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Oct 06 2016
by Melissa Cordell

A Guide To Navigating Senatorial Races

By Melissa Cordell - Oct 06 2016
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As college students, we barely have time to keep up with presidential candidates and what they're saying at all time, much less what senatorial candidates are doing. We at Fresh U understand that, so we have compiled a list of the senators running in your states and what their platforms are, because the people who will represent you in more local offices are almost as important as who you vote for for president.

Alabama

Republican: Richard Shelby

Shelby is the incumbent in this election and for a full look at what he stands for, you can see here. He is pro-life, hard on illegal immigration, big on the Second Amendment, opposes tax increases and wants to maintain a strong military.

Democrat: Ron Crumpton

Crumpton believes in the Second Amendment, but realizes that "unabridged" access to guns can be harmful. He believes in raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing abortion. For a full list of what he wants, direct yourself here

Alaska

Republican: Lisa Murkowski

This quote from her website, "Freedom comes from strength and self-reliance," perhaps summarizes her platform. This incumbent's issues can be found in full detail here, but she has a main focus on the business of fisheries in Alaska, the state's indigenous peoples, veterans, the Second Amendment and education.

Democrat: Ray Metcalfe

On his site, it says, "Ray’s platform is Bernie’s platform," which makes this an easy choice for any one who supported Senator Sanders during his heyday in the 2016 presidential election. This "Berniecrat" wants to eliminate student debt and college costs, end the War on Drugs, provide adequate funding for NASA and have adequate funding for arts and science.

Arizona 

Republican: John McCain

Holding the incumbent seat, McCain fights for the Second Amendment, supporting farmers, keeping government promises to Native Americans and taking care of veterans. You can find more issues here

Democrat: Ann Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick's platform can be found in full here, but the main points are better education, finding innovative ways to start using renewable energy and helping veterans. 

Arkansas

Republican: John Boozman

Boozman, the incumbent, opposes Obamacare, the Clean Power Plan and almost everything else set forth by President Obama's administration. You can find more on how he wants to take on Washington here

Democrat: Conner Eldridge

Eldridge holds fast to the Second Amendment, wants to reform the immigration system, end discrimination altogether, fight crime while keeping children safe and stand up for seniors. More of his platform can be found here

California

Democrat: Kamala Harris

Harris is the current Attorney General of California and you can find how she has sided on issues here. She remains true to ideal Democratic values, such as being pro-choice and supporting civil rights equality for all, but she also has a Tumblr set up to show her devotion to the children of California and their education, and she advocates for animal protection. 

Democrat: Loretta Sanchez

Also a Democrat, Sanchez has the same values. She is one of the representatives for California and you can see how she sided in office here. She advocates for equality between women and men and for a stricter gun-control policy.

Colorado

Republican: Darryl Glenn

Glenn is against the Iran Deal, absolutely for the Second Amendment and believes tax reform is the answer to helping the economy get back on its feet. More of his issues can be found here

Democrat: Michael Bennet

Bennet is running the incumbent seat and you can see how he performed in office here. He is for the Iran Deal, focusing on agriculture and listening to farmers, making college affordable and moving Colorado toward being energy independent. 

Connecticut

Republican: Dan Carter

Carter hopes to focus on gridlock in Washington, terrorism and the ways it can negatively impact and discriminate against minorities, government spending and gun violence while still supporting the Second Amendment. More of his issues and platform can be found here

Democrat: Richard Blumenthal

In the incumbent seat is Blumenthal, and you can see how he sided on issues here. His main concerns are women's rights, affordable transportation, gun violence and getting rid of discrimination throughout the nation. 

Delaware

There are no national senate races in Delaware this year.

Florida 

Republican: Marco Rubio

Rubio is the incumbent this election and here's how he has sided on issues thus far. Rubio supports repealing Obamacare, standing against ISIS, finding water solutions for Florida and supporting farmers more with less government intervention. 

