Here's an in-depth look at 33 seats up for grabs – and who's grabbing
By Chelsea Schilling © 2011 WND
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, six are retiring and 17 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:
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."
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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 –
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.
Andres Valdez –
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 –
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."
7) Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Dianne Feinstein, one of California's first female senators, has served in the U.S. Senate since 1992 and was mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988. Feinstein has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, extension of the Patriot Act, expanding research on stem-cell lines, stimulus spending and bailouts, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program, raising Congress' pay, gun control, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, prohibiting "sexual-identity discrimination" at schools, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million and instituting national service as a new social invention.
She has voted "no" on a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax and prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land.
Feinstein's pro-abortion position has earned her a 100 percent rating by NARAL. She has voted against banning partial-birth abortions and in favor of allowing the military to perform abortions.
Grundmann, a 51-year-old chiropractor and herbalist practicing in San Leandro, Calif., promised on his campaign website, "In the first minute after my election to office, I will begin a national campaign regarding the truth about the IRS and the Fed. I will introduce legislation to abolish the Fed and replace it with the issuance of interest-free United States notes as our new currency, which are issued by a committee of the United States Treasury. [T]his single act will bring about a wave of true and real prosperity upon this nation such as has been scarcely imagined."
Grundmann opposes abortion and homosexual "marriage." He seeks to abolish the Department of Education and encourage abandonment of the public-school systems in favor of homeschooling. He supports development of nuclear power and believes global warming is a hoax.
Keith Holbrook, a 37-year-old senior chemical plant technician in California, has no political experience at all – and he's proud of it. In fact, he claims to only want one term in office.
He describes himself as a "middle-class, blue-collar worker" who passed the California High School Equivalency exam. A single parent, he admits to having filed for bankruptcy.
Holbrook advocates smaller government, banning "sanctuary cities" for illegal aliens, ending earmarks and imposing term limits on Congress.
"I represent the middle class," he explains on his campaign website. "I want to make the opinions and feelings of the middle class heard in Washington, D.C. … I am a concerned American trying to make a difference. I am not interested in being a politician. I'm a leader, and I'm interested in writing legislation that I feel is in the best interest of this country and its citizens."
(Editor's note: Other challengers in this race include Republicans Tim Kalemkarian and Michael Stollaire. However, they do not have campaign websites at this time.)
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8) Tom Carper, D-Del. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Tom Carper has served in the Senate since 2001. Before his election, he was governor of Delaware and a representative in the U.S. House, where he served five terms. He co-wrote the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010," which would have granted the president emergency powers over the Internet.
He has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, stimulus spending, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers program, pay raise for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, applying habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and instituting national service as a new social invention
Carper has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting middle class from a national energy tax, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, increasing tax rates for people earning more than $1 million, repealing the "death tax" and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
There are no challengers to Carper's bid at this time.
9) Bill Nelson, D-Fla. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Bill Nelson has served in the U.S. Senate since 2001. He's a former U.S. representative and former Florida treasurer and insurance commissioner.
Nelson has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, federal stimulus and bailouts, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, repealing tax subsidies for companies that move U.S. jobs offshore, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers program, raising Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," increasing tax rate for people earning more than $1 million, repealing the "death tax," reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends, sanctions on Iran to end its nuclear program and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Nelson has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, banning federal funds to organizations that perform abortions, constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, school choice, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land and requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections.
William Fisher Jr.
"It's time to send a new 'Bill' to the Senate," declares William Fisher's campaign website.
A Christian, conservative, and life-long Republican living in Florida, Fisher supports Israel, investigation of the Fed, legislation "with teeth" to protect victims of identity theft, killing Cap and Trade and securing the nation's borders. He opposes abortion, bailouts, NAFTA and the purchase of foreign goods.
"We need to protect our environment; however, I do not believe we need to destroy our economy to do so," Fisher explains on his website. "We [hear] about global warming day after day on the liberal media machine, and how its man's fault. I find it funny that the media does not cover other natural environmental causes like the more then two hundred volcanoes on the oceans floor. There is so much frozen methane gas coming out of the North Atlantic Sea floor, British Petroleum is trying to [tap] into it for energy. ... If you really want to slow down global warming, stop buying foreign goods."
Adam Hasner and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs
A Florida state representative for District 87 from 2002 to 2010 and Boca Raton attorney, Adam Hasner announced he was running for U.S. Senate on Mark Levin's nationally syndicated radio show.
Hasner earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a juris doctorate from Florida State University.
He was chosen to serve as the deputy majority leader of the Florida House by then-Speaker Marco Rubio in 2007 and later promoted to majority leader that same year. In 2010, Hasner led the House Republican effort in Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He is national co-chairman of the citizen action group, Pass The Balanced Budget Amendment. Hasner's wife ran the California gubernatorial campaign of Republican former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in 2010.
Hasner won the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, straw poll in September.
A close friend to Gov. Charlie Crist, George LeMieux was a U.S. senator from Florida from September 2009 to January 2011. While serving as senator, LeMieux was an active member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Special Committee on Aging. LeMieux saw several of his legislative priorities signed into law, including Medicare anti-fraud legislation and an export promotion act. He introduced a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution and the 2007 Solution, a plan that would have reduced government spending to 2007 levels. LeMieux opposed wasteful earmark spending, which earned him a 93 percent rating from the National Taxpayers Union.
As deputy attorney general, LeMieux led an agency of more than 400 attorneys and argued a death penalty case before the U.S. Supreme Court and won the case with a unanimous decision. LeMieux is now chairman of the Florida law firm Gunster Yoakley & Stewart.
LeMieux graduated from Emory University with a degree in political science and went on to earn his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994. After school, he interned for Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. and U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III.
George LeMieux speaks at CPAC (photo: Gage Skidmore)
LeMieux is campaigning on a platform of fiscal responsibility. His campaign website explains:
"While in the Senate, I put forward a plan that would balance the budget by 2013 and cut the debt in half by 2021. My plan did this by freezing all federal spending at fiscal year 2007 levels ($2.729 trillion). If we did that, we could extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, index the Alternative Minimum Tax for inflation, and we would actually begin to pay down the national debt."
LeMieux said it is his plan to grow the nation's military training and test missions in Florida and ensure the state is the "best possible place for defense contracting companies to do business."
On health care, LeMieux opposed Obamacare and says he believes it must be repealed:
"Instead of making the fundamental changes needed to get the system working for Americans, the bill cuts $500 billion from Medicare, drastically expands a broken Medicaid system, raises taxes by over $500 billion, increases the cost of health care for Americans and kills jobs," he explained. "This is not reform. What is needed is a targeted, step-by-step approach that will reduce cost and increase access without adding to the deficit. We could do things today such as reducing junk lawsuits, allowing small businesses to pool their resources, cross state purchasing of health insurance, expanding the use of health savings accounts, and cracking down on fraud and abuse that would move us in the right direction to lower costs."
On the issue of illegal immigration, LeMieux wrote, "[I]f we build security fences and walls, man the borders with law enforcement, prosecute and jail those who violate the law, we can meaningfully reduce illegal immigration."
A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Le Mieux is a proud member of the National Rifle Association and voted with the NRA 100 percent of the time while serving in the U.S. Senate. He is also pro-life and a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
A retired U.S. Army colonel, businessman and university instructor, Mike McCalister served honorably in the Army National Guard, Army Reserves and on active duty for a total of 33 years between 1971 and 2005.
McCalister has worked with physicians at biotech and health-care companies to improve efficiencies in the health-care system. He is a licensed agribusiness professional and owner of a small tree farm. He holds a degree in agriculture from Southeast Missouri State University and a doctorate in management from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As senator, McCalister said his No. 1 priority will be "to get Floridians back to work by cutting spending, reducing the deficit, lowering taxes and protecting our products and proprietary technologies and investments against unfair foreign competition." He said he is "frustrated that political insiders have done little to combat high unemployment, rising gas prices and falling home prices."
A conservative Republican, inventor, manufacturer, businessman and author specializing in environmental engineering of products and equipment, McNeil has 12 U.S. patents granted – with the last five in the environmental field.
McNeil notes on his website that the government cannot spend the nation into prosperity, but it can spend, tax and control the nation into insolvency:
"It can make nearly everyone poor, but it cannot make everyone rich," he wrote. "Who will hire you when this country is near financial collapse and businesses cannot withstand all the government taxes, insurance and other requirements for your employment?"
He outlines the following five actions that must be taken to put America back on track:
1) Energy: We need fossil fuel, nuclear, natural gas and every other means possible to produce energy – and to eliminate the need to purchase foreign energy.
2) Military: America must have the strongest military on earth with the latest in technology and intelligence gathering capability. We must eliminate our practice of "nation building" war efforts in other countries, restrict foreign aid intended as influence buying and concentrate our efforts on protecting America and our borders.
3) Free enterprise: We must rebuild our free enterprise business advantage, reclaim our world leadership position and employ American citizens. This includes a 3-5 year tax moratorium on bringing money into the U.S. to build businesses and a 25-year commitment on corporate tax reduced to 10 percent of retained earnings. ... There will be no more U.S. or foreign corporations making billions of dollars in the U.S. market and paying no taxes to our federal government.
4) Tax system: We must replace our ever-expanding federal tax system which creates a punitive distribution of the tax load with a simple combination of low taxes on income (1/2 percent to 12.5 percent) and a fair tax on ependitures (12.5 percent).
5) Abide by the U.S. Constitution: We must require all three branches of our government to abide by our written U.S. Constitution. There can be no making or altering of laws by the judicial branch, no violating legislation enacted from either the Senate or House of Representatives in Congress and no executive orders or other alterations by the president that do not clearly adhere to the true and tested documented laws of this nation.
A Vietnam veteran, Craig Miller volunteered to enlist in the U.S. Air Force during the war. After taking the oath to defend the Constitution, he eventually deployed to Cam Rahn Bay in South Vietnam. Miller served honorably and won the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Miller earned a degree in business administration from Florida Technological University (now known as the University of Central Florida).
As a teenager, Miller worked as a dish washer for Red Lobster Inns of America. He left to join Uno Restaurants and spent 17 years growing a small business into a national chain that reached sales of more than $400 million. Miller spent a year at Furr's Restaurant Group before joining Ruth's Chris Steak House as president and chief executive officer. He led Ruth's Chris through four years of record growth, sales and profits and a successful public offering. Miller was selected to serve as chairman of the National Restaurant Association.
Miller was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to be state tourism commissioner in 2007 and has served on the board of trustees at the University of Central Florida Foundation.
To grow the economy and lower the unemployment rate, Miller suggests reducing the tax burden and easing burdensome regulations currently in place. He advocates lowering corporate income tax rates to make businesses more competitive and reducing taxes on capital gains. Miller supports repeal of Obamacare, because he says it is "scaring small business owners and hurting job creation."
Miller supports a balanced-budget amendment to eliminate deficits going forward. He promises to only vote to confirm judges who will be "neutral arbiters of the law" and to fight for the unborn, defend individual Second Amendment rights and work to preserve traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman.
On energy, Miller said a comprehensive approach – one that includes nuclear power, clean coal and hydropower – is the only sensible strategy that will simultaneously reduce costs and protect national security. Miller also believes the U.S. must stay on the offense in the global war on terror and continue to fight and dismantle the Islamic fundamentalist networks that wish to do America harm. "We also must keep a robust foreign policy that promotes human rights, isolates rogue regimes and maintains strong ties with our allies," he explained. "In the Middle East, America must always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel."
A homeschooling mother, concert pianist and linguist who is fluent in French and Spanish, Marielena Stuart says she opposed and survived the ravages of communism under Fidel Castro.
"From an early age she learned to defend her God-given rights, while members of her family were imprisoned, tortured and executed," her campaign website states. "Marielena Stuart knows the price that is paid when freedom is lost. She knows, firsthand, that a socialist leaning government has a devastating effect on economic growth and job creation."
Stuart believes fewer taxes and a strong private sector are the best ways for America to regain its economic strength. She pledges to take any and all actions to curb the nation's current fiscal crisis. Stuart also says she believes the killing of innocent human life is destroying our society, not just morally, but economically as well.
"To be for abortion is to be against your own survival," she explained. "What will become of our nation, if this human carnage is not stopped? As a candidate for the United States Senate, I am committed to uncompromising action in defense of the sanctity of all human life which comes to each of us as a gift from Almighty God."
As a columnist for Renew America, Stuart has shared her expertise in foreign affairs, national defense and strategic military matters – especially those dealing with China-U.S. relations.
(Editor's note: Republican Alexander George is another challenger in this race. However, he does not have a campaign website at this time.)
10) Ben Cardin, D-Md. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Ben Cardin has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. Before his election, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 2007. He has expressed support for affirmative action, civil unions, providing benefits to homosexual partners of federal employees, abortion, the death penalty and increased federal funding for health coverage.
Cardin has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailouts/stimulus, allowing human embryonic stem cell research and expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, making the Patriot Act permanent, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, a moratorium on offshore oil drilling, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, raising Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," increasing tax rate for people earning more than $1 million, instituting national service as a new social invention and providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers.
Cardin has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime, banning partial-birth abortion, constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, banning gay adoptions in D.C., barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, authorizing construction of new oil refineries, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, banning physician-assisted suicide, building a fence along the Mexican border and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
A former U.S. Secret Service agent, Dan Bongino was assigned to investigate federal crimes including but not limited to protective intelligence, computer crimes, bank fraud, credit-card fraud and counterfeiting. His signature investigation involved more than $300 million in potential financial fraud and a nexus to international terrorism. The investigation earned Bongino the Department of Justice recognition award, along with other agency specific awards, for excellence in investigations. Bongino left his New York field office in 2002 to become an instructor at the Secret Service Training Academy in Beltsville, Md.
In 2006, he began duty on the elite presidential protection division during the administration of President George W. Bush. Bongino remained on protective duty during the change in administration to President Barack Obama. He was designated lead agent responsible for the coordination of the Obama's trip to Prague for the signing of the START treaty, his trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, amongst a myriad of terror threats and Obama's visit to Afghanistan. He was awarded a series of commendations and left the protective detail as one of the most distinguished agents in history.
Daniel and Paula Bongino with their 7-year-old daughter
Bongino transferred to the Baltimore field office in 2010 where he broke up one of the largest fraud rings in Maryland history. He and his wife, Paula, are owners of a number of small businesses ranging from web solutions and design to sporting equipment. Bongino is starting his third small business, Silverloch Risk Management, catering to the assessment and mitigation of risk for high-profile clients.
Before becoming a Secret Service agent, Bongino worked for the New York Police Department, leaving with official commendations for both meritorious and excellent police duty. While working for the NYPD, he attend the City University of New York, where he completed both his bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology, concentrating in both neuro-psychology and behavioral learning.
Bongino offers "four principles for prosperity" by which he promises to measure all legislation: 1) reductions in tax rates and simplification of the tax code 2) prioritizing education with school-choice vouchers, charter schools, merit-based pay systems for educators, "parent triggers" and year-round schooling 3) immigration reform, including securing the borders, re-evaluating the current chain migration and diversity visa-based system and aggressively enforcing immigration laws and 4) encourage foreign investment by reducing protectionist tariffs and increasing foreign capital investments in the U.S. economy.
A strong advocate of school choice, William Capps said the federal Department of Education's "sole job should be that of student loans for college and tech education."
To fix the nation's illegal immigration problem, Capps proposes the following: 1) Enact E-verify across the entire nation, 2) repeal the 14th Amendment, 3) restrict and reduce trade agreements with our border countries if they do not help in stopping the illegal flow of their citizens into our country, 4) provide states with funds to help in fighting illegal immigration, 5) provide stiff fines to companies and U.S. citizens if they hire people unlawfully in the country and 5) seek ways to improve the legal process of those who are wishing to enter the U.S. in a lawful manner.
Capps proposes capping the tax rate for all industry at 20 percent, permanently. He also argues that it's time to stop buying foreign oil from countries who are adversaries to the American way of life. "We need to start employing American workers and producing the oil we need here in the USA," he said.
Eric Wargotz has served Maryland as a doctor, small businessman, community activist and elected representative. He has worked at a nonprofit hospital in Prince George's County for more than 20 years. In 2006, he was elected president of the Queen Anne's Board of County Commissioners. Wargotz has been selected as one of America's Top Physicians and is recipient of the Physician Patient's Choice Award. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and the Ohio State University Medical School.
