Control of the U.S. Senate is now up for grabs in what could be one of the most competitive elections in years – and the struggle for power appears to hinge on 10 hotly contested seats that could go to either party.
Thirty-three U.S. Senate seats are now available for the taking. Democrats have 23 seats up for election, including two independents (Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is retiring, and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who is seeking re-election) who caucus with the Democrats. Of those 23, seven are retiring and 16 are seeking re-election.
Republicans have only 10 seats up for election. Two Republicans are retiring, while eight are seeking re-election. To claim a Senate majority, Republicans must gain four seats (or three to tie) in 2012.
According to the Cook Political Report, some of the biggest toss-up Senate seats include New Mexico, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Montana, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Dakota. All are controlled by Democrats, except Massachusetts, where Sen. Scott Brown is struggling to hold his favor with voters against Elizabeth Warren, who is leading in recent polls.
The Cook Political Report also rates 21 races as being to some extent competitive, five more than any of the three preceding elections.
The Cook Political Report features this race rating projection. The green area represents U.S. Senate seats that could go to any party.
The following is an in-depth look at all current contenders seeking their party’s nomination and, ultimately, election to the Senate in 2012. (Please note that there are four pages to this profile.):
1) Joe Lieberman, Indep.-Conn. – retiring
Brian K. Hill with U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.
A lawyer, small-business owner and former Judge Advocate General Corps officer, Brian Hill was honorably discharged from active duty as a major. He was deployed around the world, including numerous times to Kuwait, Egypt and Qatar. Hill has also lived overseas and in eight different states. In the United States, he supported Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom in Washington, D.C., Georgia and Virginia.
Hill’s degrees include: bachelor of science in political science from Southern Connecticut State University, juris doctor from Howard University School of Law and master of law in military law with a specialty in federal contract law from the Army Judge Advocate General Legal School and Center.
Hill advocates reducing the following: corporate and personal marginal tax rates, the size of federal bureaucracy, complexity of the tax code, federal regulations, the debt and the deficit. He supports increasing fair trade, domestic energy production and legal immigration for highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs.
He proposes eliminating the alternative minimum tax, the federal gas tax, death tax, capital gains tax, food taxes and payroll taxes.
On health care, Hill seeks to eliminate Obamacare, separate health insurance from employment, enact tort reform, promote federal health-savings accounts, impose means testing for all entitlements and eliminate waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Additionally, he supports school choice, repealing “No Child Left Behind,” imposing term limits, killing Cap-and-Trade legislation and developing a domestic energy plan to explore America’s own natural resources.
A professional wrestling magnate, Linda McMahon developed World Wresting Entertainment, or WWE, with her husband, Vince McMahon. The largest professional wrestling company in the world, WWE promotes two brands: Raw and SmackDown. She stepped down as chief executive officer of WWE in 2009 and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top business executives.
World Wrestling Entertainment superstars John Morrison and the Miz perform for U.S. troops Dec. 4, 2009, in Iraq.
McMahon said she will soon offer a comprehensive jobs plan that “acknowledges that economic growth is not a government program.” She said Obamacare is “a massive new entitlement that America cannot afford” and promised to work to repeal it and replace it with a “market-based proposal that reduces costs to individuals and increases competition.” McMahon proposes allowing businesses to “pool risk” and offer insurance to employees at a discounted rate, allowing companies to sell health insurance across state lines and eliminating frivolous lawsuits.
On energy, she supports simplifying and expediting approval for oil and gas projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and some federal lands.
On education, McMahon supports school choice, online education and homeschooling.
McMahon serves on the boards of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and the Close Up Foundation. In 2009, she was appointed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell to serve on the Connecticut Board of Education.
She graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of science degree in French. McMahon won Connecticut Tea Party Patriots’ 2012 Senate straw poll in February.
Chris Shays is a former U.S. representative who served Connecticut’s 4th district for two decades and a prominent GOP moderate. He lost a re-election bid to Democrat Rep. Jim Himes in 2008.
Shays served as co-chairman of the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting, an independent, bipartisan legislative commission tasked with studying wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Shays has voted with Democrats many times, including casting his vote against all four articles of impeachment for then-President Bill Clinton and against the federal marriage amendment. He also voted for gun control and for overturning the ban on open homosexuals serving in the military.
Shays earned a master of business administration and a master of public administration degree from New York University.
A libertarian and strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Paul Passarelli believes in the “presumptive right of the people to possess all manner of guns, knives, swords, weapons, etc.” While he supports what he terms a woman’s “right” to have an abortion, he opposes the use of federal funds to pay for the procedure.
Passarelli explains on his campaign website that he believes homosexual marriage must be recognized by the federal government:
“The question of whether gay marriage should be recognized by the federal government in the [legal] aspect is unquestionably yes, subject to all of the same provisions as heterosexual marriage. There was a time when the notion of marriage across religious lines was ‘taboo’ when marriage across ethnic lines was too [sic]. While some people are still offended when they see a ‘mixed’ marriage, the law cannot be.”
