vs. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D)

Michigan: Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) vs. U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D), 14 percent

North Carolina: Sstate Rep. and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) vs. Sen. Kay Hagan (D), 28 percent

Oregon: Dr. Monica Wehby (R) vs. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D), 15 percent

West Virginia: U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R – 94 percent) vs. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D)

Key 2014 Governor Races to Watch

Florida: Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) vs. Gov. Rick Scott (R) vs.

Governor Scott was elected in 2010, and since then, he has introduced tax cuts, cut regulations and pared down the state debt. More than half a million private sector jobs have been created, and Florida’s overall business and educational environments have improved. Scott also has experience as a businessman, entrepreneur and innovator—in 1987 he started Columbia Hospital Corporation, which was one of the largest healthcare companies in the world by the time he left in 1997. He also founded Conservatives for Patients’ Rights to advocate for a free-market approach to healthcare, based on choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility. Crist, who served as governor prior to Scott, left the Republican Party ahead of an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2010.

Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Corbett (R) vs. Tom Wolf (D)

Since taking office in January 2011, Governor Corbett has worked to put Pennsylvanians back to work, reduce taxes, rein in government spending and make government more open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy. His top priorities have included job creation, fixing the pension crisis and investing in education. He hasn’t shied away from tough choices in his first term, either. When faced with a $4 billion deficit upon taking office, The New York Times reports, he still kept his word to not raise taxes and to cut spending. Wolf, a businessman and former state revenue secretary, has pledged to restart the state’s manufacturing sector and create middle-class jobs.

Other Governor Races to Watch:

Illinois: Bruce Rauner (R) vs. Gov. Pat Quinn (D)

Michigan: Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer (D) vs. Gov. Rick Snyder (R)

Maine: Eliot Cutler (I) vs. Gov. Paul LePage (R) vs. U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D)

Ohio: Gov. Ed FitzGerald (D) vs. John Kasich (R) 

South Carolina: Gov. Nikki Haley (R) vs. state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D)

Wisconsin: Mary Burke (D) vs. Gov. Scott Walker (R) 

To learn more about these and other candidates, visit grassroots.nfib.com and select “Find Your Candidates.” Or you can email Sharon Sussin, NFIB’s National Political Director.

To keep up to date on NFIB’s political activity, please follow us on Facebook at NFIB Action and on Twitter @NFIBAction.


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