Recess Report - Where Key Candidates Actually Stand On Critical Issues - Part 2

Erin Carson, Lead Analyst Monday November 3rd 2014

According to a recent PEW Research report, the GOP is leading on many issues considered critical to midterm voters. These top issues, detailed in recent VoteTocracy reports, include the economy, health care, immigration, the threat of a terrorist attack, and social issues; among other more second-tier regional and niche concerns, such as energy and oversight of the Obama Administration.

VoteTocracy’s two-part series provides a midterm cheat cheat for critical Senate races -- a  breakdown of where incumbents and  and their challengers actually stand on top critical issues.

This week focuses on the stated positions, funding sources, and legislative histories for candidates in Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and South Dakota. Last week’s report covered candidates in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky.

Louisiana

Critical issues in Louisiana race:

Unlike many other states, Louisiana holds open primary elections on November 4th. If a candidate fails to gain a clear majority of votes, a runoff will be held on December 6th.  Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), the incumbent, appears to be in her toughest re-election race. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) is the front-runner polling closely with Sen. Landrieu, with Rob Maness (R)—known as a Tea Party favorite—trailing in third place. Polls suggest that Landrieu and Cassidy are headed for a run-off election in December. Key issues in the election have been health care and government spending.

Biggest point of candidate divergence:

Front-runner Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) has been avoiding the media, including being a no show at debates that included Sen. Landrieu and Rob Maness. While the Cassidy campaign has played it safe by keeping the candidate out of the limelight, the campaign has been linking Sen. Landrieu as closely as possible to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, both of which rank highly unfavorably among Louisianans.

In contrast, Sen. Landrieu’s campaign has been plagued with negative publicity from recent scandals. An independent report found thousands of dollars worth of campaign trips that were inappropriately charged to Sen. Landrieu’s official Senate budget. In addition, questions about her Louisiana housing and residency status have also negatively affected her campaign.

Issue: Health Care

Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)

Stated Position:

“Sen. Landrieu is working to fix the Affordable Care Act. She has supported numerous legislative measures to fix and improve the law, and when she learned that individuals who liked their health insurance could no longer keep it, despite the President's promise, she took on the Obama administration and wrote legislation to make sure that the promise was kept…She publicly pressured the President until he relented and issued guidance to allow states and insurance companies to renew individual health insurance plans for another year. Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon implemented the fix for Louisiana and allowed insurers to offer policyholders facing cancelations the opportunity to keep their plans if they like their current coverage.”  http://www.marylandrieu.com

Legislation:

Sen. Landrieu has sponsored 54 bills, including:

S.1642 - Keeping The Affordable Care Act Promise Act

S.2173 - Choice Act

Funding:

According to OpenSecrets.org, Sen. Landrieu’s campaign had raised $16.8 million as of October 2014, with top funding from lawyers and oil/gas industries. Her top contributors include Votesane PAC, Exxon Mobil and Deloitte LLP. PACs have been very active in the Louisiana senate race, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spending over $4 million.

Front Runner Rep. Bill Cassidy (R)

Stated Position:

“My life’s work has been focused on providing health care to people in need. My wife Laura and I met as medical residents and together we’ve spent our lives providing people with health care... Over 30 years I have witnessed the government get more involved in patient care and I have not witnessed improved quality or access to health care because of government intervention. That’s why I believe in free-market health care solutions that give patients the power, not Washington DC bureaucrats. When patients have control over their health care dollars and health care providers are accountable to them, the system lines up to serve them better.” http://billcassidy.com/issues/healthcare/

Legislation:

Rep. Bill Cassidy has sponsored 30 bills, which included the following bills:

HR.3522 - Employee Health Care Protection Act Of 2013

HR.3849 - Health Insurance Accountability Act Of 2014

HR.1853 - Medicaid Accountability And Care Act Of 2013

HR.1675 - Ensuring Women's Access To Free-market Healthcare Act Of 2013

HR.1735 - In It All Together Act

Funding: 

According to OpenSecrets.org, Rep. Cassidy’s campaign had raised $10.9 million as of October 2014, with top funding industries as health professionals and oil/gas. His top contributors include Cajun Industries, Elliott Management and Koch Industries. A number of conservative PACs have been very active in the Louisiana senate race, with Crossroads GPS spending over $2 million and the National Rifle Association spending over $1.5 million.

