Paul, Portman, Rubio Lead Fresh Lineup in Congress After Republican Gains
Voter frustration over the economy and dissatisfaction with Washington returned control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Republicans and strengthened the party’s hold on the Senate.
The newly elected Republican senators include Tea Party- backed candidates like Rand Paul of Kentucky, son of the 2008 presidential aspirant, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, and Florida’s Marco Rubio, who defeated a sitting governor in his bid, and establishment candidates such as Rob Portman of Ohio, a former budget director for President George W. Bush.
The new House Republicans include Tim Scott, the first black lawmaker from South Carolina since 1897, Stephen Fincher, a farmer and gospel singer from Tennessee, and Jon Runyan, a former offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“When you have these tide elections, you get a lot of amateurs coming into Congress, and the corollary to that is they don’t know how to govern and, in this particular group, doesn’t particularly want to govern,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Replacing Democratic leaders who have backed President Barack Obama’s agenda come Republicans who are ready to extend the Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for all income levels, repeal and replace the health-care law, thwart any “cap and trade” energy legislation and freeze spending at 2008 levels with a $100-billion cut in domestic spending.
Here are profiles of a dozen new Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the House, and the same number in the Senate:
Fincher, 37, a native of Frog Jump in western Tennessee, defeated Democratic state Senator Roy Herron. Calling for repeal of the health-care overhaul passed by Democrats this year, Fincher traversed the district in a bus with a sign saying “Stop Obama Pelosi,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.
A political novice, Fincher didn’t attend college. He joined his family’s farming business, which grows cotton, soybeans and other crops. At age 9, he became part of the Fincher Family singing ministry, a gospel group led by his grandmother that traveled to county fairs.
Although he advocates a free-market-oriented agenda, Fincher wasn’t initially embraced by Tea Party activists who support limited government, in part because he accepts about $200,000 annually in federal farm subsidies.
Fincher supports permanent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all income groups. On his website, he advocates working “toward abolishing the capital-gains tax and business tax.”
His campaign spent $2.2 million through Oct. 13, with $290,478 coming from the agricultural industry.
Scott, a 45-year-old state legislator and insurance salesman, won the seat of retiring Republican Representative Henry Brown Jr. after defeating Paul Thurmond -- son of the late Senator Strom Thurmond -- in a June runoff for the party’s nomination. There hasn’t been a black Republican in the House for eight years.
With backing from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Tea Party activists, Scott advocated a low-tax, less-government message in the Charleston-area district. He criticized congressional earmarks as “corrupt,” described Democrats as “socialists,” and said he wanted to move the Republican Party toward “the far conservative right.”
Scott also calls the recently enacted health-care law unconstitutional, opposes regulation of carbon emissions, and urges that the Bush-era tax cuts be extended for all income levels.
As a member of the Charleston County Council, he displayed the Ten Commandments outside council chambers, triggering a judge’s order to take the display down. In the state legislature, he introduced an immigration bill modeled on the new Arizona law. His campaign spent $734,501 through Oct. 13, with $69,750 raised from real-estate interests. The Club for Growth, which promotes curbs on spending and taxes, raised $58,650.
Webster, 61, has a long legislative career, serving as speaker of the Florida House and state Senate majority leader.
He has carried his own philosophy into politics. Webster home-schooled his six children with the curriculum of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Christian organization he credits with influencing his life.
In the state Senate, he led efforts to prolong the life of Terri Schiavo, who was being cared for at a Florida hospice, over the objections of Michael Schiavo, her husband. Terri Schiavo had suffered severe brain damage due to a cardiac arrest in 1990; eight years later she was determined to be in a persistent vegetative state. After a protracted legal battle over removal of her feeding tube, she died in 2005.
Webster supports eliminating the estate tax and ending taxes on investments. He calls for strengthening U.S. borders to prevent immigrants from entering illegally and for stronger penalties for employers hiring them.
Grayson spent more than $5 million on his losing effort through Oct. 13, who spent less than $1 million. The Republican was aided by outside groups not required to disclose their donors; these organizations spent $1.2 million on ads between Sept. 1 and Oct. 24. Webster received $22,650 from employees in the real-estate industry.
