Parties Fight for U.S. Senate Majority

Republicans are vying hard to capture 51 seats in the U.S. Senate. Likely holding onto their House majority, a Senate victory would prove incredibly useful for them — even moreso if Mitt Romney were to win the Presidency, in what remains a very tight contest. Indiana is now a focal point as Richard Mourdock and Joe Donnelly are also in a remarkably close race. Brandon J. Gaylord of the Daily Caller opines on the chances of both parties:

Until “legitimate rape” became part of the political lexicon, the Republican path to a Senate majority was straightforward. Take the four Democratic seats in Nebraska, North Dakota, Missouri, and Montana, while accepting a loss in Maine, for a net of +3 Senate seats. This would create an even 50/50 split in the Senate. From that baseline the GOP would have needed to hold Scott Brown’s seat and win just one of the toss-ups in Wisconsin or Virginia. Other, less favorable options were open in Florida and Ohio.

In the past month, much has changed on the Senate landscape, but I’m still projecting the GOP will pick up three seats this November. Missouri is no longer a GOP lock. In fact, it barely qualifies as a toss-up. However, Republicans have expanded the map to compensate for the loss of one of their most favorable pick-up opportunities. In Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson survived his primary and is a consistent favorite over the Democrat, Tammy Baldwin. Josh Mandel in Ohio and Linda McMahon in Connecticut have drawn even with their Democratic opponents in recent polling. The races in Virginia and Massachusetts have hardly budged and remain true toss-ups.

Democrats have also received encouraging news. Besides a much better chance to keep Missouri, Bob Nelson is maintaining his lead in Florida, although his numbers are still very shaky for an incumbent. Democrats are also hopeful that a new round of polling will validate favorable surveys taken over the summer in Indiana and North Dakota. Despite Republicans being expected to win in North Dakota and Nebraska, Democrats believe they have superior candidates and fundraising. In Nevada, Shelley Berkley’s ethics problems have not yet hurt her campaign. She consistently trails her Republican opponent, incumbent Dean Heller, by less than five points.

Poll Time: Health Care Vote; Lugar-Mourdock Race

We’re not sure whether participants in our recent poll voted with their heads or their hearts. But it is not ours to judge, only to report the results.

We asked your opinion on how the Supreme Court would rule on the federal health care reform. (Arguments were heard in late March; a decision is expected by June).

The results:

  • 59% say the law will be struck down entirely
  • 27% believe the individual mandate provision will be ruled unconstitutional
  • Less than 5% chose the other two options — law will be upheld or Medicaid expansion negated

Thanks for those who took part. At right, for the next few days at least, is the opportunity to cast your vote on the U.S. Senate primary between Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock. Who will win and by what margin? Let us know what you think.

Employee Ownership an Attractive Option for Some

Even though an "ESOP" may sound like a Far Eastern rice dish or some kind of crazy wizard-varmint found in a J.K. Rowling tale, it’s actually an acronym for "Employee Stock Ownership Plan." And as Indiana businesses look for more ways to reward their employees, ESOPs are becoming more attractive for those who fit the criteria. In fact, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is leading a charge to promote ESOPs throughout the state as a way to benefit employees and keep businesses in the state.

While many businesses in the Midwest do see ESOPs as a viable option, the adoption process can be complicated. Because of this, financial advisors stress the importance of being diligent when implementing ESOPs, as negligence in the beginning stages can beget myriad headaches in a business’ future.

For the full story in BizVoice magazine, click here