Non-presidential election years like 2014 can be tough for Democrats who have tended to do better in years when more voters turn out. Will 2014 be better? A lot is at stake for Democrats on the national level with the Republicans pushing to take over the US Senate and keep control of the House. The New York Times published a 2014 Senate Landscape Analysis on 3/2/2014 breaking down the upcoming Senate races.
Senators serve for six years. The current makeup of the US Senate is 53 Democrats and 2 Independents who vote with them, and 45 Republicans. Republicans need 6 more Senators to get the majority and flip the Senate. The New York Times analysis shows 34 continuing Democrats and 30 continuing Republicans. Of the seats up for election in 2014 they count 6 solid Democratic seats and 5 leaning Democratic. They count 12 solid Republican seats and 1 leaning Republican. And in the middle there are 12 states that could “flip” and go either way.
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The infamous Koch Brothers have entered the 2012 Washington State Governor’s race. Surprise – they are supporting Republican Rob McKenna. McKenna is running against former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee.
On Thursday, October 18, 2012, Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington filed a C6 with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission that they were spending $27, 985 on a radio ad supporting Rob McKenna.
Wikipedia notes that:
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is an American conservative political advocacy group headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. AFP’s stated mission is “educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing citizens as advocates in the public policy process.” The group played a major role in the Republicans’ 2010 takeover of the House of Representatives, and has been called “one of the most powerful conservative organizations in electoral politics.”
Sourcewatch writes that:
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries). AFP has been accused of funding astroturf operations but also has been fueling the “Tea Party” efforts. AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by the Koch Family Foundations and the Koch’s other special interest groups that work against progressive or Democratic initiatives and protections for workers and the environment. Accordingly, AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation, which is aimed at making industries pay for the air pollution that they create. AFP was also involved in the attacks on Obama’s “green jobs” czar, Van Jones, and has crusaded against international climate talks.
So far the spending by Americans for Prosperity is small potatoes in this state but this could quickly change. Kirby Wilbur, the Washington State Republican Party Chair, was the state coordinator for Americans for Prosperity in 2010 and they successfully dumped money into last minute mailers against Democratic legislators who did not have sufficient time to respond to the last minute mailers. They are spending lots of money nationally and are doing it without disclosing their donors. This needs to change in disclosure laws.
As the Guardian in a just released articles states:
Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-aligned group part-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, is building a state-of-the-art digital ground operation in Ohio and other vital battleground states to spread its anti-Obama message to voters who could decide the outcome of the presidential election.
The group hopes that by creating a local army of activists equipped with sophisticated online micro-targeting tools it will increase its impact on moderate voters, nudging them towards a staunchly conservative position opposed to President Obama’s economic and healthcare policies. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is spending tens of millions of dollars developing its local strategy, already employing more than 200 permanent staff in 32 states. …
AFP has already spent $30m so far this election cycle in opposing President Obama and other prominent Democratic candidates and their policies. It says it aims to reach up to 9 million targeted voters in crucial swing states, through the efforts of its 2 million activists.
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