Gardner, 36, was praised by Republican leaders, including Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, chief recruiter of his party’s candidates this year.
“He’ll be able to put things together in the House,” McCarthy said.
During the campaign, Gardner targeted Markey’s votes for the economic stimulus package, a “cap and trade” energy bill and the health-care overhaul.
He opposed Congress’s overhaul of financial regulations, complaining that it didn’t do anything to transform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance companies operating under U.S. conservatorship. He also ran as an opponent of federal “bailouts,” including the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program and the “cash for clunkers” program to boost automobile sales.
Gardner will be an ally of any Republican effort to repeal or scale back the Democratic-written health-care law. He says that small businesses should pool their risk and that individuals should be allowed to purchase insurance across state lines.
He supports a balanced-budget constitutional amendment to help reduce the debt and calls for cutting spending at federal agencies. He backs free-trade agreements as a boon to the district’s agricultural economy.
Gardner spent $1.9 million on his campaign through Oct. 13. Individuals and groups linked to the oil and gas industry donated $88,690.
Though he was a first-time candidate, Runyan already was well-known locally as a former offensive lineman for the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles, who have plenty of fans in southern New Jersey. He played 13 years in the NFL, retiring after the 2009 season.
Runyan supports cutting income-tax rates across the board by 15 percent and reducing the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. He would cut the capital-gains tax by at least half and permanently repeal estate taxes. He supports a balanced-budget constitutional amendment and a supermajority requirement to pass a tax increase.
He supports creating a “red ink tax force” to review the federal budget and weed out inefficiencies.
Runyan backs term limits for members of Congress and has pledged to serve no more than eight years. He would replace the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul with a market-based plan, including a provision to allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.
Runyan spent $947,000 on his campaign through Oct. 13. He received $4,800 from Christopher Myers, a vice president of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. He took in $2,500 from the political action committee of Reynolds American Inc., based in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Rigell, 50, ran as a critic of the Obama administration’s economic policies, including its stimulus law and overhauls of health-care policy and financial industry regulations. He would vote to repeal the health-care law and replace it with market- based solutions to insure more Americans and lower costs, which critics say would offer coverage to far fewer of the uninsured than the Obama plan.
Military readiness is a concern for Rigell, who will represent a district that includes the world’s largest naval base in Norfolk and wants to secure a seat on the Armed Services Committee. He supports increasing military spending and beefing up security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rigell signed a pledge from Americans for Tax Reform, an anti-tax advocacy organization, that he would never vote for a tax increase. He supports increasing H1-B visas to bring scientists and technology engineers to the U.S. from overseas and backs increased penalties for businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
Rigell spent $2.8 million on his campaign, including more than $2.4 million of his own money. People in the automotive industry donated $56,550.
Bill Flores, an oil and gas executive who formerly headed Phoenix Exploration Co., defeated 10-term Democratic Representative Chet Edwards in a central Texas district that includes Waco and former President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford.
A ninth-generation Texan and one of just a few Hispanic Republicans in the next Congress, Flores, 56, promoted his business experience during his first campaign for political office. Flores, who holds a master’s degree in business, said he helped create 500 jobs.
A self-described “limited-government conservative,” Flores said he would vote to cut corporate tax rates.
“The federal government does not create private sector jobs,” he said during an Oct. 24 debate with Edwards.
Flores wants to end Obama’s economic stimulus plan and health-care overhaul.
He supports a balanced-budget constitutional amendment and the elimination of earmarks, the federal funding that lawmakers obtain for home-district projects.
He spent $2.6 million on his campaign as of Oct. 13 and was its biggest donor, putting in more than $1.1 million of personal funds. He received about $127,000 from the oil and gas industry.
Nan Hayworth, an ophthalmologist, rode the election’s Republican wave to defeat two-term Democrat John Hall in New York’s Hudson Valley-based House district. Hall was a singer- songwriter with the group Orleans, best known for the 1976 single “Still the One.”
Hayworth, 50, cautioned during the campaign that the Federal Reserve would have to raise interest rates if the deficit is not reduced. Still, she champions proposals that some say would widen the deficit: extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts, eliminating the estate tax and ending the alternative minimum tax. She calls for a freeze on non-military discretionary spending, which would affect most government agencies.