Issue: Government Spending

Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)

Stated Position:

“Senator Mary Landrieu clearly laid out how she has delivered for Louisiana over the last 18 years in the Senate, and how Congressman Bill Cassidy would just take Louisiana backwards. Senator Landrieu has fought and delivered for Louisiana's students, seniors, women, and middle-class families, while Congressman Cassidy has voted to hurt all of them….

Senator Landrieu has always fought to protect social security and medicare and keep the promises made to Louisiana seniors … Senator Landrieu has led the fight for increased student aid, so every student could receive a college education… Senator Landrieu has helped create jobs and deliver for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry… Senator Landrieu directed more than a billion dollars to Fort Polk and prevented the loss of thousands of troops, saving thousands of jobs.” http://www.marylandrieu.com

“As promised, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu today released a full and complete review of the flights in question. Errors that were found have been reported to the Senate Ethics Committee and fully repaid by Senator Landrieu’s campaign for a total of $33,727.02… Senator Landrieu’s campaign has reimbursed the federal Treasury in full, and the Senator has implemented a new system successfully used by a number of senate offices to provide a safeguard from this happening in the future. ‘The review I ordered last month found these mistakes stemming from sloppy book-keeping. I take full responsibility. They should have never happened, and I apologize for this,’ said Senator Landrieu. ‘A new system has been established that has been successfully used by a number of senate offices to provide a safeguard from this happening in the future.’ ” - http://www.marylandrieu.com

Legislation:

Sen. Landrieu has sponsored 54 bills, including:

S.2374 - Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary To Compete Economically Act

S.2907 - 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act Of 2014

S.2033 - Jobs Act Of 2014

S.415 - Small Business Disaster Reform Act Of 2013

 Funding:

According to OpenSecrets.org, Sen. Landrieu’s campaign had raised $16.8 million as of October 2014, with top funding industries as lawyers and oil/gas. Her top contributors include Votesane PAC, Exxon Mobil and Deloitte LLP. PACs have been very active in the Louisiana senate race, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spending over $4 million.

Front Runner Rep. Bill Cassidy (R)

Stated Position:

“Bill believes Washington needs to stop out-of-control spending and lower taxes for small businesses and families. He’s been an outspoken advocate against earmarks and believes that we must reform our spending programs if we hope to leave sustainable safety nets for our future generations.”

 http://billcassidy.com/issues/spending-and-debt/

“Although the recent federal budget situation is now resolved, there remains intertwined issues of the debt, deficit, Obamacare and the relationship between Washington and the taxpayers who pay the bills. These issues are central to the ongoing debate between conservative reformers and ‘Washington-only as the solution’ D.C insiders.”

http://billcassidy.com/issues/spending-and-debt/

Legislation:

Rep. Bill Cassidy has sponsored 30 bills, which included the following bills:

HCONRES.113 - Amending The Rules Of The House Of Representatives To Require Any Member Whose Members' Representational Allowance Is Used To Pay For A Flight On A Private Aircraft To Report Information On The Flight Not Later Than 30 Days After The Flight, And Requiring Any Senator Whose Official Funds Are Used To Pay For A Flight On A Private Aircraft To Report Information On The Flight Not Later Than 30 Days After The Flight.

HR.1594 - To Prohibit The Use Of Federal Funds For The Costs Of Official Portraits Of Members Of Congress, Heads Of Executive Agencies, Or Heads Of Offices Of The Legislative Branch.

Funding: 

According to OpenSecrets.org, Rep. Cassidy’s campaign had raised $10.9 million as of October 2014, with top funding industries as health professionals and oil/gas. His top contributors include Cajun Industries, Elliott Management and Koch Industries. A number of conservative PACs have been very active in the Louisiana senate race, with Crossroads GPS spending over $2 million and the National Rifle Association spending over $1.5 million.