Whenever he votes on a bill, Passarelli promises to issue a summary on his vote and a position paper detailing his thoughts and analysis. He also proposes legislation that would require members of Congress to receive “the same health care as citizens are able to obtain privately and at similar out-of-pocket expense.”
Passarelli describes himself as a political outsider, an advocate of American civil liberties and a fiscal conservative.
A former representative and secretary of the state of Connecticut, Democrat Susan Bysiewicz graduated from Yale University and Duke University School of Law.
Bysiewicz implemented Connecticut’s CONCORD system, giving the public online access to information about more than 340,000 registered businesses in the state. According to her campaign website, she also completed the Connecticut Voter Registration System to streamline the state’s electoral rolls, protect voter rights and prevent voter fraud.
As a U.S. senator, Bysiewicz said she will keep well-paying jobs in her state by rebuilding infrastructure, investing in new industry and cutting taxes for the middle class and small businesses. She promises to push for simplification of the tax code and ensuring small businesses have the resources they need to survive.
On energy, Bysiewicz would support investment in research by universities to develop new technologies to create “green jobs” and foster energy independence. She seeks to expand companies developing solar, wind and biofuel technology. On education, Bysiewicz would seek to increase federal funding for Head Start, Pell Grants and federal college loans. She said she would advocate elimination of tax breaks that encourage corporations to ship jobs overseas, ensuring the state’s workers are “competing on an even playing field with foreign workers.”
She promises to protect key elements of Obamacare, including: 1) reducing the cost of health insurance to small businesses, 2) requiring preventative care, 3) prohibiting denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, 4) allowing children to receive health insurance on their parents’ plan until age 26 and 5) extending Medicare’s prescription drug coverage.
Finally, Bysiewicz pledges to “promote open and transparent government” by holding regular office hours, ending corporate influence on elections and making earmark requests transparent.
A Democrat representing Connecticut’s 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, Chris Murphy is known for knocking on doors and holding dozens of “supermarket office hours.”
Murphy authored Connecticut’s Stem Cell Investment Act and a statewide ban on smoking in the workplace.
During his second congressional term, Murphy was appointed to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he helped draft Obamacare. Murphy’s campaign website describes him as being “a leading voice for the public option.”
As current co-chairman of the Congressional Land Conservation Caucus, Murphy prides himself on his commitment to environmental protection. He has also advocated for the federal government to abandon the Defense of Marriage Act and end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned openly homosexual individuals from serving in the military. A firm supporter of abortion “rights” and “comprehensive sex education,” Murphy promises to fight against “efforts that chip away at Roe v. Wade.”
Murphy attended Williams College and received his law degree from the University of Connecticut.
A corporate attorney and son of a Chinese immigrant, William Tong spent his childhood working side-by-side with his parents in their family restaurant, washing dishes, cooking and waiting tables. When his father faced deportation in 1972, the elder Tong wrote a six-page letter to President Richard Nixon. Just one year before William Tong was born, the Department of Justice allowed his father to stay and become a U.S. citizen.
In a 2006 state representative race, Tong soundly defeated a Republican incumbent and made history as the first Democrat ever to represent the 147th district in the General Assembly and the first Asian-Pacific-American elected to state level in Connecticut’s history.
Tong was also the first elected official in his state to endorse then-Sen. Barack Obama for president. The Hartford Courant nicknamed him the “Asian Obama.”
Tong proposes increasing credit for small businesses, expanding foreclosure relief to stabilize the housing market and taking the lead on renewable and alternative technologies by creating financing programs to speed adoption of fuel cells, solar panels and energy-efficiency products.
Tong is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School. Within just 50 days of announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Tong reportedly raised $550,000.
A 14-year union member, Democrat Lee Whitnum holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University. She is author of two novels, “Hedge Fund Mistress” and “What About the Dead?”
Whitnum’s latest book is “Anti-AIPAC not Anti-Semitic: The Israel Lobby’s Dangerous Control of Congress.” She describes herself as “vehemently anti-AIPAC and anti-Zionist.” On her campaign website, she writes, “American fundamentalist Christian Zionists are a huge, misguided, political force in our country. … Israel needs to do right by its underclass; any decisions based on maintaining a ‘Jewish majority’ is racial prejudice and, as Americans, we should reject it as contrary to our values. If Israel desires racial purity – compensate your underclass and relocate them. Many would go – and absorb the rest. Slaughter and oppression is not the answer.”
She also writes, “I am running to stand by President Obama in the inevitable showdown with Netanyahu.”
2) Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii – retiring
John Carroll enlisted in the U.S. Army and served during the Korean War. After graduating from the University of Hawaii, he transferred to the U.S. Air Force and became a jet fighter pilot. He earned his law degree from St. Mary’s University College of Law and later specialized in aviation law. Carroll was a commercial pilot for Hawaiian Airlines from 1958 to 1989.
Carroll was elected five times to the Hawaii State Legislature, with four terms as a representative in the House and one term as a state senator.
“I have the experience needed to do this job and will bring a consistent set of conservative values that I share with so many of Hawaii’s people,” he said in a press release announcing his Senate bid. He offered the following 10-point plan:
1) Lower Hawaii’s high cost of living by seeking relief from the archaic Jones Act.
2) Restore ideological balance on the national agenda by giving a voice to those in Hawaii who do not believe in the liberal policies espoused by all of our congressional delegation.
3) Reinvigorate the national and state economies through tax reduction, deregulation and promotion of the principles of our free-enterprise system.
4) Demand fiscal accountability from local and national government. Cut costs and eliminate waste before incurring more debt or resorting to taxation.
5. Overhaul the federal tax code. The existing tax laws have become convoluted, complex and unfair. We should seek simplification, a national sales or flat tax alternative, and eliminate the income tax and IRS.
6) Adherence to the integrity of constitutional law. Personal freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution are not negotiable, and not subject to judicial “modification.”
7) Re-establish sustainable agriculture and aquaculture in Hawaii. Once a model for sustainability and self-sufficiency, Hawaii is now almost totally dependent on expensive imports for food and energy.
8) Fight the “dumbing down” of America and Hawaii. Our public-education system has failed generations of young Americans and has hastened the decline of our ability to compete globally.
9) Defend our island values and environment. Hawaii’s unique resources and ecosystem must be protected for future generations.
10) Kanaka Maoli justice. Resist the race-based “define and separate” policies inherent in the proposed Akaka bill, and release land, in fee, directly to qualified native Hawaiians.
Linda Lingle, former governor of Hawaii from December 2002 to December 2010, was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the honorary delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary in May 2008. She is active in the Republican Jewish Coalition.
On July 6, 2010, Lingle vetoed Hawaii House Bill 444, which would have allowed civil unions for homosexuals in Hawaii, arguing the issue should be decided by referendum. Her campaign website explains that her top priority as U.S. senator will be “federal policies and initiatives that will encourage job creation in the short term and create a vibrant and growing economy in the longer term.”
Linda Lingle and President Obama at the White House in 2009.
More than a year and half after Barack Obama was elected president, Lingle is known for publicly voicing the alleged exact location of Obama’s birth, saying, “The president was, in fact, born at Kapi’olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.” Her disclosure was believed to be the first time a state government official had declared the precise place where Obama was born, despite numerous other published claims, including some for a different hospital in Honolulu.
“It’s been an odd situation,” Lingle said, referring to the continuing controversy over the disputed natural-born citizenship of Obama. “This issue kept coming up so much in the campaign, and again I think it’s one of those issues that is simply a distraction from the more critical issues that are facing the country. … I think it’s again a horrible distraction for the country by those people who continue this.”
Lingle earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge.
Ed Case attended Williams College in Massachusetts, graduating with a major in psychology in 1975. After college, he worked as a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga.
Just a few years later, intent upon a career in elective politics, he earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings, College of Law in 1981. He returned to Hawaii in 1981 and worked as a law clerk to Hawaii Supreme Court Justice William Richardson. In 1983, he joined the law firm Carlsmith Ball, where he practiced for 20 years, focusing on land and commercial law. He became partner at the firm in 1989.
In 1994, Case was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives. He served eight years and was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives following the death of U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, D-Hawaii. He served three terms in the U.S. House.
As part of his agenda, Case said he will reject “unreasonable and harmful levels of taxation, regulation and spending,” focus on small businesses, bring federal contracts to Hawaii, propose a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, cap discretionary spending and strengthen efforts to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in government.
He also supports reforms for No Child Left Behind and banning the use of Social Security trust funds for non-Social Security purposes. Case promises to improve Obamacare with the addition of tort reform “and other cost controls” and “heighten global environmental protection as centerpiece to our foreign policy.”
Barack Obama and Mazie Hirono
Born in Fukushima, Japan, on Nov. 3, 1947, Mazie Hirono became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. She is the first Asian-American woman to be sworn into Congress.
Hirono graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., where she focused on public interest law. Following graduation from law school, Hirono returned to Hawaii and served as deputy attorney general before entering private practice. She was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1980. She was later elected as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 1994, where she served two four-year terms.
Hirono has been endorsed by EMILY’s List for pro-choice women. She voted “no” on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion. In 2007, she voted “yes” on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines and providing “emergency contraception” at military facilities.
