theSkimm's Guide to the 2014 Midterm Elections theSkimm's Guide to the 2014 Midterm Elections

States to Skimm

MIDTERM ELECTION GUIDE


THE STORY

There's a lot happening out there. We get it. That's why you have us. Just check out our Skimms on the big stuff below.

NOT GETTING A PRESIDENT THIS YEAR, DON’T CARE.

Good for you. But you still need to vote. Midterm elections are when we choose governors, congressmen, and senators. Governors are like the CEOs of states. And congressmen and senators literally lay down the law -- they decide which bills pass and which don’t. So yes, important. Vote.

BUT WHY IS THIS YEAR SO IMPORTANT?

This year’s all about that Senate. Dems have controlled the Senate since ‘06, and the GOP is ready to cut in. If that happens, the GOP would control both houses of Congress. Aka it could push through its agenda, which Obama and the Dems have mostly blocked nationally for the last six years. Revenge is sweet.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

This year’s election is about nothing and everything. There is no defining issue driving the nation to the polls, but a laundry list of things on voters’ minds.

LIKE WHAT?

Economy...as in the numbers have gone from worse to less-worse, but the economy still isn’t great. And it’s the issue where neither party is safe.

Immigration...as in it’s always an issue where there could be a better fix. But after a flood of unaccompanied immigrant children crossed the US border this year, it came to a boiling point. President Obama took a cool down lap and tabled the issue for now. But it’s still a big talking point -- especially for Hispanic voters.

Social Issues...as in women and gay marriage. Women’s issues (think: equal pay, birth control) might be the X (chromosome) factor Dems need to hold onto the Senate.

Foreign Policy...as in President Obama recently looked up ‘obvious’ in the dictionary and admitted that the US "underestimated" ISIS. Now, the GOP’s leading the ‘told you so’ chorus, and tying his policies to their Democratic opponents.

President Obama...as in HealthCare.gov’s IT department is more popular than him right now. And the GOP is doing it’s best to make that bad image rub off on every Dem across the country.

WHAT STATES SHOULD I REALLY BE WATCHING?

Everyone should vote. But if you live in these states, DEFINITELY make sure you vote.

WHAT ARE THE DEMS SAYING?

Don’t. Panic. We’re hanging onto the Senate for dear life. Mad that things haven’t been getting done? Blame it on the GOP taking the House in ‘10. Imagine if they get the Senate too? The horror.

WHAT’S THE GOP SAYING?

Alright, alright, alright. This is about ‘16, and we’re ready to move back to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

theSKIMM

The midterms are a dress rehearsal for soon-to-be presidential candidates. They’re all over the country campaigning for members of their party. Christie? Bush (the Jeb one)? Clinton? Gang’s all here.

Arizona


Arizona

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

While all eyes are on the Senate this year, where the GOP is making a play for control, Arizona has different things on its mind. An open governor’s seat and a tight House race are hogging all the attention.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Governor
Doug Ducey (R): Arizona’s state treasurer and former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery (thank him for ice creams with names like “The Pie Who Loved Me”). Ducey’s got an edge in very-conservative AZ, but polls are narrowing and people think he’s losing his flavor.

Fred DuVal (D): Former White House staffer under Clinton and now an AZ state official. Unpopular GOP Gov. Jan Brewer is on her way out, which could give DuVal a big leg up.

Congress
Ron Barber (D, Incumbent): Congressman since 2012. Used to be a staffer for Gabby Giffords (former Congresswoman, survived a shot to the head, now gun control advocate).

Martha McSally (R): Retired US Air Force colonel. Ran against Barber in 2012 and it didn’t fly. Lost by a very narrow margin and now she’s back for more.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

The Economy: Arizona’s unemployment rate is on the rise and both candidates are making job creation a focus. Ducey’s also promising tax cuts to lighten the economic load if he’s elected.

Immigration: This year, tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossed the US-Mexico border. Guess who’s a border state? Arizona. Voters are zeroing in on the issue.

Gun Control: Barber’s old boss, former Rep. Giffords, is supporting him in large part because of his pro-gun-control policies.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • Gabby recently aired an ad against McSally, accusing her of being in favor of policies that let stalkers buy guns. The ad wasn’t ENTIRELY accurate so it got pulled.