A political newcomer, she also proposes tax credits to encourage the development of alternative energy such as solar, wind and bio-fuels. She opposes additional government aid to failing banks.
Hayworth, 50, cited her experience as a physician in opposing the health-care overhaul. She said that under the law, “health care will effectively be nationalized.”
She lent her campaign $500,000 and spent $1.5 million through Oct. 13; Hall spent $1.9 million. Hayworth received $112,950 from health-care professionals and $93,131 from those working in the securities and investment industry, including $72,400 from Vestar Capital Partners, a New York buyout firm.
Hartzler, 50, was the spokeswoman for a 2004 effort to ban same-sex marriage in Missouri and is the author of a book, “Running God’s Way.” She says her focus in Congress will be on boosting the economy in west-central Missouri.
She wants to repeal the estate tax and provide small businesses with a 20 percent tax deduction to help them create jobs. She also wants to repeal as much of the health-care overhaul as possible. To get expenses more in line with revenue, she supports a balanced-budget amendment and presidential line- item veto as well as a freeze on non-defense discretionary spending.
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio has promised Hartzler a seat on the Armed Services Committee. She would enhance security on the U.S.-Mexico border and mandate the use of the E-Verify system to confirm immigrants’ eligibility for employment.
Hartzler spent $730,946 on her campaign through Oct. 13. She received more money from agriculture interests, $47,781, than any other industry. American Farm Bureau employees gave her $5,000, crop production and basic processing interests $23,081.
The incumbent sought to contrast her support for reining in Wall Street against Stivers’ career promoting the financial industry. That pitch resonated two years ago, when Kilroy defeated Stivers by about 2,300 votes.
This year, Kilroy promoted her backing of the financial- regulation overhaul. That took a back seat, though, to the economy and jobs in the Columbus area, where JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the largest private employer.
Stivers, 45, is a former state senator who worked as a lobbyist for Bank One. He opposes the financial regulation law, saying, “Overall, it costs too much money and it costs jobs.”
He also changed some positions this year to reach out to Tea Party activists pushing limited government. While open in 2008 to requiring everyone to buy health insurance, he said this year that he opposed the health-care law because it would drive up business costs.
His campaign spent $1.7 million through Oct. 13, with $83,300 raised from law firms and $76,500 from health-care professionals. His biggest source of campaign donations came from employees of American Electric Power Co., based in Columbus, Ohio, who gave $46,700.
Helping Gosar win his party’s nomination was an endorsement from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who highlighted his opposition to the health-care overhaul and Kirkpatrick’s vote for it.
Gosar, 51, emphasized the business and medical expertise he gained operating his dental practice. He calls for more competition among health insurers and for legislation to make it harder for people injured by medical malpractice to sue for damages.
During his campaign he said it was “astonishing” that Congress passed new regulations on the financial industry in response to the economic crisis. Instead of new laws, he said, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other enforcement agencies should do their jobs better.
He supports extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts. Asked by the Flagstaff, Arizona-based Daily Sun newspaper about the causes of the recession, he identified “the cornerstone of the problem as being government.”
Gosar spent $707,738 on his campaign through Oct. 13. Kirkpatrick spent $1.7 million. Dentists and other health professionals gave him more than $200,000. He also was helped by $675,689 in spending by pro-Republican outside groups, which aren’t required to list their donors.
John Carney of Delaware is a Democrat who won a Republican- held House seat, a rarity in the midterm elections. A former lieutenant governor, Carney was elected to the seat Mike Castle gave up to seek the Republican Senate nomination.
Carney, 54, got his break in the race when the Republican favored by state party leaders, Michele Rollins, lost the nomination to developer Glen Urquhart in the primary. Both Urquhart and Christine O’Donnell, who beat Castle for the Republican Senate nod, were supported by Tea Party activists calling for less government spending. O’Donnell lost her general election bid.
Before serving as lieutenant governor from 2001 to 2009, he was state finance secretary.
He supports a temporary extension of all Bush-era tax cuts scheduled to expire at year’s end, including those for upper- income Americans. He told the Lewes, Delaware-based Cape Gazette newspaper that he wants to create job opportunities “in new, green energy industries, like building the supply chain for offshore wind development.”