Michigan

Critical Issues in the Michigan Race:

Earlier in the year it appeared that Republicans could win the open Michigan Senate seat, which would have been the first time since 1994 that a Republican won a Senate race here. Republicans believed they had another woman candidate they could highlight for national press to show that their party had as many female leaders and supporters as Democrats. However, two time Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) has made several large campaign gaffes and been consistently behind in the polls to Rep. Gary Peters (D) in the last month.  Land released what was called the worst TV ad of the year, walked out of Chamber of Commerce event, and has refused to debate her opponent.  While few would call Peters a media darling, Land has made his campaign much easier and at this point he is expected to narrowly carry the seat.

Unlike other senate races this year, only two of the top 6 PACs spending in this race have been major political party PACs. According to Opensecrets.com, those two PACs have been the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($3.8M) and the Democratic Senate Majority PAC ($3.5M). Two of the top 6 spending PACs in the race have been climate action groups: NextGen Climate Action ($4.06M) and the League Conservation Voters ($1.3M). The conservative PAC Ending Spending Action Fund ($5.4M) is both the top spending PAC and only conservative leaning PAC in the top 6 giving PACs in the race.

Biggest point of candidate divergence:

As is typical in any Senate race this year, issues surrounding abortion, health care and the economy have been key issues in the Michigan Senate race.  While labor unions have contributed heavily to Peters, the auto trade unions have been silent as both candidates supported the industry bailout.  Climate change has surprisingly played a important role in the race.  There has been heavy spending by climate change groups, and Democrat Peters has spent a lot of campaign time and press calling out his opponent for her climate stance.

Issue: Climate Change/Environment:

Candidate Terri Lynn Land (R)

Stated position:

 “Terri believes that there should be a healthy and educated debate on the impact of human activity on our environment, but she does not agree with radical liberals like Tom Steyer and Congressman Peters on the extent of the effect of human behavior on our climate. While Terri continues to focus on  jobs, the economy and protecting the Great Lakes, Congressman Peters has instead focused his energy on selling out Michigan workers and adopting the radical agenda of California billionaire Tom Steyer.” www.terrilynnland.com

Funding:

 Opensecrets.com reports that Candidate Land has not received any funding from groups focused on the issue of climate change.

Candidate Rep. Gary Peters

Stated Position:

 “Michigan is on the front lines of climate change with our Great Lakes and economic system. The Great Lakes are incredibly important for Michigan,” Peters said. He noted the possibility that climate change could cause “dropping lake levels,” which could have a “big economic impact,” due to harbors on the Great Lakes and the shipping that goes on there. As a result, Peters said, it’s incumbent on Land to take a stand on climate change and what she would do about it.”www.petersformichigan.com

Funding:

 OpenSecrets.com reports that Peters has received funding from climate change action PACs including NextGen Climate Action ($4.06M) and the League Conservation Voters ($1.3M).

Issue: Economy/Trade

Candidate Terri Lynn Land (R)

Stated Position:

“Trade policies from Washington all too often dramatically harm our state’s economy and cost Michigan good-paying middle class jobs. I will only support trade agreements that put Michigan businesses and workers on a level playing field with other countries.”  www.terrilynnland.com

Funding:

 According to OpenSecrets.com candidate Land has received funding from several national PACs that agree with her economic policy including the  conservative Crossroads PAC  ($763,962) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce PAC  ($500,000).

Candidate Rep. Gary Peters

Stated Position:

“We make things in Michigan, and Gary is proud of that tradition. Whether it’s investing in Michigan Main Street businesses, strengthening our automotive industry, expanding agricultural innovation, or promoting entrepreneurial talents, Gary will continue to lead the fight for Michigan’s economic future and a strong middle class in the U.S. Senate.”

“Gary believes that investing in Michigan’s economy and creating good jobs relies on three important factors – attracting and investing in private enterprise, keeping well-paying jobs in Michigan, and educating the workforce of tomorrow.” www.petersformichigan.com

Funding:

 According to OpenSecrets.com Peters has received funding from a number of labor unions including: AFL-CIO PAC ($245,289), SEIU ($312,699) and AFSCME ($1.97M) these unions support Peters’ policy positions about jobs and manufacturing.

Issue: Health Care

Candidate Terri Lynn Land (R)

Stated Position:

“As a candidate for United State Senate, I support policies that will provide real health care reform.

In Washington, politicians rarely admit when their policies aren’t working. In fact, the greater the failure, the less willing a politician is to admit that their idea has failed. The result is that Americans needlessly suffer.