Democrat: Patrick Murphy

Murphy is one of Florida's U.S. Representatives, and you can find how he has sided on issues here. He wants to grow the middle class, protect voting rights, stand with Israel, advocate for LGBT rights and advocates for criminal justice reform. More of his platform can be found here

Georgia

Republican: Johnny Isakson

Isakson is the incumbent and to see how he sided on office, direct yourself here. He wants to strengthen the American military, bring tax relief to American families and small businesses, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and improve schools.

Democrat: Jim Barksdale

Barksdale hopes to support rural Georgia, women's rights, peace in the Middle East and focus on clean, renewable energy. His full platform can be found here

Hawaii

Republican: John Carroll

Carroll wants to lower the high cost of living in Hawaii, provide fairness in taxation, raise standards in the public education system and protect the culture and environment of the state. More of the issues he supports can be found here

Democrat: Brian Schatz

Schatz is running the incumbent seat and here's how he sided on issues while in office. He is passionate about the tourism industry, maintaining the culture and staying true to its values, clean energy and good transportation and infrastructure to grow the economy.

Idaho

Republican: Mike Crapo

Crapo is the incumbent this election and to see how he sided on issues in office, direct yourself here. Crapo finds helping Native Americans, keeping the arts alive, maintaining a rich diversity and focusing on cleaner energy to be of his most important issues. 

Democrat: Jerry Sturgill

Among Sturgill's top concerns this election are agriculture and ensuring farmers can make a living, protecting public lands and keeping the military well-equipped and fairly treating veterans. More of his platform can be found here

Illinois

Republican: Mark Kirk

Kirk is running as the incumbent this election, and you can see how he sided on issues in office here. He has a strong focus on the military, keeping the Great Lakes clean and stopping Iran's nuclear endeavors. 

Democrat: Tammy Duckworth

Duckworth is one of Illinois' U.S. Representatives and here's how she sided on issues in office. She is focused on helping small businesses run smoothly, helping veterans after they come home, cutting unnecessary government spending and investing in infrastructure. More of her key issues can be found here

Indiana

Republican: Todd Young

Young is pro-life, puts children first in education, wants to repeal Obamacare, is concerned about the lack of jobs and supports tax reform. His platform can be found in full here

Democrat: Evan Bayh

Bayh is a former Indiana Senator and you can find how he voted in office here. He supports preserving Medicare and Medicaid, improving trading laws, helping the agricultural economy and improving education. More of his issues can be found here

Iowa

Republican: Chuck Grassley

Grassley is the incumbent this election and here's how he sided on issues while in office. Grassley is passionate about increasing adoption rates, decreasing the usage of illegal drugs, reforming immigration and supporting the War on Terrorism.  

Democrat: Patty Judge

Judge is formerly the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa. You can see how she sided on issues here. Her platform consists mainly of helping working families, improving agriculture and its economy and protecting women's healthcare and equal rights. More of her issues can be found here

Kansas

Republican: Jerry Moran

Moran is running the incumbent seat and here's how he sided on issues in office. He is passionate about keeping Kansas in the forefront of aviation, making sure every student has a quality education, supporting family values and fixing the immigration system. 

Democrat: Patrick Wiesner

Wiesner is interested in helping farms prosper, making cleaner energy everywhere, supporting Second Amendment rights and making healthcare more affordable. More of his platform can be found here

Kentucky

Republican: Rand Paul

Paul is running in the incumbent seat this election and to see how he voted on the issues in office, direct yourself here. His issues focus on ending NSA spying, auditing the Federal Reserve and securing the borders while reforming legal immigration. 

Democrat: Jim Gray

Gray supports reforming education so students can perform better in the world of the 21st Century, ensuring retirement security, helping the working class family and improving the coal industry and economy. More of his issues can be found on his website

Maine

There are no national senate races in Maine this year.

Maryland

Republican: Kathy Szeliga

Szeliga is the Minority Whip in the Maryland House and here's how she has sided on issues. She prioritizes National Security, getting the best education to children and reforming Obamacare. More of her platform can be found here

Democrat: Chris Van Hollen

Van Hollen is one of the representatives for Maryland and here's how he sided on issues in office. He wants to focus on ending gun violence, making health care more affordable, keeping promises to seniors and veterans and women's rights. More of his issues can be found here

Massachusetts 

There are no national senate races in Massachusetts this year.