As senator, Wargotz promises to: 1) support and defend the Constitution, 2) oppose earmarks, 3) support a balanced-budget amendment, 4) vote to repeal Obamacare, 5) vote against tax increases, 6) oppose amnesty and secure the nation's borders, 7) defend the Second Amendment, 8) protect the unborn, 9) preserve traditional marriage and 10) support congressional term limits in the House and Senate.
Raymond Blagmon is an accountant and a lieutenant commander logistics officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He has completed two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – one in the Persian Gulf and the other in the Horn of Africa.
Blagmon attended Howard University and the University of Maryland, where he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1994. He then attended American University and the University of Chicago, where he earned a master's degree in taxation in 1998 and a MBA in finance and entrepreneurship in 2002, respectively. Blagmon has been a certified public accountant for 16 years.
On his campaign website, Blagmon explains that he's running for Senate to help "balance the budget and bring down the national debt, protect our environment and strongly promote peace." He said, "[T]he Republican leadership's vision for America is way off course. Republicans talk about cutting the budget and then offer no real solutions. Republicans always say make government smaller and cut spending and then offer no solutions."
Job creation, he said, will be one of his top priorities in the U.S. Senate: "I will be a leader in new economic development initiatives to revitalize our communities and will champion using stimulus dollars to work with good corporate partners and innovative entrepreneurs to build new manufacturing plants in Maryland."
Blagmon said he believes the U.S. government must balance the budget and stop increasing the debt ceiling. However, he fully supports Obamacare.
"The current health-care reform bill, now signed into law, has some wonderful ideas that will help make health insurance quotes economical and affordable," he said. "I will continue working with the president and the Senate to ensure that this important piece of legislation stays in place. And I will continue to work to make it an even better plan for all Americans that includes a public option."
(Editor's note: Republican Rick Hoover is another challenger in this race. However, he does not have a campaign website at this time.)
11) Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Debbie Stabenow has served in the U.S. Senate since 2001. Prior to her election to the Senate, she served in the U.S House of Representatives from 1997 to 2001. She has expressed support for regulating talk radio with a measure similar to the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."
Stabenow has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, Obamacare, stimulus/bailouts, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, loosening restrictions on cell-phone wiretapping, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, pay raise for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million.
Stabenow has voted "no" on the following issues: banning gay adoptions, constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, banning federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, protecting middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, making estate tax cuts permanent and repealing the death tax.
Scott Boman –
A long-time libertarian activist and supporter of Ron Paul, Scott Bowman became a member of the Republican Party in 2008.
In 1996 Boman ran for the U.S. House of Representatives. He received 1,705 votes for .9 percent of the vote. In 2005, he was vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, and, in 2006, he was elected chair of the party.
Boman was endorsed by the Stonewall Libertarians for his open support of homosexual "rights." He has called for immediate repeal of federal and state Defense of Marriage Acts.
He was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union but chose not to renew his membership in 2006 due to the ACLU's opposition to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Boman does not yet have an official campaign website.
Co-founder and former CEO of Cornerstone Schools, a group of charter and independent schools in inner-city Detroit, Clark Durant sold birthday cakes to fund his college education. He received his degree in economics from Tulane University. He also served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and earned his law degree from Notre Dame Law School.
Durant worked as the assistant to the president of Hillsdale College and then as vice president in 1972-1973. While at Hillsdale, he helped start Imprimis, a free publication containing one notable speech each month. In 2010, Imprimis reported a circulation of more than 2 million and was described by Salon.com as "the most influential conservative publication you've never heard of."
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan nominated him and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to serve on the board of the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to low-income Americans. He also served as one of four national co-chairs of Jack Kemp's presidential campaign from 1986 to 1988. In 1994, he was elected to the state board of education in Michigan.
On his campaign website, Durant explains, "When it comes to our debt and economic growth ... we are in a time of great peril, something similar to what was seen by our parents and grandparents in the Great Depression. Simply put, our nation's economy is a mess."
Durant believes the government must roll back spending to responsible levels, halt any new programs, simplify the tax code, reduce taxes, eliminate burdensome regulation that stifles economic growth and develop tax incentives for innovation. He called Obamacare a "sharply partisan health-care law that undermines health-care programs for our senior citizens and bloats Medicaid." Durant promises to repeal Obamacare.
He contends that any reform of the nation's immigration system must begin with secure borders. He supports establishment of pilot programs for worker verification, hiring of more immigration officers, deployment of the National Guard in targeted border areas and penalizing those who smuggle and employ illegal aliens. He opposes inclusion of illegal aliens in the Census for the purposes of reapportionment.
Durant is pro-life and opposes taxpayer funding for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, partial-birth abortion and the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. When it comes to marriage, he believes it is an ancient institution reserved by natural law as a union between one man and one woman – and should be legally protected as such. Durant also promises to vigorously oppose any and all efforts to undermine the Second Amendment right for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves, their family and their property. He also opposes efforts to do away with the Electoral College.
Gary Glenn, head of American Family Association's Michigan affiliate since 1999, has received an endorsement from 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee said of Glenn, "Gary is a person whose clarity of conviction is refreshing. He has boldly led on issues of life, traditional marriage, and the Fair Tax. When I needed help in Michigan in 2008, Gary didn't wait until it was convenient or popular, he stood with me out of sheer courage of his views. Gary Glenn won't take a poll to find out where he needs to stand. He will be a senator that will take his values with him to Washington."
Glenn was one of two co-authors of the Marriage Protection Amendment approved by Michigan voters in 2004. He was elected and served two terms as Republican county commissioner, authoring the nation's first medical savings account plan for county employees. He was the lead spokesman and strategist of the successful effort to pass a state right to work law in Idaho, prohibiting compulsory union membership or financial support as a condition of employment. Glenn also served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard.
He said the nation's "economy, security, liberties, moral foundation and founding principles – all that's made America and Americans exceptional in the history of the world – are under attack from within."
"If they're not stopped, liberal ideologues like Debbie Stabenow and Barack Obama will rob our children of their birthright of freedom and turn our country into the United Socialist States of America," Glenn said. "My mission and commitment is to do whatever I can to help senators like Jim DeMint and Rand Paul and Mike Lee stop them."
He said the main focal point of the general election for Senate in 2012 must be private-sector jobs. He proposes elimination of the following federal programs and agencies:
- Internal Revenue Service
- Department of Education
- Federal Reserve system
- Department of Energy
- Davis-Bacon Act
- United Nations
- Troubled Asset Relief Program
- the paper $1 bill (save $184 million a year in printing costs by replacing it with a $1 coin)
In addition, Glenn believes the following agencies should be privatized: 1) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 2) U.S. Postal Service and 3) Amtrak.
Randy Hekman is a U.S. Navy veteran, former prosecutor and juvenile court judge.
He served as a lieutenant in the Navy from June 1969 to June 1972 and was assigned to the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy in the Pentagon, where he developed policies for computer systems in the Department of Defense.
Hekman later became assistant prosecuting attorney in the Kent County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. He was elected in 1975 as probate juvenile judge in the Kent Country Probate Court. After 15 years, Hekman left the bench to become the founding executive director of the Michigan Family Forum based in Lansing. Hekman then served as executive director of CBH Ministries for six years before taking on the role of executive pastor at Crossroads Bible Church.
He earned his bachelor's degree from the Sloan School of Management and his law degree from the George Washington University Law School.
Hekman favors a balanced-budget amendment coupled with major cost cuts and caps on future budgets. He also supports elimination of earmarks, the Fair Tax, reduction of corporate taxes and repeal of the 16th Amendment that authorized the income-tax system. He is anti-Obamacare, pro-life and believes marriage is between a man and woman.
He said the key planks of his U.S. Senate campaign are:
- Balance federal budgets expeditiously through a reduction in the enormous size of government without raising taxes.
- Take aggressive action to begin paying off our staggering $14+ trillion deficit now through cost cutting, not raising taxes.
- Deal realistically with astronomically large, unfunded entitlement liabilities in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
- Encourage the nonprofit sector to greatly increase its contribution to human need caused by the federal government's major reductions; consider a nominal tax credit for individuals who contribute at least 10 percent of their gross income to nonprofit entities.
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a conservative who helped found the House Tea Party Caucus, was born in the Netherlands and moved to America with his parents at the age of three. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Hope College and a master of business administration degree from the University of Michigan.
He represented Michigan's second district for 18 years before stepping down to run unsuccessfully for governor in 2010. He lost the Republican primary to Gov. Rick Snyder, who has officially endorsed Hoekstra for Senate. During his gubernatorial run, Hoekstra embraced the tea party.
Hoekstra said he wants to do away with the federal No Child Left Behind law and lessen the restrictions in new federal banking and health-care laws. He claims those changes will put more money into school districts and allow businesses to add jobs.
"As I talk to business owners across the state ... they're frustrated," Hoekstra told the Associated Press. "It's because of the rules and regulations of MIOSHA, OSHA and the Dodd-Frank bill."
While in the House, Hoekstra supported the 2008 Wall Street bailout and the $15 billion bailout for GM and Chrysler. He supports a balanced-budget amendment and construction of the fence along the Mexican border. Hoekstra co-sponsored a bill declaring English as the official language of the U.S. He has voted to reduce capital gains taxes and eliminate the marriage penalty and death tax. Hoekstra co-sponsored the Fair Tax Act to abolish the IRS and enact a national sales tax. He was a member of the Congressional Flat Tax Caucus. Hoekstra also voted against the "hate crimes" bill.
Hoekstra opposes abortion, taxpayer funding of human embryonic stem cell research and homosexual "marriage." He is a fan of charter schools, homeschooling and a constitutional amendment that says parents have a fundamental right to raise their children without government interference.
Peter Konetchy has worked in small business all his life. During high school and college, he worked at small manufacturing company and drove a delivery truck. After college, he worked as a custom programmer and developed software for many industries, including mortgage processing, property management, vending services, manufacturing and legal time, billing and accounting. In the 1980s, he started his own firm servicing the time, billing and accounting needs of law firms originally in Michigan and, eventually, throughout the nation.
Konetchy graduated from the College of Business at Michigan State University with a degree in accounting. He said he is running for Senate because he understands the greatness of the United States.
"I appreciate the constitutionally restrained government our founders provided, which allowed this country to prosper and develop into a world-class beacon of morality, personal liberty, economic dominance and military strength," he said. "The majority of our current 'citizen' representatives in Washington do not share my perspective. Their role has morphed from securing our God-given rights to becoming our life-long rulers. Their actions are based on the accumulation of personal political power rather than what is best for the people. They want to completely control the thoughts and actions of the citizenry of the United States."
Konetchy believes the powers of Congress should be limited to specific enumerated powers within the Constitution. He supports the Second Amendment, a balanced budget, the phased-out elimination of all non-constitutional federal programs, free-market solutions over government programs, energy independence, repeal of Obamacare, secure borders and phasing out direct federal taxes in conjunction with elimination of non-constitutional spending. He opposes abortion and the idea that global warming is caused by humans and represents one of the greatest threats facing mankind.
Chuck Marino has never served as a politician. Instead, he has spent his career in the business arena – creating jobs, meeting payrolls, balancing budgets, negotiating contracts and mentoring future managers.
He established National Building Inspections, a company that serves banks, insurance companies and business owners nationally for property condition assessments, bank draws and asset reviews. NBI services 49 states (all but Hawaii). Marino served in the U.S. Marine Corp from 1969-1973, during the Vietnam era. He was an infantry soldier and a warehouse manager.
Marino believes that if the U.S. started drilling for oil tomorrow, it could put America back to work. He also believes the nation needs a balanced budget and that Medicare and Social Security must be fixed.
Marino proposes elimination of junk lawsuits, allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines, allowing insurance groups from nontraditional groups (city/towns/American Legions) and allowing individuals to have the same tax breaks as large companies when they purchase health insurance. He is also pro-life and supports immigration enforcement and strengthened borders.
Rick Wilson said his 35-year career as a manager in the auto industry ended abruptly when the AC Spark Plug plant where he worked "became a parking lot instead of a place of employment." He went to high school at International School in Brussels, Belgium, and attended Central Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial management.
Wilson describes himself as a free-market advocate, and the following are some of his core beliefs:
- Government is too big, and the federal stimulus bill made government bigger instead of creating jobs.
- Taxes are too high and are going higher if Congress continues with its out-of-control spending.
- The historic amount of debt we are passing on to our children and grandchildren is immoral.
- I am passionate about improving the quality of our public schools. Accountability and high standards are paramount, as is adequate funding for education.
- A strong military and vigorous homeland defense will protect our interests and security around the world and at home.
- I am dedicated to winning the war against radical Islam. This is, as John McCain stated, "the transcendent threat of our time," and, as I have stated to him, the transcendent threat of all time.
Wilson is pro-life and believes only adult stem cells should be used in stem-cell research. He supports "drill here, drill now" and believes exploring America's oil and gas resources will result in more jobs, more prosperity and better national security. Wilson also supports strengthened borders, repeal of Obamacare, the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the Fair Tax at both federal and state levels.
12) Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Amy Klobuchar has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. She supports homosexual "marriage," abortion, increased funding for health coverage, the Equal Rights Amendment, the Patriot Act, fair trade and extending the ban on assault weapons.
Klobuchar has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailouts and "stimulus" funding, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, protecting middle class from a national energy tax, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, raising Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and increasing tax rates for people earning more than $1 million.
Klobuchar has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land and requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections.
Joe Arwood's public service began in St. Bonifacius, Minn., when he joined the volunteer fire department. After some years of service, he decided to run for city council and won.
His campaign website states, "I live in an average house on an average street in an average city with a wife, a daughter, three dogs, two turtles and a full-time job. I am the average Joe."
Arwood opposes "bloated farm bills" and says reform should make farm programs more efficient and market oriented, and should not include tax increases. "Farm bills should be designed to assist family farmers in times of need, rather than direct subsidies to massive corporate farming operations that put small family farms at a disadvantage," he wrote. "We need to pass a farm bill that also gives the U.S. the ability to open up new export markets for our products."
Joe Arwood with U.S. Rep. Ron Paul
Arwood supports veterans and believes the Department of Veteran's Affairs must overcome the benefits claim backlog, ensure a seamless transition back home for new veterans, care for wounded warriors, continue the mission of accounting for all U.S. military personnel from all wars and increase veteran's mobile health-care clinics and cover all those with Agent Orange exposure. He promises to seek cuts in defense spending on projects that the Department of Defense has identified as unnecessary and apply "a common-sense approach" to identifying bases in areas of the world that may no longer be needed.
Concerning the economy and jobs, Arwood proposes lowering coporate tax rates and streamlining the regulatory requirements for job creators. He opposes federal Department of Education interference in local schools and supports involvement of parents and local independent school boards in children's education. On energy, Arwood thinks drilling for oil is not enough. He proposes construction of new oil refineries and pipelines in the U.S.
Arwood supports a balanced budget and sensible cuts to the federal bureaucracy as a way to stop the acquistion of more debt. He promises to work across party lines to advance reforms to the current tax code. For individuals, he proposes "a flatter, simpler system for taxpayers to pay income taxes." He also promises to forward a bill immediately to suspend the 10 percent penalty for early withdrawals from 401Ks and qualifying pension plans, allowing people the freedom to direct those funds and use them to pay down mortgages to save their houses, credit cards or expand small businesses.
A former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Dan Severson retired from the U.S. Navy after serving for 22 years as a Top Gun fighter pilot and commander. He flew A-7s and FA 18 Strike Fighters (the Hornet – same plane as the Blue Angels) and earned two meritorious service medals for leadership.
Severson is an inventor and has a patent for an LED light communication system. He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor's degree in physics. As a U.S. senator, Severson said his priorities will be to:
- repeal Obamacare
- champion American exceptionalism
- reduce the size of government
- stabilize the economy
- incentivize private sector jobs
- balance the budget
- support pro-life causes
- restore a moral compass to Washington, D.C.
A retired U.S. Army first sergeant, Dick Franson earned his bachelor's degree in public administration with a minor in Middle East studies. He earned numerous military honors and served in Vietnam. He was a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the Senate in Minnesota, but he lost in primaries.
(Editor's note: Jack "Doc" Shepard is another challenger in this race. However, his campaign website does not offer biographical information or positions on political issues.)
13) Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Claire McCaskill has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. She has supported "morning after" contraception at all military health facilities, expanding preschool and Head Start, expanding Pell Grants and HOPE Scholarships, raising the minimum wage and increasing federal funding for health-care programs.
McCaskill has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailout/stimulus, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, factoring global warming into federal project planning, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million.
McCaskill has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, banning federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, raising Congress' pay and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
A strong voice on national security issues in the U.S. House of Representatives, Todd Akin serves as chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. He also serves on the budget committee, where, according to his campaign website, "he has fought to rein in government spending and debt, despite pressures from the White House, those across the aisle and some within his own party that just can't keep their hands off the government credit card." Akin also served as chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight.
Akin is a long-time supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, a leader in his local church, former board member of National Right to Life, and he sits on the board of the Mission Gate Prison Ministry – an outreach program that seeks to end the revolving door recidivism rate among those released from prison and get lives back on track.
Todd Akin at tea party (photo: Fired up! Missouri)
Akin believes the U.S. system of taxation must be overhauled. He has long been a supporter of the FairTax, because he said, "The FairTax allows taxpayers to keep more of what they make and empowers the taxpayer to take a greater role in managing their tax burden." Akin has been a co-sponsor of a balanced-budget amendment and an advocate for the recent cut, cap, and balance legislation that would reduce spending outlays, cap the debt ceiling and balance the federal budget. In 2009, he opposed the $787 billion stimulus plan.
On education, Akin believes it's time to end Washington's trend as "federal superintendent of education" and give control and funding back to the states and local school boards. He notes that reducing excessive federal regulations will make more dollars available to local schools and allow those who actually interact with students to focus spending where it is most needed.
Akin is committed to strong defense, the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the belief that life begins at conception.
John Brunner is chairman of V-Jon Inc., a health-care product company his grandparents founded. It is best known for its Germ-X hand sanitizer and is one of the largest privately held companies in St. Louis, with an estimated $560 million in annual revenue.
He is a former U.S. Marine and prides himself on not having the background of an experienced politician. Upon announcing his candidacy in his warehouse, Brunner said, "I'll match my experience as a manufacturer and job creator against a career politician's resume of borrowing and spending anytime, anywhere."
Brunner opposes tax increases, massive government spending, the economic stimulus "failure" and Obamacare. As senator, he promises to make addressing the nation's massive debt his top priority. He supports a balanced-budget amendment and promises to never seek an earmark in any bill. Brunner said his plan for the economy is to eliminate bureaucratic regulations that strangle job creators and reduce the tax burden on businesses and family farms and to reform the U.S. tax code "to produce a smaller, flatter tax rate for everyone." Finally, Brunner said he supports term limits in Congress and will serve no more than two terms in the U.S. Senate.
Sarah Steelman served as state treasurer of Missouri from 2004 to 2008 and was responsible for managing more than $19 billion of the state's annual revenue. She managed the investment of more than $3 billion in long-term and short-term investments in the state's portfolio. Steelman started the first terror-free investment fund in the nation, which ensured that taxpayer dollars were never invested in terrorist-sponsoring countries. She also served as chairman of the states' Higher Education Savings Board and chairman of the Missouri Housing Development Commission.
In 1998 and 2002, Steelman was elected to the state Senate, where she served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce and the Environment.
Previously, she served as deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Division of Geology and Land Survey. Steelman worked as an economist for the Department of Revenue and as an adjunct professor in economics at Lincoln University. She also served as an investment broker and as director of a local Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.
Steelman graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in economics from the University of Missouri.
She promises to vote 100 percent pro-life in the U.S. Senate, including giving her support to the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion-providing organizations. She said she will fight to end the practice of partial-birth abortion and oppose the confirmation of judges who attempt to legislate from the bench.
On immigration, Steelman opposes any effort to grant amnesty or provide government benefits to those who are in the U.S. illegally. She supports securing the U.S.-Mexico border through the completion of the fence, increasing Border Patrol agents on both the Mexican and Canadian borders and efforts of states like Arizona to take action to enforce the laws the politicians in Washington will not. She also supports efforts to increase the punishment for employers who knowingly hire illegals.
On national energy policy, Steelman has an "all of the above approach," advocating more domestic production of energy from existing sources of oil, coal and natural gas and encouraging conservation and the development of alternative sources of energy like wind and solar power.
Steelman promises to vote in the U.S. Senate for a full repeal of Obamacare, opting instead to promote medical malpractice lawsuit reform. She supports a balanced-budget amendment, a ban on federal earmarks and simplification of the tax code.
An advocate of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, Steelman said she will oppose any efforts to restrict the right of citizens to own, possess and carry a firearm. She also opposes any efforts to force the registration of firearms or any other policies that unduly burden the lawful purchase or possession of guns.
Missouri Medical supply chain entrepreneur Samuel Lipari originated the online delivery of hospital supplies, reducing costs by 40 percent to institutional users in the 1990s. He has published several online columns; however, his campaign website offers little to no biographical background or information on Lipari's political positions.
14) Jon Tester, D-Mont. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Jon Tester has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. He has supported abortion, tuition tax credits, low-interest loans and Pell Grants, the Second Amendment, repeal of the Patriot Act, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and increased federal funding for health care.
Tester has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, stimulus/bailouts, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, pay raise for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program and continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities."
He has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections and increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million.
A fifth-generation Montana cattle rancher and small-business owner, Denny Rehberg spent a majority of his life working on the family ranch. After attending Washington State University, he went to work in the Montana Legislature as an intern and later as a legislative assistant for Montana Rep. Ron Marlenee.
In 1984, Rehberg was elected to the Montana House of Representatives, where he helped balance the state's budget without raising taxes. Gov. Stan Stephens then appointed him lieutenant governor. In 1992, Rehberg joined forces with Attorney General Marc Racicot in their successful bid for governor and lieutenant governor.
In 2000, Rehberg was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. One of the first measures he sponsored was a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and was recently appointed chairmen of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, which oversees more than one-quarter of federal discretionary spending.
Rehberg voted against the stimulus bill, Obamacare and all of the various government bailout programs. He said the biggest threat to the nation is its out-of-control government spending while it continues to borrow more money from China. As senator, Rehberg promises to address waste, fraud and abuse in federal agencies, departments and programs. He advocates an end to federal earmarks and using leftover funds from stimulus and government bailouts to pay down the national debt. Rehberg also said the government must get off the backs of entrepreneurs by decreasing burdensome regulations and lowering taxes.
On energy, Rehberg suggests Montana look into expanding markets domestically and using its own abundance of oil, coal and natural gas. He also supports development of alternatives forms of energy, such as wind, solar, biofuels and geothermal power.
15) Ben Nelson, D-Neb. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Ben Nelson has served in the U.S. Senate since 2001. He was elected governor of Nebraska and served in that office from 1991 to 1999. Nelson has expressed support for the death penalty, public schooling, funds to stop global warming, expanding free trade, more federal funding for health coverage and a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. He opposes abortion and school vouchers.
Nelson has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailout/stimulus, restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, banning partial birth abortions except to save the mother's life, constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, raising pay for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, reauthorizing the Patriot Act, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," permanently repealing the "death tax" and instituting National Service as a new social invention.
Nelson has voted "no" on the following issues: barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections and for voter registration, applying habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees, increasing tax rates for people earning more than $1 million and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Jon Bruning, a tea party-backed candidate for U.S. Senate, was sworn into office as Nebraska's 31st Attorney General in 2003. He was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 1996 and 2000.
Bruning was endorsed by the Tea Party Express in May 2011."We believe Jon Bruning is a strong candidate," a Tea Party Express spokesman told the Omaha World-Herald. "He's strongly in tune with tea party values. He's also able to put together a first-rate campaign."
Bruning received both his undergraduate and law degrees with distinction from the University of Nebraska. Upon receiving his law degree, Bruning went to work for both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. From 1995 to 1997, he served as general counsel for Vital Learning Corporation, an Omaha-based business that provides educational services, personal business development and management training. From 1999 until 2003, Bruning worked as general counsel to Tagge-Rutherford Financial Group.
Jon Bruning and family
On the same morning President Obama signed Obamacare into law, Bruning and 12 other attorneys general filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional." He said Obamacare "tramples on individual liberty and dumps on the states the burden of an unfunded mandate that taxpayers cannot afford."
Bruning joined eight other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 – the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act – nearly two weeks after the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Arizona over the anti-illegal immigration law.
Bruning supports repeal of Obamacare, the Second Amendment right to bear arms, overturning Roe v. Wade and elimination of earmarks.
Deb Fischer owns a ranching business with her family near Valentine, Neb. She was elected to the Valentine Rural High School Board of Education, became president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards and served as a commissioner on the Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education.
In 2004, Fischer was elected to the Nebraska Unicameral to represent the 43rd Legislative District. She currently serves as chair of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee and is a member of the Revenue Committee and the Executive Board. Fischer earned a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Fischer has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising not to raise taxes on individuals and businesses. As senator, she promises to take her budget-cutting skills to Washington and convince Congress to cut spending, not raise taxes. She opposes printing money to pay the national debt and firmly believes Washington's first priority must be to cut spending and pass a balanced-budget amendment.
Fischer is pro-life and also promises to vote for repeal of Obamacare, act as a key ally for Nebraska agriculture and be an advocate for gun owners. She advocates an increase in Border Patrol agents and troops on the U.S.-Mexico border and widespread use of E-verify to validate legal immigrants when they apply for jobs. Fischer opposes in-state college tuition and amnesty for illegal aliens.
As a young man, Pat Flynn's jobs included detasseling, irrigating, working cattle and hog confinements. He earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
In 1982, Flynn started a successful insurance business. He later became an investment adviser and ran his business for 29 years.
Flynn's campaign website states:
In his later teens and twenties, Pat's life was not always exemplary. He had encounters with the law regarding alcohol and marijuana; thankfully the law won regarding these situations. With the grace of God and a recovery program, Pat has been able to overcome this adversity and has been able to help effect change in other's lives. He is not proud of this part of his past but has taken full responsibility for his actions and understands the concerns and challenges of many others in our society with these same issues.
He helped start and lead a volunteer, high-school youth ministry program for 13 years.
Flynn supports enactment of policies that allow farmers to base their crop-planting decisions on market demand, not government subsidies and regulations. On agriculture, he supports enforcement of anti-trust laws, repeal of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, enforcement of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyard Act and maintaining branding for cattle as the industry standard for identification. Flynn believes the Environmental Protection Agency should back off and "let farmers farm." He supports an end to subsidies, mandates and regulations.
Flynn offers a "Blueprint for Recovery and Prosperity," with a plan to return to the fiscal year 2008 federal budget, cut funding to angencies by 40 percent, defund federal programs that duplicate another, defund abortion organizations, cut funding for the war in Libya, cut funding to the U.N. by 50 percent, repeal Obamacare, repeal the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill, abolish the IRS and address entitlements of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
On immigration, Flynn supports increased workplace compliance with hiring practices, repatriation, English as the official U.S. language and a temporary worker program. He is also pro-life and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
When he needed money to attend the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Don Stenberg detassled corn, hauled bales, mowed lawns and served as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool. In college, he lettered in track and won an athletic scholarship.
After graduating from law school and business school, Stenberg practiced law until he was named as legal counsel to the governor of Nebraska in 1979. He served as director of the Policy Reasearch Office, assistant to the governor and director of the Department of Administrative Services, where he saved state taxpayers more than $1 million.
Stenberg served as attorney general of Nebraska from 1991 to 2003 and currently serves as the state treasurer. He was also legal counsel to Gov. Charles Thone from 1979 to 1983. In one of the closest elections in Nebraska history in 2000, Stenberg lost the race for U.S. Senate to Democrat Ben Nelson by only two points. He also ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1996 and 2006. In 2011, he announced his intention to run for the Senate a fourth time.
Stenberg touts his record of restraining government spending as an example for how the federal government must slash its out-of-control spending. As state treasurer, he asked the Nebraska Legislature to cut the budget by 13 percent for each of the following two years. As Nebraska attorney general, he operated his office on the third smallest AG budget in the nation.
As a U.S. senator, Stenberg promises to oppose any new taxes and consider additional tax cuts to strengthen the economy and create jobs. He also pledges to vote for repeal of Obamacare, support a balanced-budget amendment, serve no more than two terms and oppose all bailouts, earmarks and cap-and-trade legislation. Stenberg has received an A or A+ rating from the National Rifle Association for his support for the Second Amendment.
A strong pro-life advocate, Stenberg defended Nebraska's ban on partial-birth abortion all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and personally argued Stenberg v. Carhart in support of the ban. As Nebraska attorney general, he also joined a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Washington and New York's statutes banning assisted suicide.
Finally, Stenberg adds, "As Nebraska's next United States senator, I will offer legislation to repeal every rule and regulation adopted by the Obama administration. Any that are truly needed can then be submitted by the bureaucrats to Congress for a vote."
Spencer Zimmerman –
An Air Force veteran who was stationed at Offutt from 2000 to 2004, Spencer Zimmerman is an Omaha-based truck driver and business administration graduate of Edgewood College in Madison, Wisc. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, he is author of a novel titled "The Epoch Point." The report notes that Zimmerman plans to center his campaign on a proposal to promote establishment of a unicameral Congress as a solution to the mounting federal deficit.
"We need to create a business-friendly environment in Nebraska and throughout America that will continue to bring new jobs and opportunity to our shores by preventing tax or fee increases and promoting innovation by eliminating regulations that stifle entrepreneurs," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman does not have an official campaign website at this time.
Russell Anderson earned a bachelor's degree in geography and a master of business administration. While he says he thought of opening a business once, "our government is so anti-business that I suspect I would have been unsuccessful." His work background includes jobs at a fast-food restaurant, a car dealership, eight-and-a-half years in the U.S. Air Force and temporary positions after his separation from the service.
Anderson believes in a larger conspiracy behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including the idea that President George W. Bush was either "gullible and completely fooled as to what was going on, or he was an insider on the whole event." His campaign website states:
"My thoughts on 9-11 would be revisited in 2010 after new material was brought to my attention. This new material includes the simultaneous destruction of Building 7 at the World Trade Center, the molten steel at the World Trade Center that could not be melted by jet fuel, the suspiciously short video clips of the blast at the Pentagon, the apparent downing of a flight riddled with controversy, and an apparent attempt by the George W. Bush administration to hide and destroy evidence of the trillions of dollars that went missing from the economy announced one day prior to 9-11. It is important to know that two planes were seen hitting the World Trade Center; three buildings fell."
Anderson is calling for an "impartial full investigation" of the 9/11 attacks with "full disclosure to the public."
16) Bob Menendez, D-N.J. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: In 2006, Bob Menendez was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jon Corzine, who resigned upon being elected governor of New Jersey. Menendez won the 2006 U.S. Senate election. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2006. Menendez has supported abortion, affirmative action in government contracts, gun control, Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal, the death penalty, increased federal funding for health coverage and public schooling.
He has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailout/stimulus, making federal death penalty appeals more difficult, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, pay raise for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, applying habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees, reauthorizing the Patriot Act, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security, increasing tax rates for people earning more than $1 million and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Menendez has voted "no" on the following issues: constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, banning gay adoptions in D.C., banning the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, authorizing construction of new oil refineries, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, building a fence along the Mexican border, reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and permanently repealing the "death tax."
Joe Kyrillos began serving New Jersey's 13th Legislative District in 1988 when he was elected to the General Assembly. After two terms there, he was elected to the state Senate, where he has served since 1993. Kyrillos was the New Jersey chairman for Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, he served as chairman of Gov. Chris Christie's campaign and was a member of his transition team.
Kyrillos also works as senior managing director of Colliers International, a commercial real-estate firm with offices in New York and Parsippany. He's an adviser to Newport Capital Group.
Kyrillos earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Hobart College and a master's degree from the Boston University School of Public Communication.
Project Vote Smart has listed his key votes on a variety of issues.
A software sales executive and former substitute teacher, Larry Donahue believes Washington must balance the federal budget and end the "irresponsible and inconscionable practice of spending money we do not have because Congress is to incompetent to manage the finances of this country." He estimates that the government spends at least $3 on programs for special-interest groups, waste, fraud, duplicated services and mismanagement for every $1 spent for the good of the public.
