10 Races for Feds to Watch: The Results

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., won re-election, but by a much narrower margin than anticipated. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., won re-election, but by a much narrower margin than anticipated. Steve Helber/AP

Republicans boasted major gains in the House and Senate on Tuesday, and the party will control both chambers of Congress come 2015.

In close race after close race, things broke poorly for the Democrats, both in federal and state races. Republicans have netted at least seven Senate seats already, with two more likely pickups to come.

How did candidates fare in the key races to watch for federal employees? For the most part, things did not go well for the more fed-friendly candidates. Here is a detailed breakdown, with the winners in bold:

1) Virginia Senate - Sen. Mark Warner, D, vs. Ed Gillespie, R

In our preview, we wrote, “If early results look bad for Warner, expect a long night for Democrats across the country.” Check and check. It appears Warner will survive a shockingly close challenge in his bid for re-election. Warner -- a major federal employee advocate -- was seen as a heavy favorite heading into Election Day, but narrowly escaped with a victory after trailing most of the night. The margin of victory is so small, however, Gillespie could demand a recount.

2) Arkansas Senate - Sen. Mark Pryor, D, vs. Rep. Tom Cotton, R

We said Pryor was an underdog, and he was ultimately defeated by a resounding 18 percent. Pryor was a conservative Democrat, but as a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he frequently weighed in on federal workforce issues. He generally voted in the interest of federal employees and was endorsed by the American Federation of Government Employees. Cotton, an Army veteran, has made his name primarily on foreign policy, but his tendency toward fiscal conservatism could prove problematic for federal agencies come budget time.

3) Alaska Senate - Sen. Mark Begich, D, vs. Dan Sullivan, R

Most outlets had not called the Senate race in Alaska as of Tuesday morning, and Begich had not conceded, but Sullivan held a fairly significant lead with 100 percent of precincts reporting results. Begich, also a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has worked in recent years to streamline the federal hiring process, in support of federal firefighters, to reform the security clearance process and for postal reform, among other issues critical to feds. Sullivan served in the State Department as a political appointee under President George W. Bush, and has spent a large portion of his campaign discussing the need to cut through bureaucracy and red tape in Washington.

4) Louisiana Senate - Sen. Mary Landrieu, D, vs. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R

Landrieu was the third vulnerable Democrat who currently serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and she will likely be the third to lose her re-election bid. Neither she nor Cassidy received 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, however, so the race will go to a runoff in December. Cassidy, who during his time in the House voted to contract out federal jobs and freeze federal employees’ pay, enters the runoff as the clear favorite. 

5) Wisconsin Governor - Gov. Scott Walker, R, vs. Mary Burke, D

Democrats saw this race as a major pickup opportunity, but were proven overly optimistic as Walker cruised to victory. Walker -- best known as the poster boy for taking on public-sector unions -- will for the time being only influence state policy, but that could soon change. We said in our preview this race was one to watch as Walker may have his eyes set on the White House, and the predictions of his presidential bid have already begun.

6) New Hampshire Senate - Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D, vs. former Sen. Scott Brown, R

In the lone senatorial bright spot for Democrats, Shaheen squeaked by to earn re-election. Shaheen has been a vocal critic of the impact of sequestration on federal agencies and largely maintains a fed-friendly voting record.

7) Kentucky Senate - Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R, vs. Alison Lundergan Grimes, D

Say hello to the new Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. The Republican stalwart cruised to victory Tuesday, and will now lead the upper chamber with his party clinching a majority. McConnell has never been a friend to federal employees, and has pledged to use his new role to attach controversial riders to government funding bills. Could that lead to another government shutdown in President Obama’s remaining two years in office? Only time will tell.

8) Virginia’s 10th Congressional District - State Del. Barbara Comstock, R, vs. John Foust, D

In yet another example of a targeted Democratic pickup not coming to fruition, Comstock soundly defeated Foust. She will replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf, who for years has been the biggest federal employee advocate on the Republican side of the aisle. Comstock has a history of supporting anti-union legislation, but has promised to be a champion for federal employees

9) Oklahoma Senate - Rep. James Lankford, R, vs. state Sen. Constance Johnson, D

As expected, Lankford easily won a promotion to the Senate. He will replace retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, who served as ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel. Lankford himself currently sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where he has headed the federal procurement subcommittee and sought to strengthen oversight of agency operations. Coburn was a deficit hawk -- as Lankford promised to be -- but occasionally worked across the aisle on issues such as postal reform and government transparency. Lankford appears to be a prime candidate for HSGAC membership.

10) Washington, D.C. Mayor - Muriel Bowser, D, vs. David Catania, I

While not a race that will impact federal policy, the result ensures Bowser will represent tens of thousands of federal employees. She promised to institute policies to attract and retain federal government jobs in D.C. and to invest in a “Live Near Your Work” program to “help working class federal employees save money by living in the city.”  

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