She opposed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Hirono also voted no on opening the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling and barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. She supports enforced limits on “CO2 global warming pollution” and removing oil and gas exploration subsidies.
Hirono supported the Cash for Clunkers program and repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. She voted to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program and supports eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy.
3) Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico – retiring
Bill English describes his name recognition as being on a level with “a pet rock named Seymour.”
However, English supports a return to the principles of the nation’s Founding Fathers and its Constitution. He advocates the immediate repeal of Obamacare and a “more common sense approach to health care in America that does not violate the Constitution and does not bilk the American people of their heard-earned dollars with unconstitutional requirements to purchase government health care.” He supports a reduction in government and “government interference in the lives of all Americans.”
A states’ rights advocate, English also supports fiscal responsibility that “takes care of the needs of the citizens of this country and does not dole out American tax dollars to foreign nations in the form of foreign aid to dictators who steal from their own citizens and would gladly slip a knife between the ribs of America the first chance they got.” His fiscal policy is simple: “If we don’t have the money, we don’t spend the money.” He supports a fair tax and term limits in the House and Senate.
English argues for reduced involvement in United Nations mandated policies and treaties that haven’t been ratified by Congress and supports “absolutely no involvement either by treaty or by agreement with the United Nations World Court.”
Finally, on immigration, English advocates for “immediate expulsion of all foreign nationals who have entered or crossed our national borders illegally” and the completion of the national border security fence.
The youngest of eight children, John Sanchez was raised by a single mother in New Mexico. He has been a small-business owner for nearly 30 years. Sanchez served in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 2000 to 2002. In 2012, he was elected lieutenant governor.
Sanchez believes in getting the government out of the way so entrepreneurs can grow their businesses and create jobs. He explains on his campaign website, “As the federal government grows and becomes a larger percentage of the American economy, it stifles private sector job growth and forces a greater reliance on government services and programs.”
He is seeking to put an end to open-border policies that allow human trafficking and drugs to erode the nation’s communities. He explains, “We must protect our borders so that Americans are afforded the safety and security that they rightfully expect.”
Sanchez describes himself as a pro-life conservative who has “never wavered in his commitment to protecting the unborn.” He also advocates for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, arguing that affordable and accessible health care starts with honest liability reform so good doctors and patients can make health decisions. Sanchez supports a balanced-budget amendment and has signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.
Sowards family. Greg Sowards and wife are pictured in white shirts.
In 1970, Greg Sowards enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea, where he provided support for operations in Vietnam while maintaining a U.S. presence there. Sowards explains, “I learned the meaning of sacrifice, and the necessity to defend the rights of people to form and preserve a democracy in the face of communism. During this time away from the United States, I became aware of the sanctity of our Constitution and the liberty that it affords.”
When Sowards returned to the states, he graduated with his teaching degree from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Karen, started their first business in 1982 – manufacturing mini trampolines. However, he soon learned that he could buy imports for less money than he could buy raw materials. Sowards recalled, “I learned that one-sided trade agreements, unfair taxes and over-regulation hurt businesses and the economy here in the United States.” He soon patented a soccer training device called the Kwik Kik and sold tens of thousands of them around the world.
In 1987, he and Karen began a child-care business in Las Cruces, N.M. The business thrived, and they now care for more than 600 children in six facilities and employ more than 70 people.
Once he takes office as a U.S. senator, Sowards promises to ask himself the following five questions before considering any piece of legislation:
- Is this legislation worth putting our children and grandchildren into debt?
- What effect does it have on America’s traditional family?
- Does it take rights away from law-abiding citizens and give them to criminals?
- Does it strengthen and uphold the U.S. Constitution?
- Does it protect the sovereignty of America?
Sowards believes “life is not a choice,” marriage is between one man and one woman, unimpeded gun ownership is a right and fiscal responsibility is not an option but a responsibility. He believes the government must slash spending, lower taxes and eliminate burdensome regulations to allow businesses to reinvest profits, hire employees and produce new products.
Finally, Sowards pledges to vote for repealing Obamacare – without replacing it – and for legislation that will simplify the tax code.
Heather Wilson was the first woman ever to command a basic training unit after the U.S. Air Force Academy began admitting women. She graduated from the academy in 1982 as a distinguished graduate and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. She continued her education at Jesus College, Oxford University, earning a master and doctor of philosopy in international relations. Her book, “International Law and the Use of Force by National Liberation Movements,” won the 1988 Paul Reuter Prize, the second ever awarded.
Wilson served in the U.S. Air Force for seven years, until she was chosen to serve as director for European defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council. She left government work in 1991 and founded Keystone International Inc., a company that specialized in working with senior executives in American defense and scientific corporations.
In 1995, then-Gov. Gary Johnson appointed Wilson to be cabinet secretary for New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department. Wilson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where she served New Mexico’s 1st congressional district from 1998 to 2009.
