Campaign 2014: Post-Election Analysis

It was a pretty boring election night in Montana, except when the Montana Secretary of State’s website with election results went down a few times. Most of the candidates I thought would win actually won and the races that I was interested in were not that close.

Thanks to all the people who visted my website and followed me on Twitter throughout the evening.

Here is my analysis of Campaign 2014 – I write about U.S. Senate and House races, Montana Senate, Montana House, State Legislature, Supreme Court, Ballot issues, plus I grade the media coverage of it all.

U.S. Senate/House:

The Republicans took control of the senate by winning maybe up to nine seats when the smoke clears. This was an even bigger takeover than 2006, when the Democrats gained six seats in the senate. I was hoping that Alison Lundergan Grimes would beat Mitch McConnell, but it was not even close (56%-41%). I was happy to see that in Kansas Pat Roberts was re-elected (that was not as close as polls said it would be) (53%-42%). I am happy to see in Alaska that Mark Begich is losing.

The Republicans were already in control of the U.S. House and added a few seats to that majority. This morning CNN has the GOP with a 242-174 advantage.

Let’s hope they all work together and stay away from stupid votes like impeachment and repeal Obamacare. I’d like to see them strengthen Obamacare. In 2016, they will have more seats to protect in the senate than the Democrats do, so it can all change back quickly if they act like spoiled children.

Montana U.S. Senate:

The U.S. Senate race between Steve Daines (R) and Amanda Curtis (D) was called right after polls closed. It was expected that Daines would win big and he did (57.8% – 39.9%). Congratulations to Steve Daines. He and his team ran a great race. I am hoping with the extra staff he will hire by moving to the Senate from the House, someone can add me to his press release list.

As for Amanda Curtis, thanks for stepping up to the plate. You now have built up some name recognition so I suggest you put it to good use in 2016.

Montana U.S. House:

The U.S. House race was a tough vote for me because I liked both candidates. Ryan Zinke (R) easily beat John Lewis (D) 55.4% – 40.3%. The race was called around 10:30 p.m.

I hope Zinke can get a seat on the House Armed Services committee and the Veterans’ Affairs committee. They need someone with his experience on these committees.

As for John Lewis, you ran a great race. You have also built up some name recognition, so I suggest you put it to good use in 2016.

Montana Supreme Court:

The races that featured W. David Herbert challenging Jim Rice and Lawrence VanDyke taking on Mike Wheat were not even close even after the Dartmouth College and Stanford University mailings that got so much attention during the race.

So, what was all the outrage about again?

Ballot Issues:

LR-126 was the referendum to end late voter registration on the Friday before Election Day. Montanans like to be able to register up to when the polls close. The “No” side won 56%-43%.

As for changing the name of the State Auditor’s office to Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montanans like the name “State Auditor.” The “No” do not change the name side won 51%-48%. I was surprised that anyone cared.

Montana Legislature:

As for the Montana Legislature, once again it will be controlled by the GOP. The Governor is a Democrat. The circus heads to Helena in January.

Here are four things I would like to see the 2015 Montana Legislature accomplish:

-Toughen Montana’s drunken driving laws
-Make Supreme Court Judges position a 10-year appointed position by the Governor with consent of the senate
-Make it easier for independent candidates to get on the ballot in Montana – no more collecting a zillion signatures
-Revamp the Political Practices Office.

Montana Media Coverage:

It was not very good.

I give newspapers across the state of Montana a grade of “C” for their coverage during the 2014 election season. That includes the Associated Press. The print media can do much better.

As for television news coverage, they get a “D.” There’s very little experience there. They need some adult supervision.

The members of the media did push the candidates enough that they held a debate or two, but it seems that during the whole campaign season the candidates controlled the media in Montana pretty well. There are a couple of reporters that were “owned” by the candidates. That’s good for the candidates, but not good for voters and the public.

The next election is in two years – and it’s a big one! So now is the time to retool the way you report on elections and candidates.


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6 thoughts on “Campaign 2014: Post-Election Analysis

  1. “Stupid votes like Obamacare”?

    ( – Every newly elected GOP senator who won in last night’s election campaigned on repealing Obamacare.
    Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sen Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) all ran on a platform of repealing Obamacare.

    • Big Swede – That is all well and good, but there’s one thing that is missing: The President won’t sign any bill to repeal it & the GOP lacks the votes to override his veto. So, it is stupid to vote to repeal it over and over when it won’t happen until the GOP takes the White House. -JmB

      • Big Swede –
        Thanks. To say you can do something when you can’t is a slap in the face of the voters, too. Obamacare needs some fixes, but throwing it all out is not the answer. It’s something they can’t do until a republican President is in office along with a GOP congress.
        I don’t believe the GOP can get along with each other long enough to do much. We’ll see.


      • I’ll make a prediction being an optimist. Ocare will be amended in one form or another before the 2016 elections.

        Non-action would be political suicide.

      • Big Swede – I think it will be amended in some way, too. As for appealing, the GOP needs this issue for 2016 to get the White House in their hands and they have a lot of seats to defend in the senate. They probably don’t want to take it off the table just yet. -JmB

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