I’M FROM ARIZONA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 6th is your deadline to register to vote. Print this, fill it out, and mail it to your County Recorder’s office. Snail-mail. Deal with it.

October 24th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Get an absentee ballot by contacting your county clerk.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7pm local time.

Arkansas


Arkansas

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

It’s a toss up whether the Dems will keep a grip on the Senate this year. And Arkansas is one of the few states that could make all the difference.

WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Sen. Mark Pryor (D, Incumbent): Pryor prides himself on being a moderate, right-down-the-middle kind of guy. But since he got elected two-terms ago, the state has gone right-down-the-right. Which is a problem for him.

Rep. Tom Cotton (R): A newbie congressman with big Tea Party backing who’s taking advantage of Arkansas’ pro-Republican turn to make a run at Pryor.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: President Obama lost the state...badly...in ‘08 and ‘12. And Cotton’s taking advantage by tying Pryor to Obama’s record on jobs, immigration, Iraq, Benghazi. Basically everything that makes Republicans see red.

Obamacare: Arkansas voters are really over the federal government right now, and see the Affordable Care Act as the worst of it. Pryor voted ‘yes’ in 2010, and a lot of voters are still stuffed up from an Obamacare cold.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • Mark Pryor ran an ad supporting the Healthcare-law-that-shall-not-be-named. Actually though. He refused to mention its name.

I’M FROM ARKANSAS.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 5th is your deadline to register to vote, if you’re voting in person. Print this, fill it out, and mail it to the address on the form. Snail-mail. Deal with it.

October 28th is your deadline to submit an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Apply to get an absentee ballot by printing this, and mailing it to your county clerk.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7:30pm local time.

Colorado


Colorado

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Colorado’s this-close Senate race could be the difference between whether the GOP gets the Senate majority or not. And a popular, down-the-middle Democratic governor is suddenly fighting to keep his job. High stakes in a high state.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Senate
Sen. Mark Udall (D, Incumbent): One of many Dems who got the Senate job in ‘08 back when everything was hopey changey. Udall’s got politics in his genes -- his dad was a popular AZ congressman with a bipartisan rep that Udall’s trying to protect.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R): One of many Republicans who got elected in ‘10 when everything was less hopey changey. He’s a rising GOP star with a Tea Party streak.

Governor
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D, Incumbent): Considers himself a “can’t we all just get along?” kinda guy, but has rubbed voters the wrong way on issues like the death penalty and fracking (read: shooting liquids deep in the ground to free up oil and gas)

Bob Beauprez (R): Former congressman who gave up the job in 2006 to run for governor. That didn’t work out. He’s hoping second time’s a charm.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: Colorado voters are riding the anti- Obama train right now, and it’s rubbing off on Udall. When Gardner tries to tie him to Obama, Udall tries to say ‘that’s not my name. That’s not my name.’

Social Issues: Gardner recently decided he’s OK with over-the-counter birth control, which might have something to do with the fact that he’s got a women problem -- polls have shown Udall leading double-digits among women voters.

Environment: Colorado’s gotten a big economic boost from the US natural gas boom, but there’s also been a big debate over whether it’s actually good for the environment. Dems wanted to vote on whether to ban a kind of natural gas production called “fracking,” but called it off when they saw focus on the issue could hurt Dems Hickenlooper and Udall.

Obamacare: Udall used to be a sure-thing for re-election, until the botched Obamacare rollout last year put a big, ugly spotlight on Udall’s ‘yes’ vote for the law. It’s Gardner’s favorite issue to hit his opponent with.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • Are you drinking the fracking Kool-Aid? Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is. He told a Senate Committee in 2013 that he drank fracking liquid “almost ritual-like, in a funny way.” LOL?

I’M FROM COLORADO.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 27th is your deadline to register online. Click here, and git ‘er done.

October 31st is your deadline to submit an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. To get an absentee ballot, fill this out, and mail it to the address on the form.

November 4th is Election Day. You can register to vote at the polls. Get it done before you light up – voting closes at 7pm local time.

