How to Take the Senate in November: The Mission Laid Out

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The state of the US Senate is one hot mess with Democrats in the majority and Harry Reid as Majority Leader. This November we have an opportunity to flip the Senate to a Republican majority.

reidOur number one mission is to replace Democrats with Republicans, but we need to realize that a rear guard effort is required to deal with a few undocumented Democrats with an R after their name in the Senate.

There are 19 States with only Democrats in the US Senate.

If there were two more states like this, then that would be enough to keep Republicans from ever getting 60 votes. Voters can remedy this situation this November in possibly seven or eight of these states.

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

There are 14 states with only Republicans in the US Senate. This is not even enough Republicans to get half of the 60 votes that they need.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

There are 17 states with one Republican Senator and one Democrat Senator. Five or six of these could have only Republican senators after the November election. Of course it’s possible a couple of states could also fall into this group after the election.

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

This time of year there are a lot of people giving advice on how you can really send ’em a message in the US Senate. The advice is to sign a petition, call and email a US Senator that you won’t donate them money, donate money to FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, or post an epic rant on facebook and twitter. You may feel better, but the only message that you have sent them is some comic relief for the elected and his staff. They really don’t care about your money or what you have to say. There is only one thing you have that they want, and that is your vote.

If there are about ten Democrats and a couple of Republicans who are defeated this November, then that and only that will be sending ’em a message.

There are also times when the US Senate republican leadership are intent on a “send ’em a message” move to certain Republican senators they despise. This happened just recently when Senator Mike Lee introduced an amendment to the highway fund bill.

Currently, American motorists and truckers pay a federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon at the pump; the money is funneled into the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and funneled back to the states via complex congressional formulas, and billions are diverted each year to programs that do not improve congestion. The current system increases the cost of projects — Davis-Bacon, for example, increases the cost of construction projects by ten percent — and subjects what should be local decisions to the whims of Washington bureaucrats or influential lobbyists.

Put another way, the federal government serves as little more than an expensive pass through for the remainder of transportation funding – one could compare it to a skimming scheme that enriches and empowers folks in Washington to the detriment of those in state capitals across the country. The states and private sector have proven more efficient users of taxpayer money, while the federal government through the Highway Trust Fund has wasted an unjustifiable amount of money through inefficiency, burdensome regulations, and distracting politicization—not to mention paying for the pet projects of lawmakers and special interests.

Not only is this legislation necessary if lawmakers want to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of transportation spending, but it is also timely. The original purpose of the HTF was to construct the interstate highway system, which was considered complete in the early 1990s. But since then, Congresses—lobbied by special interests—have broadened its mission to cover “transit, environmental mitigation, ferry boats, bicycle paths, and nature trails,” which do not benefit those who pay for the program.

As an amendment Senator Lee introduced the Transportation Empowerment Act. Under this bill, the federal gas tax would be phased down over five years from 18.4 cents per gallon, to 3.7 cents. And highway authority would be transferred proportionately from the federal government to the states.

Under this new system, Americans would no longer have to send significant gas-tax revenue to Washington, where sticky-fingered politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists take their cut before sending it back with strings attached. Instead, states and cities could plan, finance, and build better-designed and more affordable projects.”

This is not a radical rightwing proposal. There is no good Republican reason to vote against reducing the federal gas tax and transferring the highway system maintenance to the states. It would result in better highways, would reduce gas costs to whatever levels the states decided to tax, and would lessen the weight of the boot on the neck with respect to federal mandates determining outflow back to the states.

One would think that the amendment would fall short by 15 votes of the 60 it needed for approval because all 45 Republicans would vote yes. It fell 32 votes short and was rejected 28-69. If Sen. Pat Roberts, Sen. Lamar Alexander, and Sen. Brian Schatz voted it would have probably been rejected 30-70. Fifteen Republicans joined 52 Democrats and 2 independents to reject the amendment, and when one-third of the Republicans vote against that’s sending ’em a message.

The 15 Republican Senators who voted NO and rejected the Sen. Lee amendment are listed below, and the first four are running for reelection in 2014


When you put gas in your car there is no political difference. Everyone pays the same high price to send a significant amount of money into Washington DC where sticky-fingered politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists take their cut before sending it back with strings attached. Take note of how your Senator voted with respect to the Lee amendment. There are 29 incumbents (12 Republicans and 17 Democrats) who are running to be elected in 36 seats. The 2 Tables below lists these Senators, their vote, and their Heritage Action Scorecard grade.

The 17 Democrats

State Member Vote Score
CO Mark Udall NO 0%
MN Al Franken NO 0%
MT John Walsh NO 0%
NJ Cory Booker NO 0%
NM Tom Udall NO 0%
HI Brian Schatz not voting 0%
DE Chris Coons NO 2%
IL Dick Durbin NO 2%
LA Mary Landrieu NO 2%
RI Jack Reed NO 2%
VA Mark Warner NO 2%
NC Kay Hagan NO 4%
OR Jeff Merkley NO 4%
MA Ed Markey NO 5%
NH Jeanne Shaheen NO 6%
AK Mark Begich NO 8%
AR Mark Pryor NO 10%

The 12 Republicans

ME Susan Collins NO 23%
MS Thad Codhran NO 54%
KY Mitch McConnell NO 71%
WY Mike Enzi NO 74%
TN Lamar Alexander not voting 49%
KS Pat Roberts not voting 93%
SC Lindsey Graham YES 51%
TX John Cornyn YES 82%
AL Jeff Sessions YES 83%
OK Jim Inhofe YES 84%
ID Jim Risch YES 86%
SC Tim Scott YES 88%
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