Wilson is also known for blasting CBS and Viacom at a House FCC hearing in 2004 after Janet Jackson exposed her breast during a half-time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
“You knew what you were doing,” she told the president of Viacom. “You knew what kind of entertainment you were selling, and you wanted us to be all abuzz, here in this room and on the playground in my kids’ school, because it improves your ratings. It improves your market share, and it lines your pockets.”
On the issue of life, Wilson has voted for: expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, banning partial-birth abortion, forbidding human cloning and banning abortion funding in U.S aid abroad.
On the economy, Wilson voted against the $15 billion bailout of GM and Chrysler and against the $60 billion stimulus package in 2008. She also voted for restriction of bankruptcy rules and regulation of the subprime mortgage industry. Wilson has voted for a ban on homosexual adoptions in Washington, D.C., and she believes marriage is between one man and one woman. She received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record.
Raised by a single mother in public housing, Hector Balderas is the first person from Wagon Mound, N.M., to graduate from law school and become an attorney. He earned his degrees from New Mexico Highlands University and the University of New Mexico Law School and accepted a job as an assistant district attorney.
Balderas served one term in the New Mexico state legislature, where he supported legislation strengthening penalties for sexual predators, creating incentives for clean energy and funding virtual education for rural public schools. According to his campaign website, he “became frustrated with the lack of accountability he was seeing from too many local and state officials that were wasting and abusing taxpayer dollars.”
In November 2006, he was elected New Mexico state auditor, where he was charged with regulatory oversight of more than $60 billion in governmental assets and 603 government entitities. His office issued subpoenas to public officials and contractors to provide full accounting of how tax dollars were being spent.
Martin Heinrich and family
The son of an electrician and factory worker, Martin Heinrich graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in science and engineering. He has served New Mexico’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2009.
In 2010, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Heinrich, stating, “Rep. Heinrich has a solid record of standing up for women’s freedom and privacy. He is an outstanding advocate for New Mexico’s common sense pro-choice values. Rep. Heinrich’s victory in 2008 is one reason the state has an entirely pro-choice congressional delegation
– and we want to keep it that way.” Due to his support for abortion, he has a 0 percent record on votes scored by the National Right to Life Committee.
Heinrich is an active environmentalist who served on the Albuquerque City Council, pushing for use of wind and solar power. In 2006, Gov. Bill Richardson appointed him to be New Mexico’s natural resources trustee.
In 2008, Heinrich said he did not support homosexual marriage; however, he was an original co-sponsor of Rep. Jerry’s Nadler’s bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. In August this year, Heinrich told the New Mexico Independent he “absolutely” supports homosexual marriage.
Democrat Andres Valdez is executive director of Vecinos United and an activist who speaks out against cases of alleged police brutality. According to the website NMPolitics.net, Valdez did not raise enough money by Sept. 30 – $5,000 – to file finance reports with the Federal Election Commission. He does not have an active campaign website.
Upon announcing his intention to run, Valdez said, “I want to rock the boat. I know I’ll probably be the dark horse.”
4) Kent Conrad, D-N.D. – retiring
After serving as a North Dakota state legislator for 26 years, Rick Berg became North Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2010, he defeated nine-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy to become the first Republican in three decades to fill the seat.
Berg also ran a commercial real-estate firm in Fargo. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics.
Berg is a pro-life social conservative who believes marriage is between one man and one woman. He also supports repeal of Obamacare, preserving Second Amendment rights and opening the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.
In March 2011, he voted yes on terminating funding for National Public Radio. In June 2011, he voted for a resolution against sending armed forces to Libya without congressional approval.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990, Duane Sand served on three nuclear submarines and achieved the rank of lieutenant commander. He was discharged from active duty in 1999 but was recalled to serve as a U.S. Navy officer during the Iraq war.
Sand helped organize tea parties in North Dakota. He believes Congress must cut unnecessary spending and pass a balanced-budget amendment immediately. According to his campaign website, Sand is calling for a comprehensive energy plan now, “a plan that uses all the resources available to our state and nation safely, including oil, natural gas, wind, solar, clean coal, nuclear and renewables, and ends the ban on offshore drilling.”
He describes himself as “100 percent pro-life” and says he will work on pushing legislation “to protect life at every stage, including a push to confirm conservative nominations to the bench.” Sand also believes marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.
Finally, Sand said he is “committed to going to Washington and dismantling the Obama agenda, starting with Obamacare.”
5) Jim Webb, D-Va. – retiring
George Allen with former President Ronald Reagan
The son of legendary NFL coach George Herbert Allen, George Allen grew up in a football family with “grace” before every supper. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and attended University of Virginia Law School. Allen served as a law clerk in Southwestern Virginia for conservative Judge Glen M. Williams.