Carney spent $1.2 million on his campaign through Oct. 13. Top donors included employees of the U.S. subsidiary of London- based AstraZeneca Plc, who gave $21,050, and of Stamford, Connecticut-based General Electric Co., who donated $14,300.
The seat had been occupied for 30 years by Arlen Specter, a Republican until he switched parties in 2009. Specter lost the Democratic primary earlier this year to Sestak, a two-term House member.
A onetime derivatives trader who worked at Chemical Bank and Morgan, Grenfell & Co., Toomey served three House terms, giving up his Lehigh Valley-based seat to challenge Specter in the 2004 Republican Senate primary. He narrowly lost that race.
After leaving Congress, Toomey led the Washington-based Club for Growth, which supports lower taxes, spending cuts, Social Security privatization, expanded free trade, and taxpayer subsidies for private or religious schools.
Toomey, 48, calls for eliminating capital-gains taxes and cutting taxes on payrolls and corporations. He opposed taxpayer assistance for banks and the auto industry. He supports new efforts to secure U.S. borders, while opposing providing a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.
Toomey spent $12.7 million on his race through Oct. 13. His donations included $611,404 from employees in the securities and investment industry. Employees of the U.S. subsidiary of UBS AG gave $14,950 and Bank of America Corp. employees $14,433.
Rob Portman, who defeated Democratic Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher for the seat vacated by the retirement of longtime Republican Senator George Voinovich, is the ultimate insider in an anti-establishment election year.
Portman, 54, represented the Cincinnati area in Congress for a dozen years, leaving in 2005 to join President George W. Bush’s administration as the top international trade official. He later served as White House budget director.
He ran on a plan to “focus like a laser on jobs and Ohio’s economy,” which is beset with 10 percent unemployment. He supports a one-year suspension of payroll taxes on the first $50,000 of wages, expanding loans for small businesses, and cutting the business-tax rate.
He also backs trade agreements that create markets for the state’s products. “We need to increase exports in order to create Ohio jobs,” he told Bloomberg Television in October.
He says he would reduce the federal deficit in part by cutting discretionary spending and wants to return to the treasury any unused funds of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which rescued banks after the financial crisis.
Portman spent about $10.5 million on his campaign. Employees in the securities and investment industries gave him $697,224 and the insurance industry gave $575,134.
The election of former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, winner of Florida’s open Senate seat, caps the ascendance of a leader whose support offered an early indication of the power of the Tea Party movement in the 2010 election.
Rubio was elected to the Florida House in 2000 at the age of 28 and became speaker in 2006. His book, “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future,” put him on the national political map. This year, at 39, he emerged as a Republican star after forcing Crist out of the race for the party’s Senate nomination.
Born in Miami to parents who fled Castro’s Cuba, Rubio proposes cutting corporate income taxes, ending the estate tax, freezing non-defense and non-veterans discretionary spending at 2008 levels and banning congressional earmarks. While boosted by early Tea Party support, he eventually set himself apart from activists who call for privatization of Social Security and staked a moderate stance on immigration.
He supports free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
His campaign spent $15.8 million through Oct. 13, with $792,000 from Republican and conservative groups and $382,493 from contributors in the securities and investment industry. He also received $252,558 from employees in the real-estate industry and $109,351 with oil and gas industry employees. Employees of Elliott Management Corp. of New York, which manages hedge funds, gave $112,942.
As the state’s first female attorney general, Ayotte supported tougher crackdowns on sexual predators and fought against gun bans, establishing her Republican credentials for higher office. A Nashua native, she survived a challenge for the Republican Party nomination from Ovide Lamontagne, an attorney backed by Tea Party groups.
Ayotte, 42, became one of the few candidates from the more establishment wing of the party to emerge as a nominee. She still enjoyed some Tea Party advocates’ support and was endorsed by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as one of her “mama grizzlies.”
Campaigning with an appeal to New Hampshire standards, Ayotte signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose income-tax rate increases. She has called for ending earmarks -- the funds members of Congress appropriate for pet projects -- and has endorsed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.
She supports Arizona’s immigration law giving expanded powers to police.