Florida


Florida

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Florida’s always a big swing state, and never short on drama (helloooo hanging chads). This time around, the current Republican governor is running against a former Republican governor-turned Dem hoping to get his job back. Got that? And the stakes are high: whichever party wins has the home-team advantage in the 2016 presidential campaign.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Gov. Rick Scott (R, Incumbent): Been gov. since 2011. Scott used to be CEO of a healthcare company, which got fined more than $1 billion for Medicaid fraud in the early ‘00s. Floridians have been hearing about it in Crist campaign ads for awhile.

Charlie Crist (D): Big-name politician with heavy-hitting support from names like Bill and Hillz. Used to be the GOP governor of Florida before he left office to run for the Senate in 2010 against then-newbie Marco Rubio. That didn't work out, so now he's trying to get back in the governor's office again, only this time as a Democrat. If that doesn’t work out, there’s always retirement in Boca.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

The Economy: The Sunshine State’s been looking brighter since 2011, when Scott took office. He’s touting that record to convince voters to let him keep his job. Meanwhile, Crist is promising things like an increase in the minimum wage and tax cuts for the middle class.

Obamacare: Scott led the charge of Republican governors who tried to block Obamacare on the state level in the early days. Read: he does not own a HealthCare.gov T-shirt. Scott later rejected the part of Obamacare that extends Medicaid to citizens, which Crist says he would reverse on his first day in office.

Hispanic Vote: Bienvenido a Miami. Scott got the job in 2010 thanks to a boost from this voting bloc, which surprise, sorpresa make up a big piece of Florida’s population. It’s a toss up in this election, and Crist and Scott are pulling out all the stops. Both picked Hispanic running mates. Both are running campaign ads in Spanish. Hola, votes.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • During a debate, Rick Scott reportedly got mad at Charlie Crist. Over a fan. Not a screaming human, a cool-down object. Things got heated because Scott said Crist isn't allowed to use electronic devices onstage. Glad to see them sticking to the issues.

I’M FROM FLORIDA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 6th is your deadline to register to vote. Print this, fill it out, and mail it to your election supervisor’s office. Snail-mail. Deal with it.

October 27th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Get an absentee ballot by contacting your election supervisor’s office.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7pm local time.

Georgia


Georgia

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The GOP is looking red-hot in the Senate races, but lots of Republican governors are in trouble. And Georgia’s governor’s race could be the closest. Meanwhile, a long-time GOP senator is on a midnight train to retiring, and one Democratic newbie candidate could get GA to go blue for the first time in over a decade. Big deal y’all.

WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Governor
Gov. Nathan Deal (R, Incumbent): Deal got the job in 2010 when voters were turning on President Obama and Republican governors were all the rage. Now, he’s trying not to get fired.

Jason Carter (D): Jimmy Carter didn’t just used to be president -- he was also the governor of Georgia. Jason is hoping to use his granddaddy's street cred to become Jason and The Giant Peach in the Governor’s mansion.

Senate
David Perdue (R): Former Dollar General CEO who took down a GOP favorite in the primary by labeling himself “The Outsider.” Loves his jean jacket. And thinks it’s worth over a dollar.

Michelle Nunn (D): She was the CEO of a non-profit, and she’s got some serious GA roots -- her daddy was a popular Georgia senator for almost 25 years.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: In this case, both the POTUS and the FLOTUS. Turns out, Mrs. O really likes Michelles and has been showing off her support of Nunn. But it’s not a zero-Nunn game as Perdue isn’t giving out a seal of approval and instead trying to use the president’s unpopularity against her.

The Economy: Georgia’s unemployment rate is the highest in the US, which Deal thinks is “fishy.” Meanwhile, Perdue is promoting his private-sector street cred, promising he knows how to bring the jobs to GA.

Obamacare: Deal said ‘no thanks’ to Obamacare, and rejected federal cash to expand Medicaid in the state. Carter says he’d be all for the Medicaid money, which could help him get props from low-income voters.

Voter Turnout: Carter and Nunn both need black voters to turn out. Welcome to the South--where there are lots of reasons why that is easier said than done.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • David Perdue aka “The Outsider” aired an ad where everyone in Washington was a big baby. Actual babies.

