[First posted: 2014nov03]

Some key races to watch coming out of
the USA Elections of Tuesday 4 November 2014

by the Staff of TheGreenPapers.com


0000 GMT: 7 PM Eastern Time US sees all the polls closed in at least one State everyone will be watching- Kentucky, where incumbent US Senator (and Senate Republican Leader) Mitch McConnell is being challenged by the Commonwealth's Secretary of State, Democrat Alison Grimes. A win by Grimes here would be an early blow to GOP hopes of taking control of the upper house of Congress but, as of this typing, it appears that McConnell is likely to retain his seat in that body. Other key races to begin to watch at this time are that for the US Senate in Georgia where former Democratic US Senator Sam Nunn's daughter, Michelle Nunn, is battling the cousin of Republican former Governor Sonny Perdue, David Perdue, for the seat being vacated by the retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss (the most interesting thing to watch for in this one is whether or not the leading candidate can gain the 50 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a Runoff) and that for the Florida Governor's Chair which pits incumbent Republican Rick Scott against his predecessor, former Republican- now a Democrat- Charlie Crist.

0030 GMT: 7:30 PM in the East and most eyes will be on North Carolina where incumbent Democrat US Senator Kay Hagan (who bested then-GOP Senator Elizabeth Dole [wife of the 1996 Republican presidential nominee] six years ago]) faces a tough challenger in Republican Thom Tillis: this race could well be an early indicator of not only if the Republicans can take control of the United States Senate but by how much; a poor showing by Senator Hagan most likely portends a long night for the Democrats across the Nation, while a good showing by Tillis- even if Hagan manages to pull this one out- might yet be good news for the Republicans throughout the evening after all. Another potentially important race (for GOP hopes to win the US Senate) to begin watching at this time is the race for the US Senate seat in West Virginia from which long-time Democratic incumbent Jay Rockefeller is retiring: Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito is facing off against Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

0100 GMT: 8 PM on the East Coast has one very close- if the latest polls are to be believed- race for Governor, that in Connecticut, a rematch between incumbent Democrat Dannel Malloy and Republican Tom Foley, who narrowly lost to Malloy (and, early on, looked as if he might actually have been elected!) four years ago: a win by Foley would be a key GOP victory in otherwise strongly Democrat-friendly territory. Another race to watch beginning at this hour is that in New Hampshire between incumbent Democratic US Senator (and former Governor) Jeanne Shaheen and former Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (who made political waves more than four years ago by winning the Senate seat long held by the late Ted Kennedy [and John Fitzgerald Kennedy before that]).

0130 GMT: 7:30 PM in Arkansas, in which there is but one race to keep an eye on as the polls close therein as regards the Republicans' hope of wresting control of the US Senate from the Democrats, in which incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor, scion of a well-known Arkansas political family (his father- David- was both a Governor of, and US Senator from, the State) faces a seemingly uphill battle to keep his Senate seat from Republican Congressman Tom Cotton.

0200 GMT: 9 PM Eastern Time US and, in New York, there are a few races for the U.S. House of Representatives to watch, as these- again, in what is (like the aformentioned Connecticut) an otherwise Democrat-friendly State- might well prove to be bellwethers are to by just how much the Republicans might be able to increase the majority they already hold in the lower house of Congress: out on the eastern end of Long Island, incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop faces a major challenge from Republican State Senator Lee Zeldin (this is a race in which Bishop is accused- by Zeldin's campaign- of corruption while, in turn, Zeldin is accused- by Bishop's campaign- of catering to wealthy business interests); meanwhile, in the Empire State's lower Hudson Valley, incumbent Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney faces a rematch with former Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, whom Maloney defeated for the seat two years ago (here, Hayworth- who was elected in the 2010 Midterms [over a Democrat who had defeated a longtime GOP incumbent in the 2006 Midterms] with much 'Tea Party' support- is attempting to distance herself from those now-four year old political connections while Maloney's campaign has been emphasizing them). All in all, these two House races are something of a microcosm of the strategies Republicans and Democrats, respectively, have been employing in political campaigns in other parts of the country (some Dems painting GOP opponents as radical 'Tea Party'-backed polluters; many Republicans painting their Democratic challengers as criminally corrupt job-destroying tax-mongers) and the results of these two House races, in particular, will provide a key to just how successful (or not) such an approach might actually have been come election time (if only this year).

Elsewhere at this same hour, the polls close in Colorado , where it will be 7 PM as the Centennial State's polls close (well... in a way, as most of Colorado will have voted by mail) and where incumbent US Senator Mark Udall is facing a difficult battle to retain his seat with Republican Congressman Cory Gardner: another race to watch as regards the GOP's potentially taking control of the United States Senate. A State race to watch (if only because everyone else will be doing so) at this hour is the one for Governor of Texas (an office long-time Republican Governor Rick Perry [who first gained the Governor's Chair when George W. Bush became President back in 2000] is retiring from) between Democrat Wendy Davis (who made her political 'bones', as a State Senator, recently filibustering a bill restrictive of abortions in that State) and Republican State Attorney-General Greg Abbott: Abbott enjoys a commanding lead in the most recent polls and, in the main, this race is far more a bellwether of how well (or how badly, depending on one's point of view) Democrats are likely to do, for some time to come, in such staunchly Republican-friendly areas of the country (such as the Deep South and Intermountain West).

The most interesting race to watch beginning at this hour, however, will be that for the US Senate in Louisiana: because of the Pelican State's unique so-called 'Open Primary', incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu will almost certainly be facing a Runoff come early December (most likely against Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy). Landrieu has made something of a career of surviving such Runoffs (having done so twice before in order to, first, win and then hold onto her Senate seat) but a third time may not be the charm (especially if the trend coming out of the voting on 4 November elsewhere across the country proves so heavily favoring the Republicans): what to watch for here during the evening is just how close Senator Landrieu can come to a majority she is so likely not to gain and whether or not she ends up ahead of whomever she will have to face in the seemingly inevitable Runoff.

0300 GMT: In Iowa, it will be 9 PM when the polls close and one can then begin paying attention to the race for the open US Senate seat (being vacated by long-time incumbent Democrat Tom Harkin) between Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley and Republican State Senator Joni Ernst, yet another race that will well determine whether or not the GOP can wrest control of the United States Senate from the Democrats.

0600 GMT: It will already be the 'wee hours' of the morning on the US East Coast (late evening on the West Coast) when the last polls close in Alaska-- but it is here (assuming that the GOP has not already clinched control of the US Senate via other Senate races re: which vote-counting is already well underway) that the Republicans might "seal the deal": here, incumbent Democratic US Senator Mark Begich (who unseated the now-late, at the time long-time incumbent Republican Ted Stevens six years ago) is facing a tough fight to retain his seat against Republican Dan Sullivan.


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