Concerning national health care, Donahue said Congress let big campaign donors and lobbyists who profit from health-care-run-wild with price increases. "While Americans suffered under the burden of enormous health care costs, special interest thrived, thanks to their bought-and-paid-for Republican and Democrat members of Congress," he explained. In passing Obamacare, Donahue believes Congress didn't respond to the fundamental problem of unaffordable health care costs; rather, it shifted the cost burden and left health care costs high "because special-interest groups who own the United States Congress and who actually wrote substantial portions of the recently passed health care reform legislation demanded that their prices and enormous profits continue to rise."
Donahue believes all earmarks should be eliminated, because they "are nothing more than an unabashed payoff to campaign donors."
He also believes members of Congress should resign their positions if they run for president, rather than traveling across the country campaigning while in office. He proposes a four-year term for members of Congress so they can spend more time working for taxpayers and less time campaigning for re-election.
Gwen Diakos studied telecommunications and network management at Devry University. She later studied linguistics and American sign language interpreting at the University of Southern Maine. After college, she worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army.
"I have witnessed fiscally responsible taxpayer dollars spent in support of our armed forces, bridging relationships with foreign countries," she said. "Representation of our country to other nations is of great importance."
However, Diakos said she also witnessed wasteful spending and inappropriate use of taxpayer funds:
"I saw how the government spends our money," she said, "and watching the wretched spending habits, I vowed to myself to one day represent the hard earners, the taxpayer, who makes all spending possible."
As senator, Diakos promises "transparency" and a commitment to put an end to partisan politics. She pledges to confront wasteful government spending to "bring power back to the dollar and restore the American dream." Diakos is pro-life and states on her campaign website: "Our country was founded on the principle that all Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that unborn Americans have the right to live, just as all Americans do."
Diakos also believes in what she calls "marriage equality" for homosexuals: "Our country was founded on the principle that all Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To that end, I believe that the gay community should have the right to marry, upholding our forefathers' declarations."
As senator, Jeff Boss promises to work to lower property taxes, provide free college educations, make lobbying Congress illegal, secure voting machines, provide "amnesty" to all illegal aliens, secure the borders with 50,000 U.S. troops, end the wars, use revenue bonds to build low-income housing for 15 percent of the population in every major city, support unions, legalize sports betting, lower car insurance 30 percent, bring slot machines to the Meadowlands and heavily fund stem-cell, AIDS and autism research.
Boss also claims he witnessed the National Security Agency arrange the 9/11 attacks.
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17) Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Kirsten Gillibrand is an attorney who was appointed to the U.S. Senate by New York Gov. David Paterson in 2009. She also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009. She supports federal abortion funding, homosexual marriage, judicial activism, gun control and blocking the NAFTA Superhighway and a North American Union.
Gillibrand has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailouts/stimulus, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, raising Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, restoring habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Gillibrand has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies and protecting the middle class from a national energy tax.
Born in Greece in a small agricultural village, George Maragos immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1958, where Maragos graduated first in his class as valedictorian in high school and was a star athlete in baseball, football, soccer and hockey. Maragos graduated from McGill University and went to work for Bell Canada/Bell Northern Research. He became one of the youngest managers in the global technology organization.
In 1978, Maragos was recruited by Booz Allen and Hamilton, a consulting firm in New York, to work on U.S. military defense command and control systems. He was promoted to associate and managed information technology solutions for multinational commercial clients.
In 1981, Maragos began working for Chase Manhattan Bank, building the institution's international data and money transfer network. He became vice president and earned a master of business administration from Pace University in New York.
Maragos became a naturalized American citizen in 1985. In 1986, he was recruited by Citibank, where he served as vice president and director of North American Treasury and Telecommunications Systems. Three years later, he founded SDS Financial Technologies and served as president for the next 20 years. He was elected Nassau County Comptroller in 2009.
Maragos believes restoring economic growth and creating well-paying private sector jobs must be the government's top priority. He said the tax code must be reformed to be simpler and fairer, free of all subsidies and loopholes, but with strong incentives to manufacture in the U.S. He notes that the U.S. must make a national commitment to achieve energy independence in 10 years and become a global leader in renewable energy. Meanwhile, he said, Washington must learn fiscal responsibility. Maragos supports a balanced-budget amendment and elimination of earmarks. Most importantly, he says Washington must take action now to reduce the deficit, eliminate wasteful spending and reform entitlements. He believes Medicare and Social Security must be protected.
Maragos is also a proponent of bringing the troops home now, supporting Israel in the ongoing Middle East conflicts and repealing Obamacare. He believes abortion should be limited to cases where the mother's life is in danger, or when there has been rape or incest, and that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon practicing in Ithaca, N.Y., Scott Noren is a second-generation American with a predominantly Ukrainian-Jewish background.
He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed dental school training at Loyola University. After a one-year dental residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, a one-year oral surgery externship at Louisiana State University and an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., Noren served on active duty in the U.S. Army for six years.
After serving in the Army, Noren did two oral surgery associateships and then purchased an oral surgery practice in Ithaca, N.Y.
His campaign website states, "Dr. Noren is socially, aggressively liberal on many issues. Being fiscally responsible means paying for progressive agendas that improve lives and paying for them with cuts to the military budget, for instance."
Noren believes the minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour and that Medicare and Medicaid are in need of drastic fiscal and delivery overhauls. He proposes immediate relief from high monthly premium costs by federal mandate and drastic regulation of the health insurance industry.
Noren's website describes him as "pro-gun," but he "does believe in limited gun control measures and better enforcement of existing laws." He advocates immediately ammending the Bush-era tax cuts to apply to those making less than $500,000 a year. He is also pro-abortion and states that he would vote for national legislation allowing homosexuals to marry and support decriminalization of marijuana. He proposes a ban on fracking and considers himself a "friend of the Occupy movement."
18) Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Sherrod Brown has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2007. He led the Democratic effort to block the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA. He is a strong advocate of homosexual "rights" and opposed an amendment to Ohio's constitution that banned same-sex marriage. Brown supports gun control and opposes the Patriot Act, calling it "unpatriotic."
Brown has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, bailout/stimulus, replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, keeping a moratorium on offshore oil drilling, starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers program, deterring foreign arms transfers to China, pay raise for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," building a fence along the Mexican border, increasing tax rates on people making more than $1 million and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Brown has voted "no" on the following issues: Iraq war budgetary supplement, Defense of Marriage Act, prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children, restricting U.N. funding for population-control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, banning federal grants for organizations that perform abortions, making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime, banning partial-birth abortion, making the Patriot Act permanent, constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions, providing benefits to homosexual partners of federal employees, school vouchers, banning the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, permitting new oil refineries, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, reforming the U.N. by restricting U.S. funding, implementing CAFTA, requiring a photo ID for voting in federal elections, restricting frivolous lawsuits, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, raising death and estate tax exemptions and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
A high-school football coach and pilot for a cargo airline, Rusty Bliss worked with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels through the 1990s. He has never held public office, but he believes elected officials must adhere to the Founding Fathers' principles and the U.S. Constitution. Bliss has worked for the 2000 McCain primary campaign, the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign, the 2006 Mike DeWine U.S. Senate campaign and the 2008 McCain presidential campaign. In 2005, Bliss served as a pilot for Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich.
Bliss maintains an active relationship with state tea party and 9/12 organizations. He believes in smaller federal government, a strong and effective military and keeping America's leadership role in aviation and space technology and exploration. Bliss describes himself as "100 percent pro-gun" and believes Obamacare must be repealed and taxes lowered on hard-working Americans. He is pro-life and also argues that America must work to develop nuclear, coal, oil, solar, wind, electric, Helium-3 and other new forms of energy to establish energy independence.
Bliss also suggests possible elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, which, he said, has "done enough damage."
Donna Glisman, a "rust-belt" baby boomer who grew up in Detroit during the heydey of the automotive industry, appeared as a spokesperson for the Big Three auto companies at their events. She has organized private, civic and charitable events, including work on political campaigns.
In the 1980s, she moved to Ohio and opened a hotel and restaurant on an island known as Put In Bay. Glisman has also worked as a realtor and spent time working the assembly line for Chrysler.
Glisman believes tax reform and new regulatory policies will allow entrepreneurs to start and operate businesses in American and even relocate businesses here. She advocates lower taxes and opposes government-mandated health insurance and gun control.
Eric LaMont Gregory
A world-class clinical physiologist, Eric Lamont Gregory spent three years in Israel during his undergraduate studies, which led him into a distinguished international career. In the 1980s, he served as a consultant to the maternal and newborn care unit of the World Health Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. He received his master's degree from Oxford University and served as a clinical physiologist in the care of critically ill preterm babies at the John Radcliffe Hospital in England. Gregory collaborated in research with other European hospitals and universities in Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany and Turkey. He was one of the leading researchers in WHO's global effort to reduce neonatal (first 30 days) deaths in the developing world.
Gregory developed the innumerate thermometer, which reads a person's temperature by using a color code in addition to numbers. Since there are many people in the world who cannot read numbers, and monitoring a baby's temperature is crucial to their wellbeing and life-saving interventions, Gregory's thermometer helped address the problem.
Gregory worked for the National Health Service of England and served as an expert on the health effects of airborne pollutants and solid fuel use for the United Nations Environment Program headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. He has been the subject of documentaries concerning his work at Oxford University and his work in medicine and post-war and post-disaster reconstruction initiatives. The BBC documented his efforts following the Rwandan genocide crisis. He also worked on a humanitarian mission during the Bosnia war. He is author of the soon-to-be-released book, "An End to War."
Gregory advocates opening foreign markets to products made in the U.S. He stated, "Free trade must be based on our ability to enter the markets of others, not just our being open to good from other nations."
He supports limited government and Thomas Jefferson's philosophy that the law should restrain men from injuring one another but leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits. Gregory also supports strong public morality, stating, "When we cease to be one nation under God, we will become just another nation gone under." He is an advocate for parents' rights, the Second Amendment, tightened border security, school choice and a fair tax. Gregory opposes taxpayer funding of abortion and failed social-support programs.
A practicing orthopedic surgeon, Michael Pryce enlisted in the U.S. Navy following high school. He trained aboard the USS Sabine at Mayport Naval Station in Florida and began professional training in naval intelligence at Corry Field in Pensacola, Fla. Afterward, he was sent to the U.S. Army post in Bremerhaven, Germany. He also served at a U.S. Air Force base in San Vito, Italy. He finished his tour at the Naval Security Group Station in Cheltenham, Md., and was honorably discharged in 1971.
Pryce studied at Kent State University and had planned to begin a career in radio and television broadcasting. He transfered to the University of Akron and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in natural science. He was then appointed to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine if Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C., where he graduated with a medical degree.
Pryce held an internship at Akron City Hospital and underwent orthopedic training at Akron General Medical Center and the Akron Children's Hospital. He began a private practice or orthopedic and hand surgery.
During his career, Pryce was appointed to two presidential roundtables, one under President Ronald Reagan's administration and another under President George H.W. Bush's administration. He received a U.S. patent for a footwear device that treats flat feet. He began the Marathon Shoe Company, which was acquired by the New Balance Corporation. Pryce is a published author of numerous medical articles.
In addition to his medical career, Pryce dabbles in woodworking, computers and amateur radio. According to his website, he is an instrument-rated private pilot with 1,700 hours logged and owns a 1967 Piper Cherokee Arrow, a four-seat aircraft. Pryce is author of "Anathema! America's War on Medicine," a book that describes the unraveling of the American health-care system and provides a straightforward plan to fix it.
Pryce provides a "Ten Reasons Why You Don't Want Obamacare" list on his campaign website. As senator, he promises to introduce a constitutional amendment that will clearly state, "No bill can be signed into law that has any amendment, earmark, attachment or other alteration that does not have something to do with the original intent of the law." He notes, "This will stop Pelosi's multi-million dollar alcohol treatment center in defense bills and bridges to nowhere in Alaska, all paid for, in part, by Ohio money. When this bill is introduced, you will see who is serious about cutting back spending and who is feeding lip service to their constituents on the campaign trail."
Pryce favors a consumption tax that will eliminate the progressive income tax and all other forms of federal taxation on U.S citizens. He calls the IRS a "fire breathing monster that threatens to destroy this country."
Bob Casey Jr.
19) Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Bob Casey has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. He previously served as Pennsylvania treasurer, and Pennsylvania auditor general. Casey has expressed support for Israel, the Second Amendment, overturning Roe v. Wade, increased funding for public education (opposes school vouchers), the death penalty and more federal funding for health coverage.
Casey has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, bailout/stimulus, restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell and continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities."
Casey has voted "no" on the following issues: barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and raising estate and death tax exemptions.
Tim Burns prides himself on being a businessman – not a politician. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and started a pharmacy software company in his basement with little more than his savings in 1992. Burns' company blossomed into a leader in the pharmacy software industry with more than 400 employees before it was acquired by a public company.
In his spare time, Burns has volunteered his time to help local flood victims, assisted with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort and directed a youth camp for special-needs children. He sits on the board of the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America and received the 2010 Jefferson Award for community service for his work with special-needs children.
Burns spoke at a local tea-party rally in 2009, an event that sparked his desire to run for Congress. In a district with only 29 percent Republican voters, Burns raised more than $2 million and lost the election by only 1 percent.
Burns said he wants to bring his business experience to the U.S. Senate "at a time when our country needs patriots with experience balancing budgets, making payroll, staying out of debt and creating jobs."
In his 2010 race for the U.S. House of Representatives, Burns said he doesn't believe in man-made global warming and would fight to repeal Obamacare. He was supportive of the tea-party movement and said America should increase its border security and make it harder for illegals to obtain taxpayer-funded services, jobs and benefits.
A nurse and owner of a home care and staffing health-care service, Laureen Cummings helped form a tea-party coalition in Lackawanna County. According to her campaign website, Cummings:
- will work to put the government back into the hands of We the People
- will not sit idly by and watch some progressive movement destroy the country
- will not sit idly by and watch them take away her freedom, her children and grandchildren's freedom or your freedom
- will fight with every fiber in her to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution so all citizens will continue to be free
Cummings believes that "any financial hardship that is brought upon the American people as a direct result of a politician's policy, an agency's rules, or a Supreme Court justice ruling must be considered prosecutorial misconduct." She believes oil drilling should be allowed both on and offshore and that the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished – along with the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the FCC and "any other nonessential agency that can be taken care of at state and local level."
Cummings advocates repeal of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank and reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. She supports Israel and bringing U.S. troops home from the Middle East. Finally, Cummings believes the Fair Tax is "the best solution to provide immediate economic relief/job creation, real transparency and an end to political corruption."
John Kensinger is a registered pharmacist who believes Obamacare must be repealed. "This bill has a provision for rationing of our health care by reducing benefits, increasing premiums or establishing waiting lists," he said. "Rationed health care is not what Americans deserve."
Kensinger proposes that Congress immediately pass a bill to freeze government spending to the annual rate of inflation. He also suggests an adjustment to the corporate tax code to expand exports and a 5 perecent reduction of the tax burden on families and businesses so there is money available for economic expansion and job creation.
He supports a prescription drug bill for older Americans and 12-year term limits in Congress. Kensinger opposes all federal funding of abortion both in the U.S. and abroad, Cap-and-Trade energy taxes, health-care and fuel taxes and wasteful government programs.
John Marc Scaringi graduated from Georgetown University and began working as a small-business manager in Pittsburgh.
John Marc Scaringi
According to his campaign website, "In the early '90s, Marc watched with great concern the leftward, big government direction the government was heading under Bill Clinton and the Democratic Congress and chose to join the fight to get the country back on track by volunteering on Rick Santorum's campaign for the U.S. Senate. Santorum beat the odds, defeating an incumbent senator, becoming part of the Republican revolution of 1994. Santorum asked Marc to join his Washington, D.C., staff, and Marc assisted the senator in pushing for such initiatives as a balanced-budget amendment and welfare reform."
In 1996, Scaringi helped lead Mike Fisher's successful campaign to become attorney general of Pennsylvania. Fisher appointed Scaringi to a senior staff position within his administration. While he worked in the attorney general's office, Scaringi attended law school at night at Widener University and earned his law degree in 2001.
After graduating from law school, Scaringi left politics and went to work as a small-town lawyer in Perry County. In 2005, he and his wife opened their own full-service law firm in Harrisburg, which has grown to three locations, employing 17 people.