ObamaCare has increased health care costs. ObamaCare has caused people to lose their insurance. ObamaCare regulations and taxes have discouraged health care innovation. Small businesses are even scaling back plans to hire more workers to avoid the penalty for having more than 50 employees. Some employers have reduced employees’ hours and have been forced to drop insurance plans. There is a better way.”www.terrilynnland.com

Funding:

 OpenSecrets.com reportst that Land has received funding from several national PACs that agree with her approach of a more free market health care system including the  conservative Crossroads GPS PAC  ($763,962) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce PAC  ($500,000).

Candidate Rep. Gary Peters

Stated Position: 

Michigan families deserve access to quality, affordable health care coverage that doesn’t break the bank. Gary is fighting for practical common-sense solutions to fix our health care system in Michigan.

Gary believes The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes important steps to make sure that health care is more affordable and accessible and insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage or hike rates if you have a pre-existing condition or get sick. The ACA makes health care less expensive for women and allows young people to remain on their parents’ coverage until they are 26 years old, and eliminates the Medicare prescription donut hole for seniors. Gary has fought against the more than 40 partisan attempts to repeal the law because we cannot afford to lose these critical protections.

Gary is frustrated by some of the problems Michiganders have experienced with the healthcare rollout, including issues related to the website. That’s why Gary supports bipartisan solutions to improve the law like delaying penalties for individuals and small businesses and exempting volunteer firefighters. He also voted for The “If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It” Act to ensure that Michiganders can keep their plans while learning about other coverage options to make the right choice for their family. He also supports strengthening cyber security on the exchange website. Gary is committed to fixing the new law so that it works for all Michigan middle class families and small businesses. www.petersformichigan.com

Funding: 

OpenSecrets.com reports that Peters has not received funding from specific health care groups, but he has been supported by large PAC’s who support the Affordable Care Act.

North Carolina

Critical issues in the North Carolina race:

The North Carolina Senate race has become the costliest Senate race in history.  The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation reports that spending on this too close to call race between incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and challenger Speaker of the State Legislature Thom Tillis (R) is topping $100M, with more than two-thirds of the money provided by outside groups.  The Center for Public Integrity reports that these high levels of outside spending have led to North Carolina voters seeing over 100,000 TV ads about the race.

Biggest points of candidate divergence:

This too-close-to-call-race has featured very diverging political strategies from the two candidates and their supporters.  The Hagan campaign has focused on her work to champion equal pay, health care access and women’s health issues.  These are the same issues that won her a tight election against then incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2010.  Tillis has worked the entire year to tie Hagan to the President and more recently Tillis and his supporters have criticized Hagan for her slow action against ISIS and for not taking other foreign threats more seriously.  Hagan who maintained a lead in the race until recently has not had to use much of her campaign to talk about her opponent has now had to turn and address what Hagan and her supporters call Tillis’ extremely conservative views on women’s issues and health care philosophy.

Funding:

 Funding for this election have been dominated by official Democratic and Republican PACs. According to OpenSecrets.com the top three spending organizations in this race are the Democratic Senate Majority PAC ($13.04M), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($10.4M) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($8.9M).

Issue: Economy

Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D)

Stated Position:

“Kay knows that more than anything, North Carolina business owners need certainty. That’s why Kay supports a long-term, balanced, and bipartisan plan to reduce our deficits, make the tax code simpler and fairer, and restore the confidence that business owners need to implement plans, increase hiring and grow their companies.” www.kayhagan.com

Legislation:

 Hagan has co-sponsored a number of bills during the 113th Congressional session focused on her core economic values including:

S.2223, The Minimum Wage Fairness Act

S.2199, The Paycheck Fairness Act

S.1302, Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act

Funding:

 According to OpenSecrets.com Hagan has received funding support from a number of PACs who share her economic philosophy including: the Patriot Majority USA ($1.66M) and labor union AFSCME ($1.5M).