I’M FROM GEORGIA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 6th is your deadline to register to vote. Go to this page, fill out your info. You should get a confirmation email in two/three weeks. Their rules, not ours.

October 31st is your deadline to fill out an absentee ballot application if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Send it your county registrar’s office.

November 4th is Election Day. Polls close at 7PM.

Iowa


Iowa

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Iowa is always a big-deal swing state. And this year, it could help decide which party runs the Senate. And could help decide the 2016 presidential election. Because it’s special.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Rep. Bruce Braley (D): An Iowa Congressman with big name Dems like Michelle O. backing him. He’s made some unfortunate foot-in-mouth comments including calling popular Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Dissing Iowa farmers in Iowa? Not the move. He’ll be hearing about it til the cows come home.

Joni Ernst (R): State Senator and GOP It Girl. Some Dems have compared her to Sarah Palin. Gotcha. Ernst doesn’t hold back and has some strong, sometimes extreme, opinions. She says she’ll be able to cut spending in DC because she “grew up castrating hogs.” True story.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Minimum Wage: Ernst recently said that having a federal minimum wage is “ridiculous” and $7.25 is a great “starter wage for many high school students.” Braley said that is an example of her true ‘tea-party-extremist’ roots talking. Retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D), whose seat they’re running for, is also a big fan of hiking up the minimum wage.

Environment: Iowa’s corny -- ethanol production is a huge part of the state’s economy. Braley has leaned on the Obama Administration to protect a rule that requires a certain amount of ethanol (read: corn) to be in fuel. Braley says this rule created thousands of Iowa jobs. Republicans are crying ‘politics!’ at the cost of good fuel policy.

I’M FROM IOWA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 31st is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Download this and fill it out, then send it to your county auditor.

November 4th is Election Day. You can register to vote at the polls. Get it done before (or after) Happy Hour – voting closes at 9pm local time.

Kansas


Kansas

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Republicans have never had to think twice about winning in Kansas. Until now. This time, a Democrat and Independent are giving the GOP a run for their ruby slippers.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Senate
Sen. Pat Roberts (R, Incumbent): Been in Washington DC since legwarmers and perms were a thing. Some voters think that’s too long and that he’s fallen out of touch with the state. It doesn’t help that many are questioning whether he actually has a house in Kansas anymore.

Greg Orman (I): Orman’s running as the guy who can “fix” DC. And putting his rags-to-riches story as an entrepreneur to work. He ran as a Dem against Roberts in ‘08, but now he’s trying to bring Independence Day to Toto’s hometown.

Governor
Gov. Sam Brownback (R): Landed the governor’s mansion thanks to a boost from the Tea Party in ‘10. He once said he was doing a “real live experiment” with GOP policies in Kansas. Voters don’t like experiments.

Paul Davis (D): Kansas’s House Minority Leader. Gaining some traction by focusing on spending cuts that Davis says have hurt Kansas’s quality of education. Had some ‘splaining to do when it came out he’d been at a strip club during a police raid in the ‘90s. Maybe he was there for the wings?

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

The Economy: Brownback has pushed through some major tax cuts, which some say is a major problem for the state’s financial stability. Davis says this left the school system underfunded.

President Obama: Orman’s dealing with a ton of TV ads trying to tie him to President Obama. Which is funny since Orman’s ads also hit Obama for being a big part of Washington DC’s problems.

Orman's Background: Voters don’t know who Orman is, and Roberts’s campaign is trying really hard to poke holes in Orman’s image as an independent-minded entrepreneur.

I’M FROM KANSAS.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 14th is your deadline to register to vote. Go here for more info.

October 31st is your deadline to request an absentee ballot. Go here for more info.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7pm local time.

Kentucky


Kentucky

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Kentucky’s the Holy Grail of Senate races since the Republican leader in the Senate could lose his seat.

WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R, Incumbent): Senate Minority Leader – aka the Senate’s top-ranking Republican. You should know this one. He’s been in the Senate for 30 years. If he goes, there will be a big shake-up in GOP leadership (think: Eric Cantor all over again).