A self-described “common sense Jeffersonian conservative,” Allen once held Thomas Jefferson’s seat in the Virginia General Assembly. He became the 67th governor of Virginia in 1994 and represented Virginia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1993. He served in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2007.
As governor of Virginia, Allen issued an order that changed 25 years of taxpayer-funded abortions by altering the Virginia state employee health benefits plan to prohibit coverage of elective abortions. He also signed into law legislation requiring parental notification when minors seek abortions. As senator, he voted to ban partial-birth abortions and prohibit federal funding of the procedure. Allen also co-sponsored the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act in 2005 so mothers seeking abortions would be informed that the unborn baby could feel extreme pain in the womb during the procedure. He has earned a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
Allen believes in upholding the Defense of Marriage Act and supports both state and federal constitutional amendments to enshrine marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. He is also a strong advocate of property rights and opposes U.N. Agenda 21 and foreign treaties that jeopardize America’s sovereignty.
In the Senate, Allen was an original co-sponsor of the Homeschool Nondiscrimination Act, or HONDA, legislation that sought to clarify federal laws that overlook or unfairly impact homeschoolers. The law would have allowed homeschooling families to save $2,000 a year in tax-free accounts for educational expenses.
Allen is a strong advocate of Second Amendment rights, tax cuts and efforts to repeal Obamacare.
A small businessman and broadcast journalist, Tim Donner established Horizons Television Inc., a media production company, and founded One Generation Away, a public policy organization. He is also the host of “Talkin’ Baseball,” a nationally syndicated radio program.
Donner graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science. He began his career as a sports broadcaster in Boston and central Massachusetts.
In 2005, Horizons Television Inc. produced “Inconvenient Truth, or Convenient Fiction?” The documentary response to Al Gore’s global warming manifesto debuted in Washington, New York and San Francisco. Donner’s father, Joe Donner, was involved in founding the National Review magazine.
Donner advocates elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He believes Medicare can be salvaged for the next generation by allowing citizens to redirect Medicare taxes into retirement health-savings accounts. He also supports securing Social Security by gradually raising the age of eligibility and applying basic means testing to eliminate the wealthiest Americans from the program.
On immigration, Donner supports the Red Card Solution, a plan to use private employment agencies to track immigrant workers and match them with employers. The strategy would employ “smart cards” to enhance the current system of e-verification.
Donner also supports domestic oil drilling, development of renewable sources of energy, repeal of Obamacare and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
He advocates a flat tax and simplifying the system to a single income tax rate – ideally 23 percent – while closing loopholes for special interests. Donner also supports the idea of a fair tax that would abolish the IRS, eliminate all income and payroll taxes and replace them with a single national sales tax of 23 percent for some goods and 30 percent for others. “Either the flat tax or the fair tax would be far superior to the current income tax system,” he stated on his campaign website.
E.W. Jackson Sr.
A U.S. Marine veteran of the Vietnam era whose family history in Virginia dates back to the time of the Revolutionary War, E.W. Jackson is bishop of Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts and Harvard Law School. Jackson practiced and taught business law and ran his own small business for 10 years.
In 2009, Jackson launched Staying True to America’s National Destiny, or STAND, a national grass-roots organization dedicated to restoring America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and values. In 2010, he established STAND America PAC to recruit and support conservative black candidates to run against liberals in Congressional Black Caucus districts.
“The black community has been deceived into voting for liberal black leadership which does not reflect their values,” he explained. He urges black voters to register as independents and vote their Christian values. Jackson has said, “The Democrat Party’s commitment to abortion, homosexuality and moral relativism is an affront to the values of the black Christian community. It is a ‘coalition of the godless.’ Black Christians do not belong in a ‘coalition of the godless’ and should not vote for those who are.”
A tea-party favorite, Jackson has been published nationally and internationally. He has been seen and heard on Fox News, ABC, C-Span, National Public Radio, and his work has been reported in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times, among others.
Jackson said he is running for U.S. Senate for one reason: “I believe that the debt that we continue to accumulate as a country will lead us to ruin. If sent to Washington, my focus will be working to halt our dangerous spending and borrowing binge.” To do so, Jackson promises to support lower taxes, work to cut through burdensome overregulation that chokes businesses and repeal “the abomination that is Obamacare.”
He also pledges to be a tireless advocate for veterans, to bring clean energy and jobs to Virginia and to protect the sanctity of life and traditional marriage. He offers a 10-point plan to “reverse the Obama agenda.”
A newcomer to electoral politics, David McCormick served as a pilot in the Air Force for 30 years and spent more than a decade working for United Parcel Service. He graduated from Baylor University with a degree in business. McCormick earned his master’s degree in business and human resources from Amber University and his law degree from Regent University Law School. He is now a part-time law professor at Regent University and a Hampton Roads lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy, traffic and divorce cases.