 

Candidate State Speaker Thom Tillis (R)

Stated Position:

 As a lifelong businessman, Thom Tillis knows that in order to grow the economy, we must create an environment where businesses can flourish and create jobs. Government needs to get out of the way, so that entrepreneurs and innovators can thrive. Thom's effort to lead a conservative reform movement to take over the North Carolina legislature helped make our state one of the best places to create new jobs in America. www.thomtillis.com 

Funding:

 OpenSecrets.com shows that Tillis has received funding from several national PACs who support his economic policy position including: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce PAC ($5.63M) and the conservative Crossroads GPS PAC ($4.86M).

Issue: Women and Families

Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D)

Stated Position:

“Kay As a working mom, Kay knows the balancing act that so many women face today. The first bill she co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed into law and gives women the tools they need to fight for equal pay for an equal day’s work. Kay has worked to build on that victory for women by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act. Equal pay for equal work doesn’t just matter to women; it would benefit families all across North Carolina.

When extremists in Congress tried to turn the Violence Against Women Act into a political football, Kay advocated for women and families everywhere by urging her colleagues to check politics at the door when women’s lives were on the line. Ultimately, Kay’s commonsense voice was heard, and the renewal of that critical law passed Congress on a bipartisan basis. The final law included a Hagan provision to streamline programs and improve the way medical providers identify and respond to domestic violence.” www.kayhagan.com

Legislation:

 Hagan has co-sponsored several women’s pay equality bills during the 113th Congress including: S.2199, The Paycheck Fairness Act.

Funding:

 OpenSecrets.com reports that Hagan has received funding from a number of groups supportive of choice and women's equality issues including: Women Vote! ($2.9M), Planned Parenthood Votes ($1.96M) and Planned Parenthood Action Fund ($136, 911).

Candidate State Speaker Thom Tillis (R)

Stated Position: “I am proudly Pro-Life. I believe all life is sacred and as Speaker I promoted pro-life policies and helped reverse the pro-abortion state policies Democrats had put in place for decades. In the Senate, I will promote a culture of life and champion the appointment of qualified pro-life judges.”www.thomtillis.com

Funding:

 OpenSecrets.com reports that Tillis is endorsed by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List Foundation and has received funding from other pro-life groups including: National Right to Life PAC ($336,962) and the Women Speak Out PAC ($967, 523).

Issue: Agriculture

Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D)

Stated Position:

 Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, making a $77 billion impact on the economy last year. Kay has consistently worked for sound farming policy that will help our farmers do what they do best – farm. Whether that means working to reduce burdensome, unnecessary regulations or reform the safety net for farmers when natural disaster strikes, Kay is putting the feedback she gets from North Carolina farmers to work in Washington.

Kay supported the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill that was signed into law with broad support from both parties, giving North Carolina farmers the certainty they need. The bill contains important provisions for North Carolina farmers that Kay fought to secure, including an effort to boost textile manufacturing and cotton production and a provision to improve crop insurance fraud prevention that will help protect taxpayer dollars. Kay also led a bipartisan coalition to successfully kill an amendment that would have prevented tobacco farmers from receiving crop insurance.

Funding:

 While agriculture is an important issues in this race, there are no agriculture specific PACs spending money in the election.

Candidate State Speaker Thom Tillis (R)

Stated Position:

 North Carolina agribusinesses are being stifled by federal regulations that threaten their livelihood. As agriculture exports increase, Thom believes we must promote policies that make trade with other nations free and efficient in order to stimulate our economy and allow North Carolina farmers and ranchers to expand their businesses.www.thomtillis.com 

 Funding:

 While agriculture is an important issues in this race, there are no agriculture specific PACs spending money in the election.

New Hampshire

Critical issues in New Hampshire race:

Many political observers view the outcome of the New Hampshire Senate race as a bellwether for which party will control that chamber in the 114th Congress. Former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown successfully tightened a race that initially heavily favored the first-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, in part by repeatedly tying Shaheen’s policies and voting record to President Obama. The president, who has a 39 percent approval rating in New Hampshire right now, according to a CNN/ORC poll, is increasingly unpopular in a state known for its political independence and unpredictability. Brown has called Shaheen a “rubber stamp” for Obama on virtually every issue from immigration to national security. Shaheen’s main line of attack has been to accuse Brown of being a political opportunist, tagging him with the “carpetbagger” label. Brown, who owns a vacation home in New Hampshire, only became eligible to vote in the state last year, prompting Shaheen to call New Hampshire Brown’s “consolation prize” after he ruled out running again in Massachusetts.