Scaringi believes Washington must immediately cut federal spending, start paying down the national debt and pass a balanced-budget amendment. Also, he said the pro-growth policies are needed for the nation's small businesses, starting with cutting taxes, eliminating burdensome regulations and repealing Obamacare.
Scaringi supports the individual right to bear arms guaranteed in the Second Amendment, a term-limit amendment and Marcellus Shale extraction in Pennsylvania. He is pro-life, from conception to the moment of natural death.
Until recently, former tea-party leader and Republican Tom Smith was a registered Democrat. In 2010, he served as an Armstrong County Democratic committeeman. Smith told PoliticsPA.com that his registration as a Democrat was a carryover from the past, when many members of western Pennsylvania's working class were Democrats.
Smith still lives on the farm in Armstrong County where he grew up. After high school, he postponed college to help his family tend that farm and supplemented his income with a bus-driving job. After he married and started his family, Smith worked in a local surface coal mine. In 1989, he entered the coal business himself and mortgaged everything he had to build a better life for his family. Smith built a series of companies during tough economic times and, when he sold those companies in 2010, they were mining more than 1 million tons of coal and employed nearly 100 people.
On his campaign website, Smith explains that jobs are created by the free market, not politicians in Washington. He opposes tax increases and promises to fight to keep taxes down and reform the tax code, making it simple and fair.
Smith believes "the nation needs an energy policy that brings all options to the table to reduce costs and reduce our dependence on foreign sources. The Marcellus Shale, American oil and clean coal are tremendous opportunities to bring the cost of energy down and create jobs."
Smith promises to vote for repeal of Obamacare and oppose any attempt to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. He supports term limits and opposes amnesty for illegal aliens.
Col. John Vernon and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney
An avid distance runner, scuba diver and cyclist, John Vernon served as a military officer in the U.S. Army for more than 32 years, retiring at the rank of colonel. He also served as a Department of Defense civilian employee.
As a boy, Vernon learned that life on a farm required hard work, dedication and long hours. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard and later enrolled in the senior ROTC program at Rutgers University.
Vernon served in North Carolina, Italy, Georgia, New York, Bosnia, Japan and Iraq. Following his return from his second combat tour, Vernon was selected by the Army to serve as inspector general of the Maryland Army and Air National Guard, a position he held until he retired in 2009. During his Army career, Vernon was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, eight meritorious service medals, two Army commendation medals, four Army achievement medals, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze star, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal and the State of Maryland Distinguished Service Cross.
Vernon earned a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in liberal arts from Louisiana State University.
As a U.S. senator, Vernon pledges to "ensure that America remains strong, a leading and formidable world power and a leader in combating terrorism. He insists that America must stop selling its debt to foreign countries as a way to fund its overspending habits. To strengthen businesses and get the economy moving, Vernon advocates removal of burdensome regulations. He supports a balanced-budget amendment, elimination of costly and ineffective government agencies, reduction of taxes on both businesses and individuals and replacement of the tax system with a program that's "both flatter and more fair to all citizens."
On energy, Vernon supports restructuring of the U.S. Department of Energy and opening up oil drilling operations in Alaska, the Continental Shelf and the Midwest. He also argues that Pennsylvania has enormous energy opportunities with the Marcellus Shale Program and natural gas.
On education, Vernon believes authority must be returned to the states to dictate curricula, provide oversight, allocate resources, facilitate innovation and implement cost-effective measures.
Vernon's campaign website states:
It has been known for ages that families with strong values produce self-reliant, principled citizens who truly "ask not" what their country can do for them, but rather strive to become productive, hard-working countrymen. My vision is to revive the core values of service, respect, integrity, and hard work in all our families so that our children grow up with a proper sense of discipline, self-reliance and duty to God and country. Strong families buld a strong nation.
David Christian is his dress uniform.
One of the most decorated officers in the Vietnam War, David Christian saw his share of challenges when he was abandoned by his father, who left his mother, an aide to Gen. MacArthur during World War II, to raise four children on her own. His mother, Dorothy Christian, worked hard to feed her children, even as she was forced to rely on public assistance to do so.
She inspired Christian to join the service. At the tender age of 17, Christian enlisted in the airborne/infantry of the U.S. Army with his mother's permission. He advanced from private E-1 to sergeant E-5 in an astounding eight months. He was accepted to Officers Candidate School and was promoted to become one of the youngest captains in U.S. Army history at the age of 18.
As a young soldier in Vietnam, he took on many roles in the military, serving in both conventional and unconventional warfare in his airborne unit, in a special-forces unit, with the 75th Rangers' Long Range Recon Patrol and in the First Infantry Division as a combat recon platoon leader. His actions on the battlefield earned him two nominations for the Medal of Honor. Christian also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, two silver stars, the bronze star, the Air Medal for 25 combat assaults into "hot" landing zones, two Vietnamese Crosses for Gallantry and a Combat Infantry Badge.
David Christian with President Ronald Reagan
In Vietnam, Christian took a machine-gun hit across the chest, was stabbed, burned by napalm on more than 40 percent of his body and suffered serious shrapnel injuries from an improvised explosive device that left his right hand paralyzed. After years of physical rehabilitation, Christian learned to walk with a cane and finally began training for a marathon. While running was difficult, Christian fought through the pain and completed the 26+ mile course of the Skylon International Marathon, clocking in at 4 hours and 36 minutes.
Christian graduated from Villanova University and attended law school at Rutgers University. He was elected national commander of the Legion of Valor in 1978 and now holds a lifetime board of director's position. Christian was a founding vice president of the Council of Vietnam Veterans and founder of the United Vietnam Veterans Organization.
During President Ronald Reagan's administration, Christian served as assistant state director of the U.S. Department of Labor-Veterans Employment. He was a Fox News military analyst from 2002-2003.
On his campaign website, Christian explains: "New jobs and prosperity will never return to this country unless the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington untie the hands of job creators from the cobwebs of red tape and pessimism. ... America doesn't need politicians who will apologize for her. America doesn't need yet another predictable speech. And right now, the last thing America needs is another cheerleader for President Obama in the U.S. Senate. ... America needs leaders."
Entrepreneur Steve Welch earned a mechanical engineering degree from Penn State University. In 2001, he started Mitos, a company that developed several patents that transformed the biological drug and vaccine inustries. After he sold Mitos, Welch co-founded DreamIt Ventures, a business accelerator model featured in Forbes, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal as a model for launching technology companies. The company is successfully running programs in Philadelphia and New York. Welch founded education technology company KinderTown in 2011.
Welch registered as a Democrat in 2006 and said he voted for President Obama in the 2008 primary. He switched to Republican in 2009 and claims to have voted for McCain in the general election. He briefly ran for Congress in 2010 but later withdrew.
To get the economy back on track and creating jobs, Welch proposes: 1) cut and cap spending and balance the budget, 2) simplify the tax code and reduce rates, 3) eliminate job-killing regulations, 4) provide an energy policy that leads to energy independence and 5) repeal Obamacare.
Welch believes government should leave families alone and allow them to choose their own schools for their children, choose their own doctors without government interference and start businesses without undue government burdens. He is pro-life and opposes taxpayer funding of abortions. Welch supports term limits in Congress, school choice and the Second Amendment right to bear arms and believes marriage is between one man and one woman.
20) Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Sheldon Whitehouse has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. He previously served as U.S. attorney and state attorney general for Rhode Island. Whitehouse has expressed support for gun control, abortion and increased federal funding for health coverage.
He has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, bailout/stimulus, homosexual marriage, $25 billion in funding to renovate elementary schools, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, raising Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Whitehouse has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, raising the estate and death tax exemptions and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Eight grandfathers ago, Barry Hinckley's forebear, Col. James Barrett, commanded the Minutemen of Concord and fired one of the first shots at the advancing British across the North Bridge.
Hinckley is a lifelong New Englander from a family of boat builders. He has 20 years of entrepreneurial experience. His company, Bullhorn Software, employs 150 people and earns more than $25 million in revenue. Hinckley was named one of Boston's "40 under 40" successful businessmen and was a finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009.
He believes the government must get out of the way of job creators, balance the federal budget, repeal and replace the tax code with a Fair Tax and declare war on its debts and deficit. He promises to fight for repeal of Obamacare, replacing it with interstate insurance option and competition, small business health-care pooling and real tort reform. Hinckley supports term limits and promises to limit his own political career in the Senate to two terms.
Hinkley also supports significant limits on international welfare, protection of the Social Security Trust Fund, applying Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to the federal government, making every law applicable to members of Congress and enforcing a plain English law standard so every law will be written in terms that an average high-school graduate can comprehend.
According to Hinckley's plan, Mideast oil-producing companies should pay a fee to the U.S. military for keeping the Persian Gulf open for the oil business. He also proposes an overhaul of the Transportation Security Administration, making interstate travel faster and easier for Americans. Hinckley advocates repeal of congressional pensions and exclusive health-care plans, which he would replace with plans that are available to the rest of Americans. Hinckley promises to run his Senate office as a service center, including a hotline guaranteeing constituents a call back within two days. He supports school choice and the Second Amendment right to bear arms and opposes Cap and Trade.
On the issue of abortion, Hinkley explains, "I believe that values are lived, not legislated. If I were the father of an unborn child, I would urge my partner to NOT terminate the pregnancy under any circumstance. However, I respect and support a woman's right to make this choice for herself and I support existing Rhode Island law on this issue."
21) Bernie Sanders, Indep.-Vt. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Bernie Sanders has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007.
He has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, stimulus/bailout, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, forbidding human cloning for reproduction, replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, moratorium on offshore oil drilling, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, raising Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Sanders has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, banning federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime, banning partial-birth abortion, constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, making the Patriot Act permanent, banning gay adoptions in D.C., ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions, banning the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, permitting new oil refineries, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, reforming the U.N. by restricting U.S. funding, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, banning physician-assisted suicide, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, building a fence along the Mexican border, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and raising the death and estate tax exemption.
Independent (U.S. Marijuana Party):
Cris Ericson of the U.S. Marijuana Party appears to be a supporter of the "Occupy" protest movement. Her campaign website states, "Occupy the 2012 political race and vote for a poor candidate." Her website offers no biographical information and no information about her positions on popular political issues.
22) Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Maria Cantwell has served in the U.S. Senate since 2001. She previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995. Cantwell has expressed support for Roe v. Wade, stricter sentencing for hate crimes, more federal funding for health coverage and same-sex domestic partner benefits. She opposes the death penalty, school vouchers, an absolute right to gun ownership, Social Security privatization and organized prayer in public schools.
Cantwell has voted "yes" on the following issues: Obamacare, stimulus/bailouts, expanding embryonic stem cell research, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, protecting middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, pay raise for Congress, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, reauthorizing the Patriot Act, habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Cantwell has voted "no" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions, criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime, banning partial birth abortions, constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, building a fence along the Mexican border, increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and permanently repealing the "death tax."
Michael Baumgartner (second from right) works overseas
By the age of 35, Michael Baumgartner had visited more than 70 countries. In 1994, he was one of 10 high-school students in the nation awarded a Kerr Scholarship from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, NCUSAR, to spend a summer studying culture and politics in Jordan and Syria. In 1999, NCUSAR awarded him a Kuwait Study Scholarship.
Baumgartner graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor's degree in economics and minors in math and French. While in college, he worked as a forestry sciences aide, helping conduct fire ecosystem research with the U.S. Forest Service. After graduating, he spent one year volunteering with a group of Jesuit priests in Beira, Mozambique, helping to teach university students, run social programs for children and assist the Jesuits in their work with the mentally ill.
Baumgartner earned a master of public administration in international development from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. He also taught economics at Harvard College as a teaching fellow. After Sept. 11, 2001, he was motivated to use his economics training in the Middle East, so he began working as an economic development adviser in the Office of the Crown Prince of Dubai. From 2005-2006, he advised several Saudi business groups before retrurning to the U.S. to consult mining company Hecla on challenges facing its gold mine in Venezuela.
From May 2007 to June 2008, he worked as an economics officer in the Office of Joint Strategic Planning & Assessment at the U.S. embassy in Iraq. In 2009, he worked as an embedded U.S. adviser on a State Department-funded program supporting an Afghanistan counternarcotics team in the southern province of Helmand, home to more than 60 percent of the world's ilicit opium and a hotbed of Taliban insurgents. He has advised the U.S. military on economics and the Middle East.
Baumgartner won a 2010 campaign for Washington state Senate against a well-funded incumbent in the most expensive state legislative political election in Washington history.
Baumgartner supports a balanced budget and believes Obamacare must be replaced with a system that allows more competition and flexibility for states. He called Social Security and Medicare "vital programs to ensure every American has a measure of comfort in their retirement years," noting that we must ensure that we do not betray promises made to our parents and grandparents while reforming these programs. Baumgartner said it is time to end the wars and adopt smarter foreign policy.
23) Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Joe Manchin has served in the U.S. Senate since 2010, when he won a special election in November to fill the seat of the late Robert Byrd. He previously served as West Virginia governor from 2005 to 2010. Manchin has expressed support for gun rights and banning open homosexuals in the military. He has voted "yes" on the following issues: constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases and extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps.
There are no challengers to Joe Manchin's bid at this time.
24) Jon Kyl, R-Az. – retiring
As fifth-generation Arizonan, Wil Cardon excelled as an all-state wide receiver on the football team at Mountain View High School in Mesa. Brigham Young University recruited him, and he later transferred and graduated from Stanford University. Cardon earned a master of business administration from Harvard Business School. After graduation, he returned to Arizona to take over the family business, The Cardon Group, founded in 1934 by Cardon's grandfather. Cardon has spent the last 15 years there, "diversifying the business, creating jobs, investing in products and properties and helping start-up companies succeed."
Cardon is also involved in several charitable organizations, including the Banner Health Foundation in Phoenix. Banner Health recently renamed its children's hospital The Cardon Children's Medical Center after Cardon helped to provide 248 pediatric beds and six operating rooms.
Cardon's prescription for creating jobs and fostering economic growth includes lower taxes, less regulation, opening foreign markets to U.S. products, banning earmarks and "free markets where government ensures a level playing field for all industries and where career politicians get out of the way so job creators can do what they do best: create jobs."
He believes Washington has "failed miserably" when it comes to U.S. border security. "While the federal government refuses to protect our borders, Arizona taxpayers continue to pay the price in the form of increased crime and drugs in our communities," he said. "To have real, lasting immigration reforms, we must secure our borders and have an immigration system that makes sense. When elected, I will work with our local sheriffs and law enforcement agencies to ensure that fighting illegal immigration and securing our border is a top priority." Cardon said he is a strong supporter of legal immigration, but that it must be done through proper channels, and not through amnesty.
Cardon also supports reduction of the size of government, making it more efficient and less expensive for taxpayers. He called Obamacare unconstitutional and said it must be immediately repealed. He said he is a "strongly pro-life" social conservative who believes in traditional marriage and opposes all efforts to redefine it. Cardon said he is in favor of the Marriage Protection Act.
Jeff Flake –
A U.S. representative from Arizona since 2001, Jeff Flake has been known to his district as an outspoken critic of earmarks. Robert Novak once described him as "an insistent reformer" and said the Republican Party "deplores Flake for discussing the GOP affinity for pork in public."
In 2004, President George W. Bush unveiled an immigration policy proposal based on Flake's bill promoting a guest worker visa to allow immigrants to work legally in the U.S. During a Cato Institute policy forum, Flake said, "It's simply not feasible to seal the border. … [E]ven if we could seal the border, at least 40 percent of those who are here illegally first entered the country illegally. … Our bill is based on the notion that you match willing employers with willing workers."
Flake voted for renewal of the Patriot Act and for repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which banned openly homosexual members from service.
The Arizona Republican pledged during his first campaign for Congress in 2000 that if elected, he would serve only three terms. But he later backed away from that promise, saying, "It was a mistake to limit my own terms" and that the movement to limit congressional terms "just petered out."
Flake is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After graduating from high school, he served as a Mormon missionary to Zimbabwe and South Africa in the 1980s.
Bryan Hackbarth, former mayor of Youngtown, Az., owns and operates a cleaning contracting business with his wife. According to his campaign website, he is concerned that the nation's lending institutions are "preventing small businesses from being allowed to compete fairly in the marketplace."
