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The 'Nays' Have It: Upper Midwest Senate Delegation & Full Body Vote Against Immigration Bill

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On Thursday the United States Senate voted against cloture on the high profile immigration reform bill that divided politicians on Capitol Hill much more than the American public. Overall, a vast majority of Americans opposed the bill, advocating 'enforcement first' immigration policies, such as sealing the border, before contemplating whether or not potential citizenship opportunities should be offered to any of the 12 million estimated illegal aliens currently residing in the United States. The senate legislation sought to address both of these concerns.

The 53-46 vote against cloture witnessed a division within political parties: 12 Republicans voted for cloture, while 15 Democrats voted against it—including several newly elected Democratic Senators in right-leaning or purple states: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jim Webb of Virginia, John Tester of Montana, and Sharrod Brown of Ohio.

The Upper Midwest Senate delegation voted 4-3 against cloture as well. Democrats Amy Klobuchar (MN), Herb Kohl (WI), and Russ Feingold (WI) supported the legislation, while Republicans Charles Grassley (IA), John Thune (SD), and Norm Coleman (MN) were joined by Democrat Tom Harkin (IA) against ending debate (SD senior Senator Tim Johnson is now in his seventh month recovering from an illness that has kept him from voting since December 2006).

Harkin released a statement indicating he was largely in favor of the legislation, with the caveat that the bill did not offer enough protection to American workers as the influx of additional immigrants would "drive down wages and benefits, and weaken the bargaining power of all workers."

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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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