Alison Lundergan Grimes (D): A local Kentucky politician who is backed by Dems like Bill Clinton. Bubba to his friends. As secretary of state, she’s the only woman holding a constitutional office position in KY.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: McConnell is the guy who once said his number one priority is to make Obama a “one-term president.” That didn’t work out, but McConnell has slammed Grimes for being total Team Obama.

Social Issues: ­Well, she’s a she. One point. Grimes is hitting McConnell where it hurts: the women’s vote. She’s using his voting record on things like equal pay and the Violence Against Women Act to try and make it ladies night in Kentucky on Nov. 4th

Environment: Kentucky is a big coal-mining state – so a lot of people aren’t loving Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions by 30% over the coming years. Grimes needs to put some distance between herself and Obama on this to keep the coal-mining vote in play.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • Look at a picture of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R). Now get this: someone in Congress updated his Wikipedia page to read “his species is turtle.”

I’M FROM KENTUCKY.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 6th is your deadline to register to vote, if you’re voting in person. Print this, fill it out, and mail it to your local clerk’s office or DMV. Snail-mail. Deal with it.

October 28th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Get an absentee ballot by contacting your county clerk.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 6pm local time.

Louisiana


Louisiana

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

It’s a toss up whether the Dems will keep a grip on the Senate this year. Louisiana is one of the few states that could tip the balance. Hasn’t been this much drama there since Ouiser entered the salon in “Steel Magnolias.”

WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D, Incumbent): Three-term senator, Landrieu is dealing with a scandal over who paid for her private jet travel, and questions over whether she actually lives in Louisiana. Just the kind of thing Rust would love to investigate. She’s managing to hold it together so far...just barely. Kegstands can’t hurt.

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): First served in the LA state legislature before jumping into the US House in ‘08. Most challengers want to get as much face-time with voters as they can, but Cassidy is laying low while Landrieu deals with scandals that are getting attention from voters.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Private Jets: Landrieu recently had to send the Feds a check for over $33,000 after it turned out she had wrongly charged taxpayers for political travel (often by private jet, oops) for more than a decade. She called it “sloppy book keeping.” Cassidy’s doing her a solid by proposing a House bill that would make lawmakers report private plane travel within 30 days.

Residency: Turns out Landrieu might not actually own a house in Louisiana. She’s registered to vote at the house where her parents have lived for forever … but doesn’t have her own place. Now, the GOP’s hitting her for being a better senator to DC than Louisiana.

Obama: Landrieu is also a Democratic incumbent in a cycle that’s all about how unpopular President Obama is with voters. Remember that time Obama promised that consumers could keep their health plans under Obamacare? And it turned out that wasn’t exactly totally accurate? Cassidy’s sponsoring a bill that would let consumers keep their once-canceled health plans until 2018.

I’M FROM LOUISIANA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

Louisiana is special. Its primary is on Election Day, meaning it doesn’t make the final call about who wins the Senate seat until December. Womp.

October 6th is your deadline to register to vote in the primary. Click here to git ‘er done.

October 31st is your deadline to vote absentee, if you’re going to be out of state on primary and Election Day. Click here for instructions.

November 4th is primary day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 8pm local time.

December 6th is Election Day. Can’t make this s*it up.

Mississippi


Mississippi

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Democrats and Mississippi don’t usually mix. But this time around, a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat is up against a weak GOP senator -- meaning Republicans have to defend a state that they normally take for granted. And it could tip the scales when it comes to which party controls the Senate.

WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Thad Cochran (R, Incumbent): Barely beat a tea-party-backed state senator in the primary, thanks in large part to a surge of black, Democratic voters who got down with their Thad selves. Thad’s been around the Senate block a few times. His first year as a senator was in the ‘70s during the Watergate hearings.

Travis Childers (D): Former US Rep. He’s on the very conservative side of the Dem spectrum. Think: voted against Obamacare, and opposes gay marriage and gun control. He’s been calling on Cochran to debate him...and hearing crickets.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Minimum Wage: One thing Childers agrees with other Dems on? Raising the minimum wage. Thad’s not so hot on the idea, saying it will force employers to cut jobs, “leaving more Americans earning zero dollars an hour.”

Obamacare: Both candidates opposed Obamacare, but Cochran’s still trying to get it repealed while Childers is telling him to ‘face the music, it’s going nowhere.’