Hackbarth, who said he is married to a legal immigrant, is also a proponent of secure borders.
"Yes, it took awhile – nine years – but in March of 2008, my wife proudly became a United States citizen," he wrote. "The rules and laws are there to protect our citizens and future citizens by ensuring that they not only know the laws of the land and their rights as members of this great country, but have demonstrated their dedication to it. Citizenship is a privilege and one we should treat with care."
As for Obama's health plan, Hackbarth stated: "Obamacare is not good for this country, and we are seeing major issues with it already. It needs to be completely repealed. … I believe competition across state lines should be made available on these health care plans so that every citizen can find the best and most affordable plan for their family."
Hackbarth, a Christian, said he believes qualifications "are not enough to make a man worthy to be elected to the Senate."
"He can see that we are falling away from what our country was founded on," his website states. "The values and morals we once followed and believed in are no longer the guiding principles of our country. Bryan is determined, if elected, to work to bring them back."
Hackbarth supports Social Security reform and tax credits to keep businesses in the U.S.
Once a worker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, where he was employed by a private specialist firm, Doug McKee earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Southern Connecticut State University. He traded his Wall Street suit for work boots and moved to Arizona in 1991, where he began a career in the construction industry.
In 1994, McKee launched Grand Canyon Development, a general contracting firm that builds custom riverfront homes along the banks of the Colorado River. He has spent 30 years in the private sector.
As senator, McKee promises to:
- vote yes for a balanced-budget amendment
- vote no on raising the debt ceiling until spending is under control and a plan to reduce debt is securely in place
- propose legislation that dedicates funds specifically for paying down the principle of our national debt without raising taxes
- vote no on funding pet projects
- propose legislation similar to the Enumerated Powers Act that would require Congress to cite the provisions in the Constitution that give it the power to pass legislation
On immigration policy, Mckee opposes amnesty programs and argues, "[F]or every good person that is given amnesty, there [is] a handful of drug dealers and human traffickers who will be given entrance into our neighborhoods, schools and workplaces at the same time. We all talk about the wars that we fight overseas and the loss of life and quality of life as a result of those wars, but we rarely recognize the fact that we have a 'war' right here at home as well. In this 'war at home,' the number of American lives that are lost or destroyed far exceeds the casualties of both current wars overseas combined."
McKee recommends completing the fence, adding manpower along the wall to ensure the border isn't breached, encouraging the state to take a leading role in enforcing existing laws that prohibit businesses from hiring illegals and make it more difficult for illegals to access educational, social welfare and medical programs. He also advocates streamlining the current naturalization process, developing programs through which the military can train along the U.S. borders, establishing a colunteer civilian air patrol to report suspicious activity to authorities and supporting efforts of immigration officers by providing them with infrared technologies so they can detect people being smuggled across borders.
On energy, McKee opposes Cap and Trade and supports tapping reserves available on the North American continent and Outer Continental Shelf, drilling and mining responsibly for reserves and reopening an industry that will promote jobs and lower the costs of energy and fuels.
Mckee is a supporter of the Second Amendment. He promises to vote to repeal Obamacare and vote no on any legislation that attempts to nationalize health care. He proposes limits for medical lawsuit payouts, tort reform, allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines, raising limits on health savings accounts, eliminating Medicare/Medicaid fraud and fighting to keep Medicare/Medicaid alive and accessible for future generations. On education, McKee supports school choice; the ability to hire, pay and fire teachers based on performance; and returning powers of education to state and local levels. He also advocates decreasing high-end corporate tax rates to return jobs to America and eliminating capital gains taxes and the estate tax. McKee promises to vote against legislation that would raise taxes in Americans.
Ian Gilyeat harvesting pineapples
A former maintenance worker at a shopping mall and seasonal laborer who planted pineapples in Hawaii for Dole Corporation, Ian Gilyeat attended Brigham Young University and now heads a management consulting firm and advises Arizona businesses. He has managed operations in the U.S., Canada, England and Japan.
Gilyeat said he believes America must return to basic principles of limited government, individual freedom and self-reliance. He supports overhauling the tax code, a flat tax, stopping Cap and Trade, strengthening the dollar by stopping the Treasury presses and limiting new debt issues, balancing the budget, cutting government programs and permanently eliminating capital gains and death taxes.
On health care, Gilyeat opposes: Obamacare as it was passed, a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, a "public option" and government-funded or government-subsidized abortion. He believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned; however, he supports a woman's right to abortion in cases where the mother's life is at risk. "I defend her ability and right to make this decision even though I could never recommend abortion as a solution to pregnancy," he explained.
On immigration policy, Gilyeat supports securing the border, streamlining the immigration process, a guest worker program that doesn't guarantee citizenship and eliminating so-called "birthright citizenship."
"As an Independent candidate, I seek common ground without compromising principles," Gilyeat wrote on his campaign website. "This approach to government will break down traditional party politics and grease the skids toward good government – government that is limited, practical and adheres to the first line of that great constitutional document. My allegiance is to the principles and values found in the Constitution."
Kay Bailey Hutchison
25) Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas – retiring
Owner of two funeral homes and small cemetaries in Magnolia and Spring, Texas, Glenn Addison has been a small-business owner since he was 26. He has also served 15 years on the Magnolia ISD school board.
Addison pledges to serve only six years and go back to his current job, without signing up for the lavish pension or health care members of the U.S. Senate have provided themselves.
Addison's campaign is centered around his message of restoring the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land, beginning by repealing destructive federal legislation and eliminating unconstitutional departments and agencies. He believes Obamacare must be repealed and Americans should be given tax incentives to purchase their own health insurance. "The massive numbers of new governmental panels, programs and agencies it authorizes will cause much frustration for the American people and lead to government control of health-related matters that should be between an individual and their physician," he said.
On government spending. Addison proposes:
- Freeze, immediately, all federal spending, including employee promotions to higher pay grades, defense and all entitlements.
- Convert all entitlement programs to a plan in which budgeted spending, to be determined by a percentage of revenue received, is divided among those who qualify for that particular program
- Convert Medicare, which has its own dedicated revenue source from payroll taxes and enrollee premiums, to a plan where revenue is divided among those eligible for coverage. Enrollees would tell Medicare which health insurance company they want revenue directed to and would have the option of purchasing a supplemental plan for anything not covered by the main plan.
- Set an automatic "trigger" in place that would require any supplemental appropriations approved by Congress to come out of the previously approved federal budget, thereby automatically reducing funding for all other federal programs by a pro-rated amount.
Addison is a proponent of local control of public school systems. He proposes major changes in the tax code, repealing large numbers of "insane" regulations and working toward phasing out the income tax altogether. He is pro-life, supports increased border security and believes the United States must stop being "the world's problem solver."
"There's a new kid on the block running for U.S. Senate," Andrew Castanuela's campaign website states. "He doesn't hold the title of doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. He is not the 'political fat cat' we all love to hate. He is not up to his elbows in money and running for a title. ... Cas has joined the race only because, like most of us, he is tired of too much government and no common sense in fiscal spending or the protection of American morals and character."
Castanuela is a retired Air Force program director who was deployed to Thailand, Korea and the United Arab Emirates. He currently works with Central Texas mental health/mental retardation substance abuse youth services. He earned a bachelor's degree in social psychology from Park University and has pursued continuing medical education at Rutgers University, Kansas State University, Harvard Medical and the University of New Mexico.
Among numerous defense ideas, Castanuela proposes a 15 percent increase in recruitment and employment of military personnel in all branches of services, redeployment of short-ranged ballistic missiles into the Pacific, South American and European theaters, a substantial increase in production of naval carriers to operate as mobile bases and the development of space craft capable of launching nuclear missiles.
Castanuela supports drilling for oil and natural gas in ANWAR, offshore and in the continental U.S.; repealing NAFTA and withdrawing from the World Trade Organization; restructuring the tax system to a flat tax; abolishing the Federal Reserve; imposing term limits in Congress; and eliminating taxes on real estate, food, medication, dividends, interest, capital gains, 401K plans, Social Security, estates, imports and exports. He advocates repeal of Obamacare and supports life and the Second Amendment.
Curt Cleaver describes himself as a godly man, family man and businessman who is "a man of principles, with a heart to see our nation return to God." He believes answers to the nation's problems can be found if Americans seek God first and that "godly men, working together, through the power of Jesus Christ, can bring hope and restoration to our nation."
Cleaver began his career in the hotel industry as a van driver for a hotel chain, and he worked his way up to national sales manager. He then launched his own business, building a successful hotel sales, consulting and management company. Cleaver enjoys spending time with his family and working in the yard together. He has a great appreciation for cars and often attends car shows with his boys.
Cleaver believes America must return to the biblical principles upon which the nation was founded. His positions on political issues are as follows:
- limited government, with a conservative interpretation of the Constitution
- eliminate excessive spending on federal programs
- balance the budget
- welfare reform with a shift to personal and community responsibility
- protect Social Security benefits
- care for U.S. veterans
- health-care reform without socialized medicine
- tax reform with a fair or flat tax
- job creation and incentives to create small businesses
- promote free enterprise
- reduce dependency on foreign oil
- eliminate federal earmarks
- defend and protect unalienable right to life
- defend and protect freedom of religion
- return to Christian and godly values in textbooks, pledges and schools
- return education system to states and communites
- preserve sanctity of marriage
- defend and protect right to bear arms
- strongly enforce borders
- strong military and defense
- protect Israel, at any cost
Ted Cruz –
The son of a poor Cuban immigrant who had $100 sewn into his underwear when he came to Austin, Ted Cruz served as the solicitor general of Texas from 2003-2008. He was the youngest solicitor general in the nation, the longest serving solicitor general in Texas and the first Hispanic solicitor general in Texas. He has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and presented 40 oral arguments, including nine before the Supreme Court.
National Review described Cruz as "a Republican rising star in Texas" and "a great Reaganite hope." American Lawyer magazine named him one of the 50 best litigators under 45 in America.
Cruz is currently a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Houston. He taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law from 2004-2009.
Before becoming solicitor general, Cruz held the following positions: director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice and domestic policy adviser for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. Cruz also clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the U.S. Supreme Court and was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for the chief justice.
Cruz studied at Princeton University and Harvard University, where he served as primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy and founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
On his campaign website, Cruz explains: "The election of a president as radical as Barack Obama resoundingly demonstrated the depressing scarcity of principled conservative leaders who can communicate common-sense ideas in a way that resonates with the American people. We need to rediscover the leadership embodied by President Reagan and the values that have kept our nation strong, including faith, family, limited government, individual responsibility and expanding opportunity for every American."
Cruz authored, "Reclaiming the Constitution: Toward an Agenda for State Action," which outlines a national strategy for states to fight excessive government regulation and preserve economic freedom. He spearheaded a leading proposal to defeat Obamacare and met with state legislators across the nation to map out a comprehensive strategy to rein in the federal government. Cruz also sued the federal government on behalf of Texas and four other states to strike down portions of the Medicare Prescription Drug program as an unconstitutional intrusion in the states' sovereign authority. He also defended U.S. sovereignty when he represented Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court in Medellin v. Texas, which upheld U.S. sovereignty and held that the World Court cannot bind the U.S. justice system and the president cannot order state courts to obey the World Court.
Among other cases, Cruz also successfully defended the constitutionality of the Texas Ten Commandments monument before the U.S. Supreme Court. He authored a Supreme Court brief for all 50 states successfully defending the Pledge of Allegiance and preserving the words "under God." Cruz successfully defended the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and authored a brief on behalf of 31 states supporting the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He has worked to increase penalties for felons who enter the country illegally and to fight against President Obama's moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Cruz represented more than 3 million veterans before the U.S. Supreme Court in Salazar v. Buono, defending the constitutionality of the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial. He has supported the federal Defense of Marriage Act and successfully defended the constitutionality of a Texas law that allowed the state to fully monitor sexual predators determined to threaten children. He argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of nine states in Kennedy v. Louisiana in support of capital punishment for the very worst child rapists.
David Dewhurst and family
A businessman, rancher, veteran and community leader, David Dewhurst is the 41st lieutenant governor or Texas, serving under Gov. Rick Perry. Dewhurst helped pass the largest tax cut in state history, balance five state budgets and maintain a reserve of more than $6 billion in Texas' Rainy Day Fund. In 1998, he became the first Republican since Reconstruction to be elected Texas land commissioner.
During the Cold War, Dewhurst served in the U.S. Air Force, the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. State Department. In the 1980s, he began his own company but lost nearly everything when the oil and gas and real-estate markets suffered. He gradually built back all he had lost and more.
Dewhurst played basketball while he attended the University of Arizona. In 2009, he was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Dewhurst has balanced every budget without raising taxes, cut $15.2 billion in state spending and cut taxes for 40,000 small-business owners. Under his leadership, Texas became home to more Fortune 1000 companies than any other state in the nation, and Texas remains America's top exporting state. Dewhurst has passed legislation increasing funding for border security by $230 million.
He has passed a sonogram bill, requiring women wanting abortions to view a sonogram and wait for 24 hours before ending the life of the baby. Dewhurst also passed a ban on the use of state taxes to fund abortion facilities and a bill defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. He has passed landmark tort reform legislation and helped to protect Texans' Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert
Before his 2007 election as mayor of Dallas, Tom Leppert led national and international companies in the areas of construction, financial services and real estate. He served as CEO of The Turner Corporation, the nation's largest general building company, creating thousands of new jobs during his tenure.
Leppert worked his way through college and earned a degree from Claremont McKenna College and a master of business administration from Harvard Business School. He served under President Ronald Reagan as a White House fellow in the Treasury Department and the White House.
In the Senate, Leppert promises to ask the following question every time he considers a new idea or a new piece of legislation: "Does this reduce the influence of Washington on our families and businesses?" He said, if the answer is no, he won't even consider the legislation.
Leppert offers "The Leppert Jobs Plan" on his website. He also argues that the federal government must rein in spending and make real cuts to discretionary spending, rolling it back to 2008 levels and freezing it there until we get our debt under control. He supports a balanced-budget amendment and a plan to force the federal government to switch to zero-based budgeting, where government departments will be forced to justify all expenditures. Leppert said he opposes and would have voted against the TARP legislation and federal bailouts passed by Congress. He supports extending the Bush tax cuts permanently and cutting corporate tax rates, and he pledges to vote against any new taxes.
Leppert opposes "any form of amnesty," abortion and cap and trade. He promises to vote to repeal Obamacare and work to replace it with market-based solutions. He supports Americans' right to bear arms, traditional marriage and the death penalty.
Lela Pittenger was born in Lubbock to an agriculture family. She lived throughout the Panhandle and West Texas. Pittenger attended Austin College and worked several jobs, including a position as an intern in the school's financial aid office. She later worked there as an admissions counselor.
Pittenger moved to Dallas with her husband and pursued her master's degree in dispute resolution from Southern Methodist University. She moved again to Texas Hill Country to care for her husband's ailing grandmother. Pittenger commuted to Dallas on a weekly basis and finished her master's degree in 2007. She is now a full-time caregiver while also serving as a weekly volunteer for The Friends Foundation, volunteering in her church and teaching Bible studies. She became a certified ombudsman and a volunteer tax preparer for her community.
She became active in politics in Hays County and attended all of the 2008 Republican conventions, including a rare experience at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn. As her campaign website explains, Pittenger became increasingly alarmed at the direction of the nation and is "passionate about doing her part to return our nation to its roots of Judeo-Christian values and constitutional government."
Pittenger said Texans are tired of the same-old-politicans and are excited by the matchless perspective she brings to the table. "They are usually surprised to hear that I am a first-time office seeker and do not have a team of political operatives pulling the strings just off-stage," she said.
She encourages voters to elect a candidate who will lead with humility, "setting aside their own ego for the sake of saving our nation." Pittenger said her campaign has been run on honest, Christian principles, and she is not interested in a career in politics. "Serving Texas and my country are my goals," she said. "I want to see leaders promoting the American people instead of themselves."
"I am proud of my pro-life stance. I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a caregiver to an infant and senior citizen at the same time. I am proud to share 'normal' American life, with its fears and joys, too. The qualities I have described above are greatly underrepresented by the political status quo. I am conservative like other Republicans in this race but bring to the table many experiences and values they cannot."