Biggest points of candidate divergence:

 Brown has hammered Obama – and Shaheen by proxy -- over national security and foreign policy, criticizing the administration’s handling of the terrorist group ISIS and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Republican has called for greater border security in the United States because of concerns over ISIS and Ebola, which Shaheen has dismissed as “grandstanding” and “fearmongering.” Shaheen has accused Brown of supporting the outsourcing of American jobs abroad, which Brown has denied.

Issue: Jobs/Economy

Incumbent: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D)

Stated Position:

“Jeanne knows that small businesses are the job creators in New Hampshire’s economy. She fights to make sure that small business can compete for federal research grants. She is working to expand opportunities for small businesses to export and sell their products and services to growing markets around the globe. Jeanne helped craft the Small Business Jobs Act that included tax cuts for small businesses and boosted access to credit though SBA lending programs. She fought for the creation of the Manchester Job Corps Center and is a leading advocate for attracting students to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to be prepared for the jobs of the future.” http://jeanneshaheen.org/

Shaheen, whose voting record typically lines up with the Obama administration, has sponsored or co-sponsored several bills related to jobs and the economy during the 113th Congress. They include:

S. 1837, Equal Employment for All Act of 2013

S. 1227, On-the-Job Training Act of 2013

S. 815, Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013

S. 84, Paycheck Fairness Act

S. 665, Protecting America’s Workers Act

Go to Votetocracy to see Shaheen’s voting record in the 113th Congress.

 

Challenger: Scott Brown (R)

 

Stated Position:

 

“Scott Brown believes that America’s greatness lies with its hard-working entrepreneurs and risk-takers – not its government. Scott is running for the Senate to stop the ever-creeping growth of a bigger and bigger federal government and to restore individual freedom for the people of New Hampshire. In the United States Senate, he fought for pro-growth policies to reduce taxes and regulations and to empower the private sector to succeed. He believes business owners are saddled with too much Washington red tape and regulations, especially the failed policies in Obamacare. Washington needs to work together to create a strong business environment that gives all Americans the opportunity to work in good-paying jobs.” https://www.scottbrown.com/

 

Legislation:

 

Brown served as the Republican senator from Massachusetts from 2010 to 2013, replacing the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy who died in office after winning a special election. During his time in the Senate, Brown typically supported or introduced legislative measures aimed at reducing federal spending and cutting taxes, reflecting his party’s priorities. However, Brown occasionally flashed an independent streak, voting for the 2010 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, also known as a “jobs bill” which Democrats shepherded through the Senate as part of a broader job creation agenda. Brown also opposed some budget cuts in 2011 that he feared would adversely affect low-income families.

Issue: National Security

Incumbent: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D)

Stated Position:

“Serving on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, Jeanne is a strong advocate for our men and women in uniform. She believes maintaining a modern, prepared military is essential to our national security, and she has worked to strengthen the important defense work performed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease Air National Guard Base and to prevent another round of base closures that would put those bases at risk. Jeanne believes that diplomacy is the preferred resolution to potential conflicts and has a particular focus on nuclear nonproliferation. She played a leading role in the passage of the New START Treaty to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, and believes it is critical that Iran be prevented from developing nuclear weapons.” http://jeanneshaheen.org/

National security-related legislation that Shaheen has sponsored or co-sponsored in the 113th Congress includes:

S.Res. 541, A resolution recognizing the severe threat that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses to populations, governments, and economies across Africa and, if not properly contained, to regions across the globe, and expressing support for those affected by this epidemic.

S. 2778, A bill to require the Secretary of State to offer rewards totaling up to $10,000,000 for information on the kidnapping and murder of James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

S. 2673, United States-Israel Strategic Partnership of 2014

S. 2329, Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014

S. 1021, Next Generation Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 2013

Go to Votetocracy to see Shaheen’s voting record in the 113th Congress.