Michigan

There are no national senate races in Michigan this year.

Minnesota

There are no national senate races in Minnesota this year.

Mississippi

There are no national senate races in Mississippi this year.

Missouri

Republican: Roy Blunt

Blunt is running in the incumbent seat for this election and you can find how he sided on issues here. His key issues are stopping government overreach, supporting farm families and strengthening infrastructure. 

Democrat: Jason Kander

Kander is the Secretary of State for Missouri and here's how he sided on issues in office. He advocates for veterans and the families of those serving in the military, supports Missouri businesses and fights for the middle class and women's rights. More of his issues can be found here

Montana

There are no national senate races in Montana this year.

Nebraska

There are no national senate races in Nebraska this year.

Nevada

Republican: Joe Heck

Heck is one of Nevada's representatives and here's how he has sided on issues in office. He works to end human trafficking, support the military and veterans actively, and reform tax code to make it easier and flatter. More of his issues can be found here

Democrat: Catherine Masto

Masto is a former Nevada Attorney General and here's how she sided on issues. She wants to overturn Citizens United, raise the minimum wage and have a comprehensive immigration reform. More of her issues can be found here

New Hampshire

Republican: Kelly Ayotte

Running in the incumbent seat is Ayotte and here's how she sided on issues in office. She focuses on protecting the environment, reducing human trafficking and domestic violence, supporting small business and strengthening roads and highways. 

Democrat: Maggie Hassan

Hassan's platform includes supporting those with severe disabilities to ensure they are not discriminated against, helping small businesses thrive and improving education. More of her platform can be found here

New Jersey

There are no national senate races in New Jersey this year.

New Mexico

There are no national senate races in New Mexico this year.

New York

Republican: Wendy Long

Long's platform includes confronting government corruption, decreasing Washington's involvement in public education and ending Common Core education. More of her issues can be found on her website

Democrat: Chuck Schumer

Schumer is running in the incumbent seat this election and here's how he sided on issues while in office. He wants to protect the middle class, small business and supported a bill that wouldn't tax Olympic medals. 

North Carolina

Republican: Richard Burr

Burr is running in the incumbent seat this election and to see how he voted on the issues, you can direct yourself here. He is interested in fighting crime and supporting victims, conserving public land and reforming education by getting rid of Common Core. 

Democrat: Deborah Ross

In her platform, Ross addresses climate change, supports making college more affordable, encourages rebuilding roads and bridges and recognizes rural North Carolina. More of her stances can be found here

North Dakota

Republican: John Hoeven

Hoeven is running in the incumbent seat and you can see how he sided while in office. He wants to continue to work on lowering energy costs, creating jobs and reforming health care in a way he believes Obamacare has not. 

Democrat: Eliot Glassheim 

Once in office, Glassheim hopes to maintain leadership in energy production, strengthen Medicare, abolish human trafficking, expand on women's rights and opportunities, and make college more affordable. More of his issues can be found on his website

Ohio

Republican: Rob Portman

This incumbent's stances in office can be found here. Portman's big issues are fighting drug addiction and repealing Obamacare. As well, he wants to support the military, veterans and those who lost their lives in service.

Democrat: Ted Strickland

Strickland is actually a former governor of Ohio and you can find how he stood on issues while in office here. He wants to ensure jobs with a livable wage, safer schools, making college and higher education opportunities more affordable for big families and ensuring retirement security. 

Oklahoma

Republican: James Lankford

As the incumbent, here is how Lankford acted on issues in office. He's big on the Second Amendment, becoming energy independent, standing with Israel, fighting poverty in all neighborhoods and encouraging adoption. 

Democrat: Mike Workman

Workman doesn't have an official website - instead a Facebook page - but he is pro-choice, supports LGBT equality and advocates for public education. 

Oregon

Republican: Mark Callahan

His plans for representing Oregon include scrapping sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants, standing with Israel, helping veterans find homes and jobs and destroying the Iran Nuclear Deal. More of his issues can be found on his website

Democrat: Ron Wyden

Most unique about this candidate is how he upholds his promise to hold at least one public town meeting in each of Oregon's 36 counties per year. His values are pretty similar to all Democrats across the board, and Wyden has even included sex trafficking in his platform. Here's how he has done with issues in office. 