As a senator, Pittenger vows to require proposed legislation to explain its constitutional authority, expect every Senate amendment to be germane to the bill, work for appointment of clearly constructionalist judges who don't legislate from the bench, fight massive government encroachment and refuse to vote for legislation that is not given proper time for consideration and debate.
She supports the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms and opposes the U.N. Small Arms Treaty. Pittenger supports domestic oil drilling, ending energy subsidies, making clean coal plants operational, wisely using lands for wind, solar and hydroelectric sources. On immigration, she advocates ending federal funds for sanctuary cities and increasing and empowering border agents. On education, she would seek to abolish the Department of Education, keep education money inside local districts, encourage schools to base teacher and administrator salaries on performance and end federal subsidies on higher education campuses.
Pittenger favors a switch to the Flat Tax or Fair Tax, abolishing the death tax, ending the progressive nature of the tax code, ending taxes on capital gains and dividends and cutting corporate tax rates to 15 percent. When it comes to tax violations, she believes the burden of proof must fall on the Internal Revenue Service – not U.S. citizens. She advocates an end to the U.S. role in the World Bank, reduced role and funding in the U.N., ending the "nation-building" currently expected of America and repealing executive orders allowing for U.N. and Agenda 21 power over our nation.
She is also calling for an end to taxpayer-funded bailouts, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Pittenger said she will refuse to vote "yes" on raising the debt ceiling or on continuing resolutions for government spending. She will vote for repeal of Obamacare and a requirement that all voters in federal elections must present a photo ID.
Chris Tina Foxx Bruce was born a man and is now a "male-to-female" transgender bodybuilder and personal trainer from Dallas who is running for U.S. senator as an independent candidate. Bruce asks voters to vote for him in a "diva contest" so he can use his winnings to pay for his campaign. Bruce is founder of Be Bold Be Proud, a nonprofit "transgender equality" organization and a freelance writer.
Bruce divorced his wife in 2007 and began hormonal therapy in 2008. He completed his surgical transformation with breast implants and facial surgery in 2009. He has re-entered the world of competitive bodybuilding – this time as a female competitor. Bruce's former wife told the Dallas Voice she is not supportive and "hates" her ex's new life. They have two children together, ages 12 and 8.
On his website, Bruce has accused Abraham Lincoln of "treason" and posted entries favoring the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Jon Roland grew up in Seguin, Texas, and earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago. He has completed some graduate work in computer science. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an air-traffic control officer.
Roland has been a real-estate investor and worked as a computer professional before he retired. He is founder and president of the Constitution Society and has been the Texas Libertarian Party nominee for Texas attorney general in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 elections. Roland has drafted three sets of amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
As senator, Roland would seek to repeal statutes on firearms and drug control, reform judicial procedures and insist that all criminal trials be by jury. He would pursue continuing congressional investigations of compliance with the constitutional requirement that all judicial officers be required to take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
Roland proposes a requirement that officials disclose the activities and the finances of their offices, and he opposes suspension of the rules to allow bills to be submitted to a vote without complete reading. He believes grand juries should be empowered to decide whether officials have official immunity for an act and decide whether federal or state courts have jurisdiction over criminal charges against federal agents or officials.
Roland supports replacement of the federal income tax with a purchase tax and repeal statutes making anything but gold and silver coin legal tender on state territory. He would also "seek to revive the constitutional militia system envisioned by the founders, involving the organizing and training of the entire population to defend their communities against threats, including threats from terrorism, foreign invasion, insurrection, crime and disasters and to secure national borders against unlawful entry."
He concludes, "Voters can expect that I would play a role in the U.S. Senate similar to that of Dr. Ron Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives, with perhaps more of a focus on review of the constitutionality of legislation proposed by other members."
Stanley Garza has formed an exploratory committee and will soon make the final decision about whether to run for U.S. Senate. On his website, he states, "I for one have grown very weary of 'country club politics.'"
He cites statistics from OpenSecrets.org stating that 1 percent of all Americans are millionaires and between 40 and 50 percent of the members in Congress are part of that group. Garza explains that lawmakers don't have to worry about the same economic pressures Americans face. "Trust me. They are way out of touch," he said.
Garza opposes earmarks and argues that government officials should be responsive to the people who elect them rather than focusing on political payback. He has served as an election judge and precinct chairman. In 2008, he ran for tax assessor/collector in San Jacinto County as a Republican. He has said border-control legislation caused him to switch parties. According to Electful.com, Garza has worked for UPS for 17 years and served in the military. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston.
Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, served in the Army as a lieutenant general. He graduated from Texas A&M University in Kingsville, Texas, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1973. Sanchez attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
He was assigned to Fort Knox, Ky.; Frankfurt, Germany; Fort Benning, Ga.; and deployed his battalion to combat for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Kuwait and Iraq. He served as an investigator in the Office of the Inspector General Agency in Washington, D.C. Sanchez assumed command of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, at Fort Riley, Kan. He was later stationed in Panama, where he served as deputy chief of staff. Sanchez was assistant division commander in Schwienfurt, Germany. In 1999, he became commander of the Multi-National Brigade (East) in Kosovo. He continued to serve in Heidelberg, Germany; Wiesbaden, Germany and Iraq. In Germany, Sanchez was the longest serving corps commander in V Corps history.
Sanchez supports the DREAM Act and illegal-alien amnesty, stating, "Any comprehensive solution must incorporate a path to citizenship for the large number of illegal immigrants who are currently residing in the United States. Identification, paying taxes, learning English and processing through the immigration system, possibly with some penalties, should be key components of a proposed solution. However, Sanchez notes that America "simply cannot provide illegal immigrants with blanket access to all of the services and benefits that are afforded to our citizens."
On his website, Sanchez said he supports job creation through tax cuts, incentives and investments in small businesses. He believes America must bring manufacturing back through investment in a clean-energy economy and by providing tax credits to spark manufacturing of windmills, solar panels and electric cars. Sanchez also stated, "Our government must also support unemployment benefits, improve wages and working conditions and recognize the value of trade with our neighbor, Mexico, and the rest of the world."
Sanchez argues for preservation of Social Security and Medicare and supports teachers' unions and public schooling. He said, "We must raise teacher salaries, address teacher shortages, and provide teachers with all the support and resources they require."
On so-called climate change, he warns, "[I]t is clear that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere by human activity. It is a fact that the earth's polar ice caps are melting, that the Greenland ice sheet is melting, that the world's glaciers are melting and retreating at staggering rates, that ocean temperatures are rising, and that there is much more moisture in the atmosphere. ... My Christian value system tells me that we have a responsibility to be good shepherds of the earth. ... America should work to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, invest in cleaner energy solutions, such as natural gas, wind, solar, and nuclear power, and pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation. ... The future of our fragile earth depends on it."
Sanchez said he is a gun owner and hunter and supports the right of citizens to own guns to protect their homes. He also said "health care is an American right," and "the United States has a responsibility to provide an equitable system where every citizen has access to a basic level of affordable care."
He applauded repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open homosexuals serving and supports "gay civil unions/civil marriage" with all legal guarantees associated with such unions. He also supports homosexual adoption and the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. He supports abortion but does not agree with the use of federal tax dollars for abortion services. Sanchez advocates term limits for members of Congress.
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26) Richard Lugar, R-Ind. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Richard Lugar has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997. He previously served as mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976. Lugar has expressed support for free trade, gun ownership, the death penalty, Social Security privatization, expanding the armed forces and prayer in public schools. He opposes abortion, progressive taxation and increased federal funding for health coverage.
Lugar has voted "yes" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, expanding embryonic stem cell research, banning partial birth abortions, maintaining ban on military abortions, balanced-budget constitutional amendment, constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds, banning the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, pay raise for Congress, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's wiretaps, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," building a fence along the Mexican border, allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security, raising the death and estate tax exemptions, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Lugar has voted "no" on the following issues: Obamacare, banning federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, banning human cloning, additional $825 billion for economic "stimulus" package, $60 billion "stimulus" package, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers and increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million.
Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock was elected to the position in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, leading the GOP ticket with more than 62 percent of the vote.
Mourdock earned his master's degree in geology from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and worked as a geologist for AMAX Coal Company, where he was promoted to surface mine geology project coordinator. From 1979 to 1984, he worked as a geologist for Standard Oil Company of Ohio. In 1984, Mourdock took a position with Koester Companies in Evansville, Ind. He was vice president of Koester's coal subsidiary, and he became president of business development for the parent company. In 2000, Mourdock launched an environmental consulting business.
Mourdock's website notes that the candidate is known nationwide for "leading the fight to challenge the Obama administration's illegal bailout and takeover of Chrysler. [Murdock] took this case all the way to the Supreme Court on behalf of Indiana pensioners." He speaks to tea-party rallies, and he gave a speech to more than 1 million people during the 9-12 March on Washington in 2009.
A licensed pilot who has taken part in Christian missions to Bolivia, Mourdock has also completed six marathons in the last eight years.
Regarding U.S. Supreme Court nominees, Mourdock said he would have voted against Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, "citing clear evidence of their strongly held liberal biases toward government supported legal abortion and their openness to weakening our Second Amendment right to bear arms." He believes judges should respect the founders' original intent when interpreting the U.S. Constitution.
Mourdock supports secured borders and opposes the DREAM Act and amnesty for illegal aliens. He called Obamacare "blatantly unconstitutional" and said it "must be repealed, defunded or overturned by the courts." Mourdock added, "If left in place, Obamacare will bankrupt our nation, destroy private sector jobs, create mountains of bureaucracy, promote abortion with federal dollars, and co-opt the states to do the bidding of the federal government."
A strong supporter of life, Mourdoch said Roe V. Wade "represents a serious misreading of the original intent of those who established our Constitution." He has earned an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association for his support of the Second Amendment. Mourdock opposes earmarks and said he believes TARP was a slush fund for the Obama administration to promote its agenda of placing more of the U.S. economy under federal control. "This program should be ended immediately," he wrote. He also supports a constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms to no more than 12 years.
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats in Congress. He is fiscally conservative, opposes abortion and gun control and has often split with his own party. Donnelly opposed the June 2009 House climate-change bill and funding for stem-cell research. He is a member of the House Veterans' Affairs and Financial Services committees.
A graduate of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Law School, Donnelly practiced law and worked in business for 15 years. He opened a printing and rubber-stamp company called Marking Solutions. From 1988-1989, he served on the Indiana state election board and later became a member of the school board for Mishawaka Marian High School.
Donnelly voted for Obamacare, saying it would "level the playing field between Hoosier families and insurance companies." He claimed the legislation would cover Americans with pre-existing conditions without increasing the national debt. In 2008, he voted in favor of the government bailout of the financial industry.
Donnelly supports increasing Border Patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border and believes illegal aliens should have to apply for U.S. citizenship under the current system.
27) Olympia Snowe, R-Maine – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Olympia Snowe has served in the U.S. Senate since 1995. She previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1995. Snowe has expressed support for abortion, affirmative-action, same-sex partner benefits, the death penalty, gun ownership and more federal funding for health coverage.
She has voted "yes" on the following issues: expanding stem-cell research, stimulus/bailouts, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, prohibiting same-sex marriage, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, factoring global warming into federal project planning, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, raise Congress' pay, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," building a fence along the Mexican border, permanently repealing the "death tax," tax cuts on capital gains and dividends and instituting National Service as a new social invention.
Snowe has voted "no" on the following issues: Obamacare, restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions, banning partial birth abortions, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, banning affirmative-action hiring with federal funds, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security, increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million and repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Scott D'Amboise has served as a town selectman, advocating strongly for "live within your means" tax reforms designed to lighten tax burdens on families and business owners. He helped save the town of Lisbon, Maine, more than $2 million.
He works in the health care field as an ophthalmic technician and owns a small business. He is involved with his church, Little League baseball and the Boy Scouts of America.
D'Amboise said he would have voted against Obamacare, and he supports deregulation to increase competition in the marketplace. Regarding U.S. Supreme Court nominees, D'Amboise said he would have voted against Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan because he opposes "all judicial nominees signaling their unwillingness to adhere to the framers' intent for the Constitution." He supports congressional term limits of 12 years and opposed the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open homosexuals serving in the military.
A fierce opponent of any and all government bailouts of private companies or "stimulus" programs, D'Amboise believes "the free markets must be allowed to operate unencumbered by senseless overregulation and biased decisions on which companies should be allowed to fail and which should receive bailouts." As senator, he promises to work to reduce the corporate tax rate, pass legislation that simplifies corporate and individual tax codes and eliminate harsh market regulations.
Describing himself as an "unabashed conservative," he supports the right to life, traditional marriage and the right to bear arms. D'Amboise proposes enforcement of current U.S. immigration laws and secured borders by a combination of immigration and military personnel. He opposes amnesty and the DREAM Act.
Andrew Ian Dodge
A tea-party activist, science fiction writer, computer games consultant, musician and blogger, Andrew Ian Dodge co-authored a letter by GOProud, a "gay" conservative group, warning Republican lawmakers against running "down any social issue rabbit holes." Dodge said the letter was meant to "stiffen" GOP backbones.
"I don't see Republicans being dumb enough to chase social issues," he said.
Dodge typically dresses in black, works as a freelance writer and has lived in England, Honduras and Miami. He graduated from Colby College and earned a post-graduate degree in legislative politics from the University of Hull in the U.K. According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, he describes himself as a "19th-century Gladstonian liberal, the British free-market, limited-government doctrine embraced by Winston Churchill."
While Dodge opposes government bailouts of the car and banking industries, he supports legalization of marijuana and a lowered drinking age to 18.
On his campaign website, Dodge said he lives by three core conservative values: constitutionally limited government, free market and fiscal responsibility. "As a senator, I would judge any piece of legislation that crossed my desk by those values alone," he wrote.
"As a senator, I would push for the radical reformation, if not abolition, of government departments like the FCC, NEA and the TSA. I would adhere to a philosophy that every government program is wasteful until proven worthy. I would push for a permanent ban on earmarks, and severely curtail special interest subsidies. I would purge corporate welfare and the 'too big to fail' philosophy that turns the government into a sugar daddy for big business.
"I have the courage to do this because unlike so many professional politicians who have adopted tea party colors for the sake of their ambition, I am the real deal. In this era of bailouts and mandates, I stand for the proposition that the only thing that is too big to fail is our freedom, and the only mandate is for a new breed of leadership. I stand against debt, dependency and decline because I stand for liberty, personal responsibility and American greatness."
28) Scott Brown, R-Mass. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Scott Brown has served in the U.S. Senate since 2010, when he won a special election for the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He was the first Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts since 1972. Brown has expressed support for abortion, the death penalty, mandatory three-strikes sentencing laws, eliminating the estate tax, 15 percent across-the-board tax cuts and vouchers for public, private or religious schools. He opposes affirmative action, progressive taxation and Cap and Trade. Brown has voted "yes" on the following issues: defining marriage as between one man and one woman, extending corporate tax credits and barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
Marisa DeFranco (photo: Marisa DeFranco for U.S. Senate)
The granddaughter of Sicilian immigrants, Marisa DeFranco is an immigration attorney who began her own law practice at the tender age of 26. In addition to her work with immigrants, DeFranco also works with businesses, children in state custody and survivors of violence.
DeFranco supports single-payer health care, and she said Republicans use "scare tactics," talking about "government doctors and rationing." However, she said, "Anyone who thinks we do not already ration our health care has not been to an ER or clinic lately or tried to get an appointment with a doctor. Plus, leaving 17% of our population uninsured is health care rationing."
She also supports "Net neutrality" and homosexual "equality." According to her campaign website, DeFranco said she is running "because the American Dream is at stake."
"I am running to ensure that every American has the opportunity and the very access to that American Dream," she wrote. "I am running to put the government back into the hands of the people, not the wealthiest 10% who currently own and operate the system. ...
"We cede no ground, as Democrats, on equality. Workers should receive their just due, their fair pay for their labor. Period.
"The top 1% is redistributing the hard-earned dollars of the people into the pockets of their too-big-to-fail pants, and we will not stand for it, sit for it, take it lying down, or in any way, shape, or form cede our democracy to a small group of plutocrats who care not for the life, liberty and happiness of the people. ...
"Women. We are 51% of the population, and we will not be denied equality any longer. We are done waiting patiently, working just as hard as men for only 3/4 of the pay, and being a paltry 16% of the United States Congress, and an even smaller percentage in the board room.