Funding:

By mid-October, Shaheen had spent about $13.5 million of the $15.4 million in her campaign coffers from fundraising through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and her leadership PAC, A New Direction, according to Open Secrets. Her biggest contributor during the 2009-2014 fundraising cycle has been EMILY’s List, the national political action committee that works to elect pro-choice female Democrats. The top five industries contributing to her between 2009 and 2014 were lawyers and law firms, leadership PACs, real estate, women’s issues and lobbyists.

Challenger: Scott Brown (R)

Stated Position:

“American leadership is essential in a dangerous and unstable world. From Russian and Ukraine to the Middle East and North Africa, instability and uncertainty are rising as a result of President Obama’s weak and indecisive foreign policy. American strength begins with a military that is second to none. As a member of the National Guard, Scott Brown has a special appreciation for the brave and patriotic soldiers that make up our Armed Forces. He supports a strong national defense, taking care of active military and veterans, and achieving peace through strength.” https://www.scottbrown.com/

Legislation:

Brown supported President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. He also advocated leaving an American transition force in Iraq in 2011, and has continually supported robust Defense spending. During the 2014 Senate campaign in New Hampshire, Brown repeatedly has criticized the Obama administration’s foreign policy, calling it confused and incoherent. He believes in stricter border control, saying that Americans have a “rational fear” of criminals, terrorists or disease entering the U.S. from abroad because the current administration’s policies on those issues have been wrong.

Funding:

Between 2009 and 2014, Brown amassed $53.8 million in fundraising, spending nearly all of that to date. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has not poured nearly as much money into Brown’s 2014 campaign against Shaheen as it did for his unsuccessful Senate bid in Massachusetts in 2012 against Democrat Elizabeth Warren. The top industries contributing to Brown’s campaign coffers during the last five years include companies and indviduals in securities and investment, real estate, and law, according to Open Secrets.

South Dakota

Critical issues in South Dakota race:

In a surprise twist of events, the South Dakota midterm has taken a center stage after charges of wrongdoing against former governor Mike Rounds (R) narrowed the gap for Democrat challenger Rick Weiland (D) and Independent candidate Larry Pressler. The FBI is reportedly investigating Mike Rounds’ management of the state’s EB-5 visa program while he was governor, during which time several officials were accused of diverting money from the visa program for personal use. Mike Rounds has not been personally implicated, but as a result of the accusations the race has essentially become a referendum on Mike Rounds’ record and his character, as Rick Weiland has been able to tie the alleged wrongdoings to “big money” in government. Two other critical issues that will impact the race are the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would run through South Dakota; and the impact of the Affordable Care Act, particularly on the senior population. According to the South Dakota State Census, senior citizens comprise over 20 percent of the population in about a third of South Dakota’s counties.

While Rick Weiland opposes big money in government, data from OpenSecrets shows his campaign has drawn large sums from outside help. Most notably, the liberal SuperPAC Every Voice Action has spent $1,207,542, and the crowd-funded Mayday PAC has spent $1,107,105. Other funding for Weiland has come fromMoveon.org ($240,891); Progressive Kick ($101,350); Democracy for America ($100,000); and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee ($96,814).  

On the Republican side, the National Republican Senatorial Committee PAC has contributed $873,390 to oppose Weiland; and the Many True Conservatives SuperPAC has spent $153, 242. The American Chemistry Council, which supports expanding domestic development of natural gas and natural liquids from shale, has contributed $428,000 in support of Rounds.  

Biggest point of candidate divergence:

Aside from the handling of the EB-5 visa program, the Keystone XL pipeline is the greatest point of candidate divergence on key issues. Mike Rounds strongly supports Keystone XL, citing its job creation in South Dakota; and Rick Weiland strongly opposes the pipeline for its environmental impact.

Issue: EB-5 Visa Program

Mike Rounds (R)

Stated Position:

“This particular program in South Dakota was a tool for economic development. This is is something we have to bring back under control." – October 23 televised Senate midterm debate

“(The lawsuit) was an argument about commissions between a private company and this operation, which was under the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents was aware of it. The Board of Regents had their attorneys working on it... When the Board of Regents says we've got one here and we're handling it, and it's got to do with commissions and it's baseless, that's fine. Ok, you've answered my question... The answers that we were receiving back appeared to tell us that it was working the way it was supposed to work.