McCormick pledges to turn up the HEAT in Washington:
“These four values are crucial to any successful effort to return our nation to its position of strength, freedom and prosperity that for generations we enjoyed,” he explains. “[A]s your senator, these will be the values exemplified in everything I do.”
McCormick’s campaign website also has a kid’s corner that features a lesson comparing government prolifigacy to a squirrel that fails to store enough seeds and nuts to make it through the winter.
A homeschooling mother of three, Jamie Radtke became swept up in the spontaneous grassroots movement that reshaped the entire political landscape in America: the tea party. She served as president of the Richmond Tea Party and chairwoman of the Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots. Radtke worked to promote constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets.
In 1995, Radtke graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in government. In the same year, she worked for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Sen. Jesse Helms. She earned her master of public policy from the College of William and Mary and spent two years at American Management Systems as a consultant to the Virginia Department of Taxation.
Radtke supports individual rights and responsibility, inalienable human rights for the born and unborn, free enterprise, restraints on taxing and government spending, religious freedom, limited government, the integrity of the traditional family as the basic unit of society and respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.
As a U.S. senator, she promises to:
- oppose raising the federal debt ceiling
- end the massive and unsustainable federal deficits
- work for meaningful, courageous reform of entitlement programs
- protect the intrinsic right to life
- uphold the traditional family
- defend the Second Amendment
- fight to eliminate government subsidies of corporations (e.g. ethanol subsidies)
- advocate for energy-independent policies that bring down the price of gas
- oppose illegal immigration
- propose a simpler and fairer tax structure
- demand a sound monetary policy
An engineer and self-described “fiscally conservative progressive” who is socially liberal, Kevin Chisholm said he wants to see the federal government put on a “long-term, steady diet to restore America’s fiscal health.”
Chisholm earned his degree in environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and worked for private rail companies and government in helping minimize the cost of environmental compliance. He managed teams and multi-million dollar budgets to reduce the cost of remedying chemical and nuclear contaminated disposal sites in many locations throughout the U.S. From 2003 to 2010, he served as the official for energy and utilities for the Arlington, Va., public-school system.
According to his campaign website, Chisholm travels by public transportation whenever practical because he believes “the fundamental reasons we have had most military conflicts over the past three years have related to imported oil.”
“I am both an energy expert and a father of two young adults,” he said. “I simply cannot look them in the eyes and say we Americans are being responsible. We have fought too many wars over oil and squandered too many years through inaction. Energy is about the stability of our economy, jobs, and using resources not to fight wars but to build a better future.”
Former governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, Time Kaine served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from January 2009 to April 2011 at the request of President Obama. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in economics and from Harvard Law School. During law school, Kaine took a year off to work as a Catholic missionary in Honduras.
Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in fair housing law, representing people who claim to have been denied housing due to their race or disability. He was elected mayor of Richmond by the city council in 1998. He used public funds for an anti-gun-violence rally, but later reimbursed the city after constituents raised concerns about the funding at a city council meeting. Kaine was elected lieutenant governor in 2002. He was elected governor of Virginia in 2005.
An “avid outdoorsman,” Kaine declares, “I reject the anti-science mentality of those who claim we can be indifferent to human impact on the climate. There is a well-funded effort under way to deny that human actions are having an impact. The right strategies for dealing with climate change are complicated, and we must always take a balanced approach. But we cannot ignore our own responsibilities as stewards of our environment.”
Kaine promises to fight to protect and strengthen Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. He supports Obamacare as “a first step to put patients in charge of their health care decisions and put the brakes on runaway health care costs that were crippling patients and businesses. Kaine also supports a form of “comprehensive immigration reform” that would require millions of illegal aliens to admit a violation of immigration laws and pay a penalty. Once they have accepted responsibility and paid the fines, he explains, “we should allow individuals to seek lawful adjustment of their immigration status.” Kaine supports the DREAM Act, allowing children of illegal aliens to receive in-state college tuition. To declare his run for U.S. Senate, Kaine filmed two announcement videos – one in English and the second in Spanish. Likewise, in 2008, he endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama for president in Spanish.
Kaine’s website declares that the tea party is “wrecking the economy” and costing the nation jobs. He includes a petition and declares, “Tell the tea party to stop their political gamesmanship and extend the payroll tax cut so we can put Americans back to work.”
A U.S. Marine veteran and founding partner of Lead Star cosulting firm, Courtney Lynch earned a law degree from the College of William and Mary and is co-author of “Leading from the Front: No Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women.”
Lynch describes herself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate, and her campaign focuses on fiscal responsibility and job creation. Lynch has created an “action plan” called “Securing the Future, Restoring the Dream” on her campaign website.