"We are in the 21st century. We will not be used, will not allow our most private and personal issues to be used as political footballs. We want equality. We have more than earned it. And we want it now."
Herb Robinson has worked as a farm laborer, a mason's helper at a job site with no electricity, a soda jerk at his father's drug store, a musician while he was in college and a dishwasher. He is now employed by Stratus Technologies. He cites four reasons for why he is running for the U.S. Senate:
1) Three years ago, I became fed up with Congress' inability to stop the Iraq war and switch to green energy; so I decided to become directly involved in politics.
2) The Fukushima Daiichi disaster reminded me just how long I have been advising my elected officials about how dangerous nuclear power is – and how long I have been ignored.
3) I believe the country is facing a crisis. We desperately need leadership committed to solving the crisis, not blaming the problem on the other party while they do nothing and attempt to undo what has been done to date.
4) Somebody has to do it, and I have always been the kind of person to jump into a void when a job really needs doing.
Robinson said one of his top priorities is to stimulate the economy "with FDR-style incentive spending and stimulus targeted reduced taxes." He said "reducing taxes for rich people ... just doesn't work.... I believe we need an all hands on deck policy to radically reduce our use of fossil fuels, create jobs, fix the economy and improve our security. That said, we also have to do it safely and with as little harm to the environment as possible."
He proposes a tax increase for those making more than $300,000 per year, lowering the capital gains tax and expanding alternative energy incentives. He supports labor unions, public schooling and increasing the minimum wage. Robinson promises not to accept contributions from political action committees or lobbyists. He said, "There isn't necessarily anything wrong with earmarks – After all, we do expect our senators and representatives to bring federal money back to their districts: It keeps the federal government from being totally insensitive to regional concerns."
Robinson said he is "not really wild" about Obamacare and offers a list of the options he would like to see in a national health plan. He is a member of the ACLU and considers the Patriot Act to be "a complete travesty." He is pro-abortion and supports amnesty for illegal aliens, legalization of marijuana, homosexuals openly serving in the military and homosexual "marriage."
Robinson said he also supports affirmative action:
"Given the current president, I would say current affirmative action programs are working."
A 20-year Harvard professor and a leading bankruptcy expert who has been twice named to TIME magazine's "America's 100 Most Influential People" list, Elizabeth Warren began waiting tables at her Aunt Alice's Mexican restaurant when she was only 13. She married at 19, graduated from college and taught at an elementary school. When her children were very young, Warren graduated from law school and practiced law "out of her living room." She has written nine books, including two national best-sellers, and has authored more than 100 articles.
Following the 2008 financial crisis, she served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Warren is widely credited with helping to create President Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part of the massive 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. However, despite public pressure from 89 House Democrats to name Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama passed her up and instead selected Richard Cordray, former attorney general of Ohio. At the end of his announcement, Obama turned to Warren and kissed her on the cheek.
President Obama announces nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, right, as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite intense pressure from Democrats to select Elizabeth Warren, left. (photo: WhiteHouse.gov)
Warren's campaign spokesman has said she "understands" the Occupy Wall Street movement's mission, though she refused to sign a petition supporting Occupy Harvard. In October, Warren – who lives in a $1.7 million Cambridge home – told The Daily Beast: "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do."
Warren lists seven top campaign priorities: 1) education at public schools and universities, 2) construction of aging roads, bridges, mass transit and water and sewage lines, 3) renewable energy using green technology to cut production costs, 4) research that produces new products and new industries, 5) a level playing field for self-employed individuals and small businesses, 6) workers' rights to organize and 7) strengthened trade laws.
(Editor's note: Another challenger in this race is Democrat Jim King. However, he does not have an active campaign website at this time.)
29) Roger Wicker, R-Miss. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Roger Wicker has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007, when he was appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour to fill the seat vacated by Trent Lott. He later won the 2008 special election. Wicker previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007. He believes life begins at conception. He opposes abortion, progressive taxation, affirmative-action, same-sex partner benefits and increased federal funding for health coverage. Wicker has expressed support for the death penalty, offshore oil drilling, the Second Amendment, cutting taxes, prayer in public schools, Social Security privatization and a secret ballot process for union elections.
Wicker has voted "yes" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, banning partial-birth abortion, forbidding human cloning, $192 billion additional anti-recession stimulus spending in 2009, constitutionally defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, making the Patriot Act permanent, banning gay adoptions in D.C., ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions, allowing school prayer during the War on Terror, allowing vouchers for private and parochial schools, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, construction of new oil refineries, congressional pay raise, requiring a photo ID for voting in federal elections, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Wicker has voted "no" on the following issues: Obamacare, expanding embryonic stem-cell research, an additional $825 billion stimulus package in 2009, $60 billion stimulus package, regulating the subprime mortgage industry, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, moratorium on drilling for oil offshore, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million.
There are no challengers to Wicker's bid at this time.
30) Dean Heller, R-Nev. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Dean Heller has served in the U.S. Senate since May 2011, when he was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval following the resignation of Sen. John Ensign amid an investigation of an ethics violation. Heller previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.
He has expressed support for Israel, gun ownership, limits on political campaign funds, repealing Obamacare reporting requirements for small business, repealing any federal health-care takeover, blocking the NAFTA Superhighway and North American Union. He opposes same-sex partner benefits, amnesty, birthright citizenship, the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" and any attempt to raise taxes.
Heller has voted "yes" on the following issues: banning federal health coverage that includes abortion, expanding embryonic stem cell research, $192 billion stimulus spending, $60 billion stimulus package, regulating the subprime mortgage industry, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases and terminating funding for National Public Radio.
Heller has voted "no" on the following issues: $825 billion stimulus package, $15 billion bailout for GM and Chrysler, prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, more funding for Mexico to fight drugs, $40 billion for "green" public schools, enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution, tax incentives for renewable energy, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, Senate pay raise, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Edward Hamilton (photo: Anthem View)
"I don't think any politician should go to the general election without being challenged," Edward Hamilton told the Las Vegas Sun. "There shouldn't be a free ride in a mature and robust democracy."
Hamilton, a self-described "staunch anti-Marxist/anti-socialist," challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last year as a Democrat. In 2006, he ran against GOP Sen. John Ensign as a Republican.
He told the Sun he is a "switch hitter" who is conservative on the budget and government spending and liberal in foreign policy. His website states, "As your peace candidate, he espouses a brand new U.S. foreign policy based on non-interventionist or non-military approach (this idea akin to Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul's foreign policy approach)."
- making America more competitive and No. 1 again in manufacturing.
- reforming teachers' unions and school administrators' unions by modifying the seniority system to keep bright teachers during layoff periods and eliminating collective bargaining rights for management and public executive employees such as county prosecutors or high-school assistant principals.
- streamlining the school systems by spending more money on the children and cutting bloated free-pension.
- ending teachers' tenure and increasing salaries for teachers who perform well.
- beefing up Medicare Part C offering HMOs and PPOs.
- making 18 the true age of adulthood, allowing those older than 18 to consume alcohol and gamble.
- balancing the federal budget by cutting spending instead of increasing taxes or printing more money.
- stationing soldiers along the U.S.-Mexico border to secure it.
- adding a low 12-volt electric current to the border fence to "freak out potential illegal immigrants trying to sneak into America."
- championing legal immigration while deporting all illegals currently in the country and double-fencing the border.
If elected, Hamilton promises to introduce a Senate bill "requiring U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidates representing all political parties to submit their original-at-birth American birth certificates prior to getting on the state ballot."
A graduate of Las Vegas public schools, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and earned a degree in political science. Berkley worked as a cocktail waitress and keno runner to put herself through college and law school at the University of San Diego School of Law.
Berkley served in the Nevada Assembly from 1982 to 1984. She was appointed and twice elected to the Nevada University Board of Regents, serving from 1990-1998. In 1998, Berkley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the first woman to represent her district in Congress.
She received a 100 percent pro-abortion rating from NARAL while the National Right to Life Committee gave her a 0 percent rating in 2010. Berkley voted for Obamacare, the cap-and-trade bill, the Wall Street bailout and the invasion of Iraq.
Berkley describes herself as "a strong ally of the state's entrepreneurs, fighting to secure tax breaks to help them hire, provide quality benefits to their employees and work with the Small Business Administration to get the resources and tools they need to grow and succeed." She supports investment in America's infrastructure and proposes upgrades to roads, bridges, airports, dams, trains and transit systems. She has pushed legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to modify existing mortgages for families that file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and called for investigation of financial institutions' handling of foreclosure proceedings.
She opposes efforts to privatize Social Security accounts, arguing that such a move would "put Americans' safety nets at the whim of Wall Street manipulation and foreign market fluctuations." She has pushed for Nevada to be "a world leader in solar energy production" and supported the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act that keeps proceeds from federal land sales from leaving the state. Berkley supports Head Start programs and the DREAM Act, allowing the children of illegal immigrants to earn legal status by attending college or serving in the armed forces.
Berkley supports Israel, noting that the U.S. and Israel "share an unbreakable bond." Her campaign website states: "Shelley believes that we must promote peace in the region with the understanding that lasting peace cannot be achieved by imposing an agreement on Israel. It must come through meaningful discussion and consensus between Israel and its neighbors and cannot be realized until the terrorist Hamas network has been dismantled."
31) Bob Corker, R-Tenn. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Bob Corker has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007. He previously served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001 to 2005. Corker has expressed support for the Second Amendment, opening the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas leasing, traditional marriage, health-savings accounts and only appointing judges who won't overstep their bounds. He opposes progressive taxation, the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," same-sex partnership benefits, federal funding for abortion and stem-cell research that destroys human life.
Corker has voted "yes" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, removing oil and gas exploration subsidies, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, congressional pay raise, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and raising death and estate tax exemptions to $5 million.
Corker has voted "no" on the following issues: Obamacare, expanding embryonic stem-cell research, $192 billion additional stimulus spending, additional $825 billion for recovery package, $60 billion stimulus, factoring global warming into federal project planning, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps, continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million and instituting national service as a new social invention.
A former landscape foreman over a crew that maintained yards and installed brick patios, James Durkan attended Dalton State College. He built carpet plant equipment and worked as a safety manager and quality control manager.
"I disagreed with the $23 billion of wasteful spending in the form of tax breaks for the wealthiest 6,000 citizens," he wrote on his campaign website. " And I feel the START treaty was better left in the hands of freshman senators who the public in 2010 entrusted it to. I do not expect the wealthiest citizens will do much funding in this campaign. I am for bringing back jobs that have been handed over to other nations. They need to come back to our citizens through research, development and American engineering."
Zach and Lenore Poskavich and daughter, Reagan
A technology consultant and U.S. Army veteran of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Zach Poskevich said America's biggest problems are that politicians are not upholding the U.S. Constitution and they lack courage to stand by their principles.
"Courage is not being politically correct or telling people what they want to hear," he said. "If you have the courage to stand for right, then people know you stand against wrong."
Poskevich takes issue with citizens who believe the Constitution is irrelevant. He told a crowd that the founding document is based on the Declaration of Independence, which is based on a belief in God. Therefore, he argued, the Constitution is relevant because God grants rights to man. Poskevich believes only God possesses the power to restore the nation and Americans must turn back to Him. A self-described constitutional conservative, Poskevich has never before run for political office.
Poskevich grew up on a farm with eight brother and sisters. He enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 17 and was stationed in Egypt. "I saw first-hand how important it is that we defend Israel as a partner in the Middle East and it's more important now than ever," Poskevich said. "During that tour of duty, I was able to see the pyramids in Cairo and most of the Holy Land in Israel. Seeing the lands where Abraham, David, Isaac and Jesus Christ walked and lived their lives was awe-inspiring to say the least and certainly strengthened my faith in God at an early age."
He earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Tennessee Technological University. Following graduation, he worked in finance, information technology and management, developing software and leading teams around the world. Poskevich named his daughter Reagan, after President Ronald Reagan, whom he calls "one of the greatest leaders of our time."
Poskevich believes in American exceptionalism and makes no apologies that "our innovation and entrepreneurship have led to higher standard of living not just in America but around the world."
He said he was outraged when Obamacare was "unconstitutionally passed by Congress" and signed into law by President Obama: "We continue to uncover just how invasive and costly this bill is. Perhaps the most damning of evidence is the more than 1,400 waivers granted by the White House to favored parties and unions. The promise of cost savings was outright deceit when its only intent was to control one of the most important aspects of our lives. As senator, one of my top priorities is to repeal Obamacare."
Poskevich said he will "work to find common-sense solutions for returning illegals to their countries of origin and securing our borders so they will not continue to be a burden to all legal U.S. citizens." He also supports streamlining the process for legal immigration and integrating immigrants into society as taxpaying, law-abiding citizens.
America can sustain the energy it needs from within its own borders, Poskevich argues. He believes America needs to drill for oil, reassess current regulation effectiveness and develop a real energy plan – not prolong moratoriums.
Poskevich supports a strong military and believes "nothing poses a greater threat to our nation's security than radical Islam." A proud handgun owner, he also believes the Second Amendment is the "one right that protects all of our liberties." He said, "Gun control does not control guns; it simply disarms would-be victims."
He supports states' rights, fiscal restraint and transparency. Poskevich warns, "With a $14 trillion debt ceiling and the declining value of the American dollar, our economy is desperately on the verge of collapse. We have spent far more than we have, and it is time to cut up the credit cards."
China, our largest creditor, can "call in our debt at any time," he said. "Our enemies understand the strain of debt and its impact on a nation. ... A country indebted to others has silently relinquished freedoms that one day will be revealed when the debt is to be paid or when new debt must be issued."
32) Orrin Hatch, R-Utah – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: Orrin Hatch has served in the U.S. Senate since 1977. He currently serves as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Hatch has expressed support for balancing the budget, free trade, school vouchers, Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, the Second Amendment and prayer in schools.
Hatch has voted "yes" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines, banning partial birth abortions, banning military abortions, banning human cloning, paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness, constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, banning affirmative-action hiring with federal funds, protecting middle class from a national energy tax, barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, congressional pay raise, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, reauthorizing the Patriot Act, building a fence along the Mexican border, tax cuts on capital gains and dividends and instituting national service as a new social invention.
Hatch has voted "no" on the following issues: Obamacare, $192 billion stimulus spending, $825 billion stimulus package, $60 billion stimulus package, adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, factoring global warming into federal project planning, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities," allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security, increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million and permanently repealing the "death tax."
A Democrat who openly supports homosexual "marriage" and Obamacare, Christopher Stout is a U.S. Army Reserve Gulf War veteran and sales tax accountant who backs cuts on defense spending. He also supported the recent debt-ceiling hike. Stout founded a sales and use tax consulting firm in Salt Lake City.
Stout said the biggest problem America faces right now is "ourselves": "Our continued desire to find fault by applying labels to individuals and groups is ripping apart the economic and social fabric of the country." He also said, "Protecting our environment must be the number one concern in meeting our energy needs. ... Drilling off-shore has a greater risk of environmental and economic disaster and proved to be when the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank."
Stout supports labor unions, and he believes job creators should be given tax incentives to create jobs, "not a free pass on taxes":
"Think of these incentives as a type of 'welfare reform for the rich.' In the late '90s, the country changed the way we doled our government assistance, and in this decade we need to change the way we dole out tax cuts. Instead of giving a $750 billion tax cut to millionaires and billionaires, let's make them work for it."
33) John Barrasso, R-Wyo. – seeking re-election
About the incumbent: John Barrasso has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007, when he was appointed to the seat following the death of Sen. Craig Thomas. He won a special election in 2008. Barrasso has expressed support for limited government and lower taxes. He opposes federal funding for abortion, homosexual marriage and driver's licenses for illegals.
Barrasso has voted "yes" on the following issues: restricting U.N. funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors from crossing state lines for abortion, barring federal grants to organizations that perform abortions, barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, protecting the middle class from a national energy tax, open the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas leasing, prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land, requiring a photo ID to vote in federal elections, extending the Patriot Act's roving wiretaps and raising the death tax exemption to $5 million.
Barrasso has voted "no" on the following issues: Obamacare, $192 billion stimulus spending, $825 billion for stimulus package, $60 billion stimulus package, $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers, congressional pay raise, expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program, federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities" and increasing the tax rate for people earning more than $1 million.
There are no challengers to Barrasso's bid at this time.