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GFOA of NJ 2014 General Election Recap

Thursday, November 6, 2014   (0 Comments)
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GFOA of NJ Review of 2014 General Election

Following the 2014 midterm elections, control of Congress will shift to the Republican Party in early January 2015.  Party control of the Congressional houses has historically shifted in cycles.  In the Senate, Democrats lost at least 7 seats to Republican candidates, bringing the count for the next congress to 44 Democrats, 52 Republicans, and one independent. A couple of races are still to be decided. In Alaska it appears that the incumbent Sen. Mark Bagich has lost to Republican Dan Sullivan. The close race in Virginia is subject to a recount, but pundits forecast that Sen. Mark Warner will eventually be declared the winner by a small margin. In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu is thought to be very vulnerable in a Dec. 6 run-off based on the November 4th election returns.

In the House, Democrats lost 14 seats giving Republicans 243 seats to the Democrats 176.  In addition to strong Republican victories in congressional races, the Republican wave also affected statehouse elections. The GOP won surprise victories by electing governors in such blue states as Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland.  Republican incumbent governors won reelection in tight races in Florida, Kansas, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin. Of the 36 governor races, Republicans appear to have won 31 of them.

The new session will bring Republican sponsored legislation that was previously stalled in the House to a new track through the Senate.  As the current session closes, there are over 350 House-passed bills that have not received consideration in the Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell, incoming Senate Majority Leader, has pledged to get the Senate “back to work and to restore the right of members of both parties” to offer amendments to proposed legislation. 

With Republican majorities in both houses in the next Congress, the legislative branch can be expected to act on legislation that was not afforded consideration in the current Senate. Though incoming McConnell and House Speaker Boehner have spoken of the need for cooperation with the White House, tensions can be expected. The Senate still lacks the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster, as well as the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto, which President Barack Obama has said he will use to block any legislation he opposes.

While the election added many Republicans to congress, New Jersey re-elected Democrat Corey Booker to the Senate for a 6-year term, defeating Republican challenger Jeff Bell. Booker defeated Bell with ease, winning by nearly 16 points. In the House, New Jersey elected three new congressional representatives: Donald Norcross (D), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D), and Tom MacArthur (R). Democrat Donald Norcross of District 1, a former state senator, defeated Garry Cobb. Republican Tom MacArthur of District 3 defeated Democrat Aimee Belgard, in a close race. Finally, Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman won the 12th district seat over Republican Dr. Alieta Eck, becoming the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress from New Jersey.  The state’s congressional delegation remains equally split with 6 Republican and 6 Democratic representatives.

Other notable contests saw Frank LoBiondo (R) defeat Bill Hughes Jr. (D) by nearly 30 points. In the state’s tightest race, incumbent Republican Scott Garrett edged Democratic challenger Roy Cho to win re-election. Despite narrowing the gap to just 5 points in some polls leading up to the election, Cho could not secure a victory. Leonard Lance (R) won re-election over Democratic challenger Janice Kovach while Albio Sires (D) also retained his seat with over 77% of the vote to the dismay of Jude Tiscornia (R). Bill Pascrell (D) and Donald Payne Jr. (D) easily won reelection. GOP member Rodney Frelinghuysen won re-election over Democrat Mark Dunec. Despite New Jersey having an equally split delegation, the success of Republicans at the federal level means Republican representatives may be elevated to positions of influence on various congressional committees. Correspondingly, New Jersey’s most prominent congressional committee member, Senator Robert Menendez will lose his Chairmanship of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sincerely,

Michael K. Drulis

Executive Director, GFOA of NJ


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