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The 2014 Cycle AMPAC Election Report

A Note to AMPAC’s 2014 Contributors

The American Medical Association’s Political Action Committee (AMPAC) is truly grateful for members like you who generously support the advocacy efforts of the American Medical Association (AMA). Each year we strive to deliver a collective, unified voice for physicians in Washington by supporting federal candidates who make medicine a priority.

We hope you will review the content of the 2014 Election Summary with the knowledge that without your help, these outcomes would not be possible. We thank you for your commitment to AMPAC, and hope you will continue to support the AMA’s advocacy efforts in the coming years.

2014 Elections

2014 saw yet another “political wave” election at the national level as Republicans swept into power in the U.S. Senate and expanded their majority in the U.S. House. A midterm electorate that is typically unfavorable to Democrats, a map that heavily favored Republicans, an unpopular president, and widespread dissatisfaction with status quo gridlock were among the biggest drivers of Republicans’ across the board domination.

AMPAC seized on the opportunity to impact this election cycle by spending more than $2.2 million on behalf of pro-medicine candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate. Working with the state PACs and in a bipartisan manner, AMPAC contributed over $2 million to candidates (63% Republican and 37% Democratic) who are friends of medicine, in leadership positions, and on key committees. These contributions did more than demonstrate support for medicine’s allies in Congress. They facilitated hundreds of strategic opportunities (including fundraising events, dinners, receptions, and one-on-one meetings) for AMA lobbyists and local physicians to meet with influential members of Congress and directly promote organized medicine’s top legislative priorities.

A total of 349 AMPAC-supported candidates won their elections for a success rate of 95%. And while the cadre of physicians in Congress has dropped from 20 in the current Congress to 17, this is due mostly to retirements and candidates seeking other office. New friends of medicine including Representative-elect Evan Jenkins (R, WV-03), the current Executive Director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, were victorious, however, and we look forward to working with them to advance medicine’s agenda in 2015 and beyond.

United States Senate
(36 Contested Seats)

Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats were up for election in 2014 – 15 were held by Republicans and 21 by Democrats. There were five special elections this cycle to fill out the remaining terms in Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

This election cycle proved to be a highly competitive one as there were 7 open seat races due to retirements, including a number of senior Members. In addition, this election featured 8 pure “toss-ups” heading into Election Day. Republicans, after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory over the past two election cycles, were finally able to gain the majority. Low voter turnout nationally due to midterm elections combined with President Obama’s growing unpopularity nationally proved to be disastrous for Democrats, and Republicans picked up an impressive 9 seats in the upper chamber, while defending 3 vulnerable seats of their own. The make-up of the Senate in the 114th Congress will include 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and two Independents. Both Independents will caucus with Democrats.

House of Representatives
(435 Contested Seats)

Republicans expanded their majority control in the U.S. House of Representatives to 247 seats – their largest majority since the 71st Congress (1929-1931). The 114th Congress will include a total of 60 new members of Congress, 43 Republicans and 17 Democrats. The current make-up of the 114th Congress gives Republicans a very comfortable majority with 247 seats to the Democrats 188. Despite Republicans controlling both chambers in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will still have to contend with appeasing both the establishment and tea party factions within the Republican conference. However, given their sizable majority, Republicans can expect to maintain control of the House for the foreseeable future unless 2016 brings a Democratic tidal wave, which at this point seems highly unlikely.

2016 Elections Preview

Americans will head to the polls in 2016 to elect a new President in addition to casting their votes in U.S. House races and a host of hotly-contested U.S. Senate races. As always, the economy is expected to be a major factor that will affect practically every election at the federal level. But other potentially contentious issues in areas such as foreign policy, immigration, and health care are likely to be on voters’ minds as well, and could prove to be game changers with sweeping national consequences.

The Senate map will provide Democrats with a target rich environment in 2016, as opposed to the 2010 and 2012 elections when Republicans sat in the driver’s seat. Twenty four Republican seats will be up compared to just 10 for Democrats. With a number of these Republicans running in states won by President Obama and considering the slim margin by which Republicans now control the upper chamber, there is a distinct possibility that the Senate may flip back to Democrats.

The House meanwhile, is expected to remain relatively stable. 2014 was the first Congressional election since the redrawing of House districts packed more like-minded voters together in practically every state in the country. As red districts got redder and blue districts bluer, the effect was limited in terms of seats flipping from one party to the other. Most experts agree that the partisan makeup of the House map seems pretty well sorted at this point and barring something unforeseen, big changes are not expected in 2016.

AMPAC Fundraising and Participation

The 2014 mid-term elections were an exciting and successful time for AMPAC’s fundraising efforts. During the 2014 cycle, AMPAC receipts totaled over $2.7 million dollars, surpassing what was raised during the 2012 election cycle by 12%. AMPAC’s hard dollar receipts—funds that AMPAC can use for direct candidate contributions or independent expenditures—were up 17% over the last election cycle. This significant increase is attributed to the continued success of AMPAC’s direct mail program along with tremendous participation in AMPAC’s Capitol Club.

This year, Capitol Club participation was instrumental in driving up AMPAC receipts. We saw tremendous growth in AMPAC’s Capitol Club Program with 910 members participating at one of the following levels: Capitol Club Platinum ($2,500 annually), Gold ($1,000 annually) or Silver ($500 annually). Capitol Club participation eclipsed 2013’s year-end total of 854 members by 7%. AMPAC participation in the AMA’s House of Delegates (HOD) continued to show steady and significant improvement with 73% of House of Delegate members participating in AMPAC compared to 68% in 2013.

With the 2014 election cycle having come to an end, participation in AMPAC is as important as ever. Your continued commitment is vitally necessary in order for AMPAC to stay competitive in the 2016 election cycle. We strongly encourage you to renew your commitment to AMPAC so we can continue the necessary work of supporting and electing physician-friendly candidates to Congress. To join or find out more, please visit our website at www.ampaconline.org, or call AMPAC’s Washington office at (202) 789-7400.

AMPAC Political Education Programs

2014 was again a landmark election in terms of physician candidates, with 44 physicians running as challengers or in open seats for federal office at one point during the cycle. Of the physicians who ran, 10 attended AMPAC’s Political Education Programs. There are currently 36 alumni of AMPAC’s programs serving in elected office; 27 alumni won elections in 2014. The 2014 Candidate Workshop and Campaign School saw nearly 70 physicians, residents, medical students and physician spouses learn what it takes to run for office or how to become more involved in political campaigns.

This year also marked the most successful year for the AMPAC Regional Campaign and Grassroots Seminar program, which is now approved for CME credit. The Seminars are designed to provide training in political campaigns and grassroots lobbying, so that physicians and friends of medicine can help advance medicine’s agenda at all levels of government. Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon cohosted Seminars which provided advocacy training for hundreds of physicians.
In 2015, AMPAC will once again host the Candidate Workshop and Campaign School in Washington, DC to help AMA members become more effective advocates for medicine as both candidates and skilled campaign volunteers. The Candidate Workshop will be held February 20-22 and the Campaign School will be held April 15-19. Both programs will be held in the Washington, DC area. Enrollment is open to AMA members, their spouses and immediate family members, and Federation staff. AMPAC, covers lodging, meals, tuition and course materials, a significant benefit to AMA members. For more information, visit http://www.ampaconline.org/political-education/