I’M FROM MISSISSIPPI.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 5th is your deadline to register to vote. Print this, fill it out, and mail it to your county clerk’s office. Snail-mail. Deal with it.

October 25th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Get an absentee ballot by contacting your county clerk.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7pm local time.

New Hampshire


New hampshire

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Democrats are trying desperately to hold onto control of the Senate, and NH isn’t helping.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D, Incumbent): Was New Hampshire’s governor and then became senator in ‘08. So yeah, she’ll play the local card because she is one.

Scott Brown (R): Got famous after he scooped up the Massachusetts Senate seat in the 2010 election (that was Ted Kennedy’s old seat). Yes, in Massachusetts. In his spare time, Brown does the Blue Steel.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: President Obama won New Hampshire in the 2012 election, but support for him there has seriously declined. Brown has called Shaheen Obama’s “foot soldier” and he’ll try to link her to Barry’s agenda as much as possible.

Foreign Policy: In case you haven’t noticed, the international community’s hit some major speed bumps recently. Hint: rhymes with crisis and gluten. ISIS and Putin have been causing trouble and Brown has been criticizing Shaheen’s connection with Obama’s foreign policy, saying she doesn’t know how to lead at home or abroad.

Social Issues: Brown says he's pro-choice, but Shaheen thinks that's BS. She's aired an ad that says Brown sponsored a bill in Massachusetts that would've made women wait 24-hours for an abortion, and look at images of fetuses before the procedure. Brown says 'hold up' you've got your facts wrong. The bill was supposed to give women more information about their options. He's pro-choice. End-o-story.

I’M FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

November 3rd is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Get an absentee ballot by contacting your county clerk.

November 4th is Election Day. You can register to vote at the polls. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting sites start to close at 7pm local time.

North Carolina


North carolina

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Notice a theme? Democrats would really -- really -- love to keep control of the Senate this year. But that all depends on a few key races, and North Carolina’s high on the list. It’s already the most expensive race in the state’s history.

WHAT NAMES DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Sen. Kay Hagan (D, Incumbent): One of many Dems who rode the Obama wave all the way to DC in ‘08. Obama’s not so trendy anymore, and Hagan’s doing her best to keep her distance and brand herself as a moderate.

Thom Tillis (R): North Carolina’s Speaker of the House. Responsible for the state legislature’s move to the right, to the right in the last few years. Getting big-name help from the national GOP -- Mitt Romney stopped by to campaign.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: This race is all about having voters choose between Washington politics (read: Obama) and local politics. Tillis is making Hagan out to be Obama’s BFF, while Hagan’s describing herself as the “most moderate” senator you ever did see.

Social Issues: Does the phrase “war on women” ring a bell? It’s the Dems favorite way to hit the GOP for policies that Dems say affect women’s health issues. Hagan’s bringing the “war” back, accusing Tillis of blocking Planned Parenthood funding and limiting access to abortions. Tillis recently decided he’s OK with over-the-counter birth control, which Hagan says is just “politicking.”

I’M FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 10th is your deadline to register to vote, if you’re voting in person. Download this, print it, sign it, and mail it in to your county’s board of elections.

October 28th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Download this, and mail/email/drop it off in person at your county’s board of elections.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7:30pm local time.

Texas


Texas

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Gov. Rick Perry (R) -- yup, the one who was indicted -- isn’t running for re-election. He’s got 1600 Pennsylvania on his mind. Republicans wear the pants in Texas, but a Democrat with national sneaker-cred has spiced things up in this year’s governor’s race.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Wendy Davis (D): Wears pink sneakers. Can talk a lot. You first met the TX state senator when she filibustered a strict abortion bill. But she’s struggling to close the gap in this red state.

Greg Abbott (R): Texas’s Attorney General. Wendy Davis once said “He hasn’t walked a day in my shoes.” Which would be very difficult, seeing as he’s a paraplegic. Abbott’s favored right now.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Immigration: Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially immigration issues. This year, thousands of unaccompanied children have crossed the US-Mexico border into Texas. So this is a big voter issue for both candidates. Both of them will be trying to prove that they’re the leader the state needs to get things straightened out.

