2014 midterm election update from APAPO-PAC’s new director

The next election cycle could have a big impact on psychology’s legislative advocacy agenda.

By Heather Kaiser

Heather Kaiser For many of you this has been a very cold winter and your thoughts are about keeping warm. In Congress, though, the elections are heating up. November will be here before we know it. This midterm election is shaping up to be an exciting race that could have major implications for professional psychology and mental health.

So how does the current congressional map look? Here is a preliminary analysis of the key races in the House based on race rankings from the Cook Political Report.

U.S. House of Representatives

The House currently consists of 200 Democrats, 232 Republicans and three vacant seats. To date there are 31 open races in the House. Several representatives who have been past supporters of psychology, including Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., have announced their retirement. 

Democrats have 161 “solid Democrat” seats and 40 seats in the House that are listed as competitive. Fourteen of the competitive seats are ranked as “likely Democrat” and 13 are listed as “lean Democrat.” The remaining 13 competitive Democrat-held seats are as follows:

Eleven Toss up: Rep. Kirkpatrick, Ariz.-1; Rep. Barber, Ariz.-2; Rep. Bera, Calif.-7; Rep. Ruiz, Calif.-36; Rep. Peters, Calif.-52; Rep. Murphy, Fla.-18; Rep. Garcia, Fla.-26; Rep. Schneider, Ill.-10; Rep. Shea-Porter, N.H.-1; Open, N.Y.-21; and Rep. Rahall, W.Va.-3.

Two Likely Republican: Open, N.C.-7 and Open, Utah-4.

Republicans have 197 “solid Republican” seats and 37 seats in the House that are listed as competitive. Sixteen of the competitive seats are ranked as “likely Republican” and 16 are listed as “lean Republican”. The remaining five competitive Republican-held seats are as follows:

Four Toss up: Rep. Coffman, Colo.-6; Vacant, Fla.-13; Open, Iowa-3; and Open, N.J.-3. 

One Leans Republican: Rep. Miller, Calif.-31.

The above analysis results in 77 total seats in play out of 435 total House races — meaning that 82 percent of the incumbents are still viewed as “safe.” However, based on these figures it appears Republicans will maintain the majority in the House. 

U.S. Senate

Several senators who have been supporters of psychology have announced they are retiring including Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. There are 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents currently in the Senate, with seven open Senate seats to date. 

Democrats have 21 held seats up for re-election.

Six are ranked as “solid Democrat,” six are listed as “likely Democrat” and four are listed as “lean Democrat.” The remaining five Democrat-held seats are as follows:

Two Toss up: Arkansas (Pryor) and Michigan (Levin). 

Two Leans Republican: Montana (Baucus) and West Virginia (Rockefeller). 

One Likely Republican: South Dakota (Johnson).

Republicans have 15 held seats up for re-election.

Thirteen are ranked as “solid Republican,” one “toss up” in Kentucky (McConnell) and one “lean Republican,” in Georgia (Chambliss). It is still unclear whether Republicans will be able to pick up enough seats to win a majority in the Senate. 

Though it’s still too early to tell what might happen, we know this election will have an impact on the APA Practice Organization’s (APAPO) ability to advance our legislative advocacy agenda on behalf of professional psychology. The loss of several key supporters of psychology means APAPO-PAC will be hard at work cultivating new allies within Congress. APAPO-PAC is committed to supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle who can help us achieve our legislative goals. 

It’s important for practitioners to stay engaged as we head into state primary elections. 

To determine when your state’s primary elections take place, visit the Federal Election Commission (PDF, 114KB) website. 

For the latest election updates from APAPO-PAC, follow us on twitter @APAPractice.