6) Herb Kohl, D-Wisc. – retiring
Frank Lasee is a Republican member of the Wisconsin Senate who has represented the 1st Senate District since 2011.Lasee graduated in 1986 from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in history. Before his election to the state assembly in 1994, Lasee was the Ledgeview, Wis., town board chair and was a telemarketing supervisor for an insurance company.
As a state senator, Lasee helped balance the state budget and close a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes or fees. He helped to reform auto insurance and make frivolous lawsuits more difficult to pursue. As a U.S. senator, Lasee promises to fight to repeal Obamacare and oppose the burdensome EPA regulations that drive up bills for businesses and families.
“Most importantly, I am committed to balancing our federal budget without raising taxes and beginning the difficult task of reducing our out-of-control national debt,” he wrote on his campaign website. “This is what it will take to get our nation working again.”
A businessman and politician, Mark Neumann represented Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. In 2010, Neumann lost a bid to become the GOP nominee for governor of Wisconsin.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a master of science degree in supervision and instructional leadership. After graduating, Neumann moved to Milton, Wis., where he taught mathematics at Milton High School and Milton College.
In 1986, he started a home construction company in his basement. By 1991, his company was listed as one of the fastest growing companies in America by the magazine Inc.
Upon announcing his intention to run for U.S. Senate, Neumann told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he sensed a change in the nation’s mood in favor of balancing the federal budget.
“People are connecting the dots that the growing debt can bring America to its knees,” Neumann told the paper. “They are seeing that this debt is real.”
His campaign website states:
I’m running for Senate because our $14.6 trillion debt is destroying our country. This debt not only hurts our economy, but threatens to end the American Dream. The day of reckoning isn’t in 50 years, it’s coming now. We see it already in our credit rating downgrade. That won’t be the last one without getting the debt under control. Poor credit ratings mean high interest rates, high unemployment, lower housing values and a transformed America. We must cut spending, balance the budget and repeal Obamacare to create jobs. That’s why I’m running for Senate.
John Schiess offers no biographical information on his website. However, he advocates implementation of a fair or flat tax.
On abortion, Schiess said, “I am against all government funded abortions and am against 98 percent of them generally. My religion recognizes three exceptions: life of the mother, rape or incest and gross deformity. This decision is made by choice of the family in counsel with church leaders. This decision is made as early as possible, in the first trimester.”
Schiess also notes, “The founding fathers regarded homsexual sodomy as a crime against nature; it should be outlawed and severely punished. The state of Virginia authorized dismemberment; the laws of other states were even more severe. George Washington even authorized the expulsion from the army of a soldier guilty of sodomy. Thomas Jefferson authored a bill calling for castration. Now we teach it in our schools!?”
Schiess considers the “Mexican Reconquista movement” the most dangerous domestic threat to America’s sovereignty.
A former Wisconsin governor and candidate in the 2008 presidential election, Tommy Thompson touts his tax and spending cuts as governor. “Barack Obama and Harry Reid have a vastly different idea for your hard-earned money,” Thompson said, according to Reuters. “They want more and more and more. But I will fight them every step of the way.”
Thompson is a former captain in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve, and he holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966. Thompson served an unprecedented four terms as the 42nd governor of Wisconsin. He left office when President George W. Bush appointed him Health and Human Services secretary. Thompson announced his resignation from Health and Human Services in 2004.
Thompson is president of Logistics Health Incorporated, senior partner at Akin Gump, a Washington, D.C., law firm, senior adviser at the consulting firm Deloitte and chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.
Thompson says he is committed to getting America working again through balancing the budget, repealing Obamacare, opposing new tax hikes and reducing burdensome regulations standing in the way of job growth.
The first openly homosexual non-incumbent elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Tammy Baldwin has been representing Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district since 1999. She double-majored in political science and mathematics at Smith College in 1984 and earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1989. After college, she interned in the office of then-Gov. Tony Earl, where she worked on his initiative on pay equity for women.
Baldwin prides herself on having voted against going to war in Iraq, and she supports ending the war in Afghanistan. In Congress, she has been an outspoken advocate for universal health care, and she pushed investment in clean energy technology and renewable fuels. Baldwin considers herself a national leader on civil rights and equality issues, including “LGBT equality.”
During the 2008 presidential election, Baldwin pledged as a superdelegate to Hillary Clinton.
Gregory Paules is a resident of Eau Claire, Wis., who is seeking to “restore the office of senator back to that of public servant.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and is employed by Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
Paules’ favorite television shows are “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.” He does not have an official campaign website at this time.
“I want to return the government back to the hands of the people,” he wrote on his campaign Facebook page. “And while I acknowledge there needs to be balanced budget cuts and strict fiscal responsibilty, I do support the preservation of current programs put in place to assist those in need – such as: Medicare, Social Security, and extended unemployment benifits. I support complete withdraw from Afghanistan, and I pledge to fight for the rights granted to every citizen under the Constitution.”