Pennsylvania

Republican: Patrick Toomey

The incumbent, Toomey, has key issues that range from supporting law enforcement to protecting the Second Amendment to helping solve the national debt. Here's how he has been on the issues in office thus far. 

Democrat: Katie McGinty

McGinty's website is fairly straightforward on what issues matter the most to her: women's rights, LBGT equality, gun control, investing in higher education and ensuring affordable healthcare. 

Rhode Island

There are no national senate races in Rhode Island this year.

South Carolina

Republican: Tim Scott

As the incumbent, he has already done a lot for education and military and veterans, with the CHOICE Act. Scott also passed the SKILLS Act which was intended to better train people for their jobs. To see how he has acted in office, direct yourself here

Democrat: Thomas Dixon

Dixon wants to close the "Charleston Loophole," acknowledge and help counter climate change, find solutions for homelessness, ensure funding for Planned Parenthood and raise the minimum wage. His full platform can be found here

South Dakota 

Republican: John Thune

Thune is the incumbent and is most focused on Indian Affairs in South Dakota, improving rail service and helping small businesses and working families. Here's how he sided in office. 

Democrat: Jay Williams

Among Williams' key issues are supporting Native American advocacy, raising the minimum wage, reducing income inequality and fighting climate change. More issues can be found on his website

Tennessee

There are no national senate races in Tennessee this year.

Texas

There are no national senate races in Texas this year.

Utah

Republican: Mike Lee

Lee holds the incumbent seat this election. Other than being pro-life, his main issues are protecting the First and Second Amendment as well as public land. To see how he voted in office, visit this site. 

Democrat: Misty Snow

Misty Snow is the first transgender candidate running for the U.S. Senate. She is from a working class family and her main issues are women's rights, LGBT equality, a higher minimum wage and the legalization of marijuana. More of her platform can be found here

Vermont

Republican: Scott Milne

Milne, interestingly enough, does not have his issues listed on his campaign website, but you can find some here. He is pro-life, against free birth control and a supporter of the death penalty. 

Democrat: Patrick Leahy

Leahy, the incumbent, has an education plan that includes incorporating better food in cafeterias using the farm-to-school program. He wants to expand on renewable energy, start community recycling projects, protect Lake Champlain and work on poverty throughout the world. Here is how he handled issues in office. 

Virginia

There are no national senate races in Virginia this year.

Washington

Republican: Chris Vance

As stated on his website, his top priorities are reducing the debt, growing our economy and saving the existence of Social Security and Medicaid. His stances on same-sex marriage, abortion and marijuana are more liberal leaning, though. 

Democrat: Patty Murray

To see how the incumbent has used her voice in office, you can click here. Murray has a past in education which makes her put students first. She is a fighter for equal protection under the law for everyone, ensures promises are kept between the government and Native Tribes and is big on women's rights. 

West Virginia

There are no national senate races in West Virgina this year.

Wisconsin

Republican: Ron Johnson

This pro-life incumbent wants to ensure Wisconsin products are still being made and sold easily, believes defense to be the top priority of America and is strongly against Obamacare. To find out how he has stood on issues while in office, direct yourself here

Democrat: Russ Feingold

Feingold is big on women's rights, and his Badger Innovation plans to improve roads and bridges, which will help small businesses. He also wants to close special interest loopholes and ensures retirement security for senior citizens. His full platform can be found here

Wyoming

There are no national senate races in Wyoming this year.

Make sure you are well informed on the candidates running before you mark them on the ballot. Don't mark the candidate that seems the most familiar. It only takes ten minutes to inform yourself and help your state out!

Lead Image Credit: Taken via Pixabay

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Melissa Cordell - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Melissa Cordell is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science and Peace, War & Defense, with a Women's Studies minor. She loves working on campaigns, activism and writing. Follow her on Instagram @meldelissacor and Twitter @MM_Cordell!

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