Her campaign spent $3.4 million through Oct. 13, with $297,000 coming from donors in the securities and investment industry. She received $81,442 from employees of Elliott Management Corp. of New York and $23,250 from employees of WellPoint Inc. and other Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies.
Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Texas Representative Ron Paul, claimed the Tea Party message of “take our government back” when he beat the Republican establishment’s preferred candidate, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, in the primary.
Paul, 47, shares some of the libertarian views of his father, a 2008 presidential candidate. Rand Paul wants an audit of the Federal Reserve, blaming the housing bubble on the central bank’s keeping interest rates low. He would eliminate the Department of Education, opposes federal involvement in drug enforcement and calls federal bailouts of private companies unconstitutional. He also opposes U.S. involvement in the United Nations and the World Bank.
When Congress sought to increase BP Plc’s liability after a deep-water oil-drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Paul opposed the move, saying “sometimes accidents happen.” He drew protests by opposing parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that forced businesses to desegregate and has since said that he supports the act. He was critical of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
His campaign spent $6.1 million through Oct. 13, with $157,000 from health-care professionals and $10,000 apiece from the American Bankers Association political action committee and the Credit Union National Association PAC.
A one-time guard on the University of Arkansas football team, Boozman, 59, first won his House seat in a November 2001 special election. He has unsuccessfully pushed bills to abolish the tax code and require the Bible’s Ten Commandments to be posted in the House and Senate chambers.
This session, he voted against the $814 billion stimulus package, the health-care overhaul and toughened regulations for the financial industry. He backs a permanent extension of Bush- era tax cuts for all income levels. He also supports eliminating the federal estate tax.
Boozman has said that the Federal Reserve should undergo an audit and be subject to new transparency requirements. He has been an advocate of so-called fast-track authority to make it easier for presidents to negotiate trade agreements.
He spent $2.5 million on his campaign through Oct. 13. Boozman took in $117,001 from securities and investment employees, his biggest industry source of campaign donations. Employees of New York-based hedge-fund manager Elliott Management Corp. gave $39,032, while employees of Little Rock, Arkansas-based Stephens Group LLC, parent of an investment banking firm, gave $29,700.
Johnson, 55, the co-founder of Pacur, an Oshkosh-based plastics manufacturing company, promoted his business experience and cultivated an image as a political outsider who would serve in the Senate as a “citizen legislator.” His campaign had the backing of the Tea Party movement, which seeks limits on government spending and taxes.
Johnson says he would permanently extend all tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. He would place a cap on federal government spending and vote for a balanced budget amendment. He advocates free-trade agreements and opposes the rescue of banks.
An opponent of Obama’s health-care overhaul, he proposes instead a package that includes curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits and provisions to allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.
Johnson spent $10.5 million on his campaign as of Oct. 13 and lent his campaign more than $8.2 million. Health-care professionals gave more than $50,000. He received $46,700 from employees of the securities and investment industries. Employees of Chicago-based Fiduciary Management Associates LLC gave $18,400.
Mark Kirk, a Republican congressman, scored a symbolically important victory by wresting control of the Illinois Senate seat once held by Obama.
Kirk backs a presidential line-item veto and a balanced budget amendment. He sees free-trade agreements as a way to expand exports. He would repeal the health-care overhaul and implement curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits and provisions allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.
In the House, he opposed most Republicans in voting to fund embryonic stem-cell research and spend more on children’s health insurance. He backed a “cap and trade” energy bill in the House; in September 2009 he reversed course, saying that as a senator he would vote against it.
During the campaign, Kirk, a former congressional staff member, promoted his two decades of service in the U.S. Navy Reserve -- and apologized for exaggerating aspects of his military career.
Kirk spent more than $10.5 million on his campaign and raised $934,329 from employees of the securities and investment industry. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican strategist Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS poured an additional $6.2 million into the race between Sept. 1 and Oct. 27.
In the year of political momentum for outsiders, Roy Blunt is a successful insider.
He has represented southwestern Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years and defeated Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Kit Bond.
Blunt, 60, served as majority whip from 2003 to 2007 and minority whip from 2007 to 2009, though his star dimmed after he lost a race for majority leader in 2006. He left Republican leadership after his party’s losses in the 2008 election.