"Richard Benda (the man accused) did some things in the last couple of weeks that I did not know about and that I'd like to ask him questions about, but the only time that I think I was misled by Richard was when my staff told me that when he was leaving state government he was going to work for an investor in the beef plant. I did not assume that that was for the folks who were monitoring the loans for the beef plant. He told me he was going to work for an investor in the beef plant. I said good, I'm glad to hear he's going to be actively involved in the beef plant.

"I was concerned with all of our cabinet members and where they were going, but what I was concerned with was that they had another location to go to. My question was which ones should I meet with to find out if they needed assistance in finding other opportunities... My focus was on all the folks who might not have had another job opportunity, not on the ones who said they did have another job opportunity." From an Oct. 21 interview with the Argus Leader.

 

Leading Challenger Rick Weiland (D)

 

Stated Position: 

 

"I don't think people appreciate that just because you've got the money, you can cut to the front of the (immigration) line. So I would vote to repeal the program." – October 23 televised Senate midterm debate

 

Funding:

 

The liberal SuperPac Every Voice Action has spent $837,608 opposing Republican Mike Rounds (and thereby supporting Rick Weiland), including a number of attacks specifically against the handling of the EB-5 visa program. According to an ad funded by Every Voice Action: “It all started with an exclusive no-bid contract. Gov. Mike Rounds gave his friend a no-bid contract to sell EB-5 green cards to the highest bidder. Now there's a half-million dollars unaccounted for. It's under federal investigation, and taxpayers are left with millions in EB-5 liability. Mike Rounds: rich foreigners get green cards, cronies make a profit, and South Dakota gets stuck with the bill.”

Issue: Health Insurance

Mike Rounds (R)

Stated Position:

"I'd go back in and I'd start with what the National Association of Insurance Commissioners had started out with back in the mid-1990s. Every plan should be guaranteed renewable. It should be guaranteed portable, so you can move from one plan to another plan. There should be a minimum and a maximum that can be charged for the healthiest person versus the sickest person in the plan, just like we had here in South Dakota... For me, I don't think you should do an individual mandate, but I do think you should make it available for everybody to be able to buy insurance." From an Oct. 21 interview with the Argus Leader.

Leading Challenger Rick Weiland (D) 

Stated Position:

"I want to give people a choice. Give people a choice between Medicare and private insurance. It'll be the best thing that ever happened to health care reform in this country… If you open up Medicare, you will force the private insurance companies to compete. You would be paying a premium. It's in addition to what we put in every two weeks out of our checks... It's going to shore up Medicare. You bring all these young people into Medicare, they're going to pay their premium every month and not access it because they're young and healthy." From an Oct. 24 interview with the Sioux Falls newspaper, Argus Leader.

Issue: Keystone XL Pipeline

Mike Rounds (R)

Stated Position: 

You cannot destroy an American economy worshiping the god of climate change, and that's exactly what (opponents) are doing… The petroleum is there and we're going to end up burning it. We are dependent on petroleum products and we shouldn't be saying you've got to run it by rail. So the practical side of this thing is that if you build the Keystone XL, and if you build the other pipelines that are being proposed, you take the pressure off of our rail lines, and for South Dakota this is critical." From an Oct. 21 interview with the Argus Leader.

Funding:

The American Chemistry Council, which supports expanding domestic development of natural gas and natural liquids from shale, has contributed $428,000 in support of Rounds.

Leading Challenger Rick Weiland (D)

Stated Position:

"This is the biggest bunch of – I wish I could say it... Forty-two thousand jobs? That's a bunch of crap. There are 35 permanent jobs for the whole project... But let me tell you the other reasons. There's no energy security with the Keystone. It's an export pipeline... This oil is going from Canada to Port Arthur, Tex., and overseas. We don't get any of it. It's an export pipeline... There's all the risk and no reward. The Ogallala Aquifer will be jeopardized by this Keystone XL pipeline. If there were jobs, if there were energy, and minimal risk to the environment, then we ought to have that debate, but it's not about jobs and it's not about energy. It's an environmental calamity waiting to happen, and I oppose it." From an Oct. 24 interview with the Sioux Falls newspaper, Argus Leader.

Funding:

The 350.org Action Fund, a 501c organization that aims to address climate change, has spent $6,682 supporting Rick Weiland.