It has been said time and again how this year’s election is the most important in a generation (or a lifetime). Well, the truth is every election is important.

In November, all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 36 U.S. Senate seats are up for election; not to mention 36 governor’s mansions and thousands of state legislative races in every state.

In Washington, D.C., Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) currently controls a fragile 17-seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Amazingly, less than 30 of the 435 congressional districts across the country are considered to be competitive. That means less than 7 percent of those races will decide which party holds the speaker’s gavel next January.

While maintaining a pro-business majority in the House is essential, all eyes will be on the U.S.  Senate. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) currently controls a six-seat majority, and anywhere from eight to 12 Senate races are considered competitive. In short, those races will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
  • Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia: All of these seats are currently held by long-serving Democrats who have decided to retire. All three states overwhelmingly voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Assuming the Republican candidates run good campaigns, they should win in November.
  • Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana and North Carolina: In each of these states, the Democrat incumbent must defend votes on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Current polling and credible candidates on the Republican side have put all of these races in the “toss-up” category.
  • Iowa and Michigan: These are the two outliers. Both states went for President Obama in 2012, but currently have Republican governors and legislatures. Republicans appear to have drawn the better candidates in their respective races; both have put up female candidates running against congressmen who voted for the PPACA and the stimulus package while serving in the U.S. House.
Additional races in Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia have caught political pundits’ attention recently. If political winds continue to blow in the same direction, Election Day 2014 could end up being one for the history books.

There is a very real chance for significant Republican gains this November. Strong fundraising numbers and consistent messaging will be the keys to victory.

Associated Builders and Contractors’ political action committee (ABC PAC) has raised $1.2 million in 2013-2014 and contributed more than $1 million to more than 240 pro-business candidates this election cycle.

In addition, ABC’s Free Enterprise Alliance—which advocates for small businesses and open and fair competition through research and national media campaigns—has a robust plan in place for this fall.

Following are a few easy things individuals can do to prepare for yet another important election.
  • Be on the lookout for the re-launch of ABCvotes.com—a nonpartisan online election resource for companies and their employees.
  • Download the ABC Action app for iPhone and Android smartphones. This cutting-edge app is a “starter kit” to getting involved in the issues that impact the construction industry.
  • Visit FreeEnterpriseAlliance.org and share the link with employees and colleagues. While there, consider making a contribution to the Free Enterprise Alliance. A $50 corporate or personal contribution from every ABC member company would enable ABC to achieve its ambitious 2014 fundraising goal and impact the outcome of the November elections.
Talking about politics can be prickly, but voting and being involved in the electoral process should not be a sensitive issue. Regardless of political affiliation, everyone needs to know that protecting free enterprise ultimately means more jobs, income and wealth for more people. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican principle; it’s an American principle.

Much is at stake this November and it is going to require complete political engagement from ABC members and their employees to ensure candidates that support free enterprise and open competition are sent to state capitals and Washington, D.C., next year.

Click here for more insight on seven Senate races to watch leading up to the November 2014 election.


Chris Singerling is senior director of political affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors. For more information, email singerling@abc.org.