Social Issues: Davis will make her case to female voters on everything from equal pay to reproductive rights...she is very pro-choice. Abbott is very pro-life.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • What not to do when up against an opponent in a wheelchair? Call out the wheelchair. Davis’s campaign recently aired what’s now known as “the wheelchair ad,” which criticizes Abbott for not doing enough to help other people with disabilities.

I’M FROM TEXAS.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 6th is your deadline to register to vote. Download this, fill it out, print, sign and mail it to your local clerk’s office.

October 24th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Download this, print it out and mail it in to your local clerk’s office.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7pm local time.

Virginia


Virginia

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Washington DC’s jaw hit the floor when Former Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor -- the former House majority leader seen as a sure-thing for re-election -- got beat by Tea Party-backed David Brat. Meanwhile, a popular Democratic senator is getting challenged by one of the most connected men in the GOP. Bottom line? Virginia’s lost that lovin’ feelin’.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Senate
Sen. Mark Warner (D, Incumbent): Former VA gov. and co-founder of the company that became Nextel. Rode the Obama wave all the way to DC in ‘08, but now he’s slowly backing away from Mr. President.

Ed Gillespie (R): Former Republican National Committee chairman and senior adviser to President George W. Bush. Man knows how to network. Now, he’s popping his candidate cherry.

House
David Brat (R): David took down Goliath when he sent Cantor packing in the Republican primary. It was the first time a majority leader had ever lost a primary. BFD. Brat’s an Economics professor at Randolph-Macon College with the Tea Party in his pocket.

Jack Trammell (D): Also a professor at Randolph-Macon College. Trammell won the nomination for this Democratic long-shot race by a landslide...because he was the only one in the race.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Obama: Gillespie’s favorite strategy is pegging Warner to President Obama, and his policies, as often as possible. Warner’s arguing he’s really a centrist in Democratic clothing, willing to work with anybody.

Immigration: Brat won the primary by tapping into conservatives' anger against Cantor for supporting certain immigration reforms. Making it Da Brat’s favorite issue.

I’M FROM VIRGINIA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 14th is your deadline to register to vote, if you’re voting in person. Download this, print it and mail it in to your voter registration office (you’ll find it on the application).

October 28th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Download this, and mail it in to your voter registration office (you’ll find it on the application).

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 7pm local time.

Wisconsin


Wisconsin

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Wisconsin is one of the few states where a high-profile governor is in danger of losing his seat.

WHO DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Gov. Scott Walker (R, Incumbent): You know him as the gov. who caused weeks of protests in the state capitol building in 2011 over eliminating certain bargaining privileges for unions. That led to a recall vote against him, but all the publicity also made him a GOP golden boy. Golden Boy’s reportedly got a big dream house in mind -- hint: it’s White -- but he’s got a ways to go.

Mary Burke (D): She’s a she. First woman nominated to a major party in Wisconsin for the gov. seat. Burke’s high-gear in other ways too -- she used to be an exec at a big bike company, and was also the state commerce secretary. She may or may not have taken a “snowboarding sabbatical” at some point. Don’t ask.

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

The Economy: The main issue in this campaign, and Walker’s weak spot. Burke says he has a follow-through problem, since he hasn’t created as many jobs as he promised he would. Walker doesn't think Burke’s record is so spot on, either. Glad we cleared that up.

Obama: Mr. President isn’t too popular in Wisconsin right now, and Walker’s aiming to use that against Burke, since she once worked for a former governor who is a big fan of Obama’s.


GIMME SOMETHING TO SAY

  • Scott Walker (R) has always been anti-gay marriage. But now he’s signaled that he’s kinda-sorta changed his tune...by changing the subject. When asked about it, he said “Republicans haven’t been talking about this. We’ve been talking about economic and fiscal issues.” Alright then.

I’M FROM WISCONSIN.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING?

October 15th is your deadline to register to vote by mail, if you’re voting in person. Download this, print it out and mail it in to your local clerk’s office.

October 30th is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you’re going to be out of state on Election Day. Download this, print it out and mail it in to your local clerk’s office.

November 4th is Election Day. You can register to vote at the polls. Get it done before Happy Hour – voting closes at 8pm local time.

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