As party whip in 2008, Blunt rounded up Republican votes for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.
He backs a balanced-budget constitutional amendment and presidential line-item veto to rein in federal spending.
A leading Republican voice on health policy, Blunt would replace the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul with a plan that includes incentives for small businesses to offer insurance and curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Blunt spent $9.1 million on his campaign through Oct. 13. He developed close ties to lobbyists as a Republican leader and raised about $200,000 from lobbyists for his Senate campaign. Employees of the securities and investment industry contributed $440,972.
Dan Coats, who will make his second appearance as a senator from Indiana, has experience on both sides of the legislative process -- as a lawmaker and as a lobbyist.
Coats, who defeated Democratic Representative Brad Ellsworth, served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999 and in the House for eight years prior to that.
Coats, 67, will succeed retiring two-term Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, who succeeded him in the Senate. He served as U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005. He then joined King & Spalding LLP as senior counsel, leaving earlier this year; the law and advocacy firm lobbied for Google Inc., Bank of America Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and others.
Coats would cut the corporate tax rate and also make permanent the tax credit on research and development.
He backs a presidential line-item veto and restrictions on new spending programs unless they are offset by reductions elsewhere in the budget.
An opponent of the Democrats’ health-care overhaul, Coats would prefer a plan that has provisions to curb medical malpractice lawsuits and promote health-savings accounts and competition across state lines.
Coats spent $3.4 million on his campaign through Oct. 13. Securities and investment interests gave $181,651, lawyers donated $127,221 and lobbyists donated $82,700. Employees in the oil and gas industry gave $77,500. Employees of Bank of America gave $13,200 and Morgan Stanley employees donated $10,600.
Richard Blumenthal, a veteran Democratic state attorney general, beat Republican Linda McMahon, former chief executive officer of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., to capture the Connecticut Senate seat of retiring Democrat Christopher Dodd.
With a long record in public office, including stints in the Connecticut General Assembly and as U.S. attorney for Connecticut, Blumenthal was considered a shoo-in for the Senate until allegations were made that he misrepresented his military service. He said he had unintentionally misspoken in claiming that he served in Vietnam.
In 20 years as state attorney general, Blumenthal challenged tobacco, energy and insurance companies on behalf of consumers. One of his biggest victories came in 1998 as lead negotiator in a $206 billion tobacco settlement between 46 states and the four biggest U.S. cigarette makers -- Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA, Reynolds American Inc., Brown & Williamson Tobacco and Lorillard Inc.
Blumenthal, 64, mostly shares Obama’s views. He called the health-care overhaul law “a good first step,” while saying more must be done to control medical costs. He praised the new regulation of Wall Street, particularly the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Breaking with Obama, Blumenthal opposed the bailout of banks.
He spent $6.2 million through Oct. 13, with members of his profession, lawyers, contributing $336,249 and the securities industry donating $320,875. Blumenthal received $21,049 from employees of the law firm of Early, Ludwick, Sweeney & Strauss and $11,100 from employees of Cooney & Conway. Both firms specialize in representing victims of asbestos exposure.
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin won a special election for the Senate seat held for more than four decades by Democrat Robert Byrd. He replaces Democrat Carte Goodwin, whom he appointed to the seat in July after Byrd’s death, and will take office immediately.
Manchin, 63, defeated Republican businessman and Tea Party favorite John Raese. After six years as governor, Manchin had public-approval ratings approaching 70 percent. He took credit for cutting the state food tax in half, reducing corporate income taxes and helping 240 companies expand or locate in the state.
He served in the state legislature from 1982 to 1996, was secretary of state from 2000 to 2004, and was elected governor in 2005. Although his victory keeps the seat in Democratic hands, Manchin has made clear his determination to steer an independent course as he represents a state that rejected Obama two years ago.
Manchin vowed to “repeal the bad parts” of health-care overhaul. He called for extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for all incomes, while Obama would limit them to households making less than $250,000 a year. A campaign ad showed Manchin shooting a bullet through “cap and trade” climate-change legislation that was strapped to a tree.
He spent $2.7 million through Oct. 13. Labor contributed $158,500, his largest source of campaign cash. Employees of JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave $12,000. Employees of electric utilities contributed $74,400.
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