Want more information on some of the most competitive races of the 2018 Midterm Elections? Our Political Team has researched and compiled the brief profiles of each of the most influential candidates below for just that reason. Learn who is running for a handful of the most contentious Senate seats and what their platform is. Also, don’t forget to vote on November 6th.

 

Florida

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Bill Nelson (Democrat, Incumbent)

Age: 75 

Birthplace: Orlando, FL 

Current Residency: Miami, FL 

Current Office/Jobs: U.S. Senator for FL since 2001. 

Schooling: Yale University (BA); University of Virginia (JD) 

Family: Has a wife, Grace Nelson and two kids, Bill Jr. (BIG oof) and Nan Ellen, both grown now. 

Connections/Party Ties: McCaskill, Claire (D - MO), Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (D - NY), Donnelly, Joe (D - IN), Kaine, Tim (D - VA), Warren, Elizabeth (D – MA); Committee on Armed Forces 

Ideology: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 8 — Solid liberal 

Specific Positions on Topics: Abortion as a woman’s right, and energy and the environment- his largest voting record is focused on energy and regulations for the environment. Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence. Talking points include real focus on the environment (as seen) and extra legwork to reach out to seniors 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Florida state treasurer; fire marshal; and most interestingly an Astronaut

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Rick Scott (Republican)

Age: 60 

Birthplace: Bloomington, IL 

Current Residency: Tallahassee, FL 

Current Office/Jobs: Governor of FL 

Schooling: University of Missouri-Kansas City (BA); Southern Methodist University (JD) 

Family: Ann Scott is his wife, has two daughters, Allison and Jordan, and six whole grandchildren. 

Connections/Party Ties: He seems to be (relatively) an outsider; Previously worked at a big law firm in Dallas specializing in oil, health care, gas and communication companies; Started a conservative advocacy for patient’s rights; Seems to be centered around healthcare 

Ideology: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 3 

Specific Positions on Topics: Minimization of government; pay cuts for public servants; health care administration was highest funded agency on the budget. Hot water with environmental advocates because of a red tide that hit Florida in August, allocated 1.2 million to a hatchery to mitigate the problem; doesn’t reveal a partisan emphasis; defensive about his environmental past 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Businessman; Lawyer


Arizona

Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat)

Age: 42

Birthplace: Tucson, AZ 

Current Office/Jobs: Representative for AZ-09 

Schooling: Undergraduate and Graduate Brigham Young University (BA); Arizona State University (MA) 

Connections/Party Ties: Assigned to the House committee of Financial Services, no major players on that field. She does her work efficiently and quietly. 

Ideology: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 7. Progressive 

Specific Positions on Topics: Main talking points include a huge emphasis on education, and making that affordable. Diversity in public state schools. Interesting focus on ‘fixing’ the VA problems, in combination with the regular suspects in progressive democratic platforms (commonsense immigration, affordable healthcare, etc.) 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Taught as ASU 

Previous History in Presidential Primaries & Results: N/A 

Legislation Sponsored/Enacted: LGBT equality caucus; reauthorized VAWA; voted NAY Gosar Anti-DACA Amendment to H.R. 5293

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Martha McSally (Republican)

Age: 52 

Birthplace: Providence, RI 

Current State of Residency: AZ 

Current Office/Jobs: AZ representative 

Schooling: US Air Force Academy (BA); Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (MA); U.S. Air War College in Public Policy and Strategic Studies 

Family: Divorced. Donald F. Henry (1997-1999). No Children 

Connections/Party Ties: Committee on Armed Forces, no huge names. 

Ideology: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 4 Just right of moderate. 

Specific Positions on Topics: Separation at the border, this is her flagship issue; to her, AZ is the frontlines in the attempt to ‘secure’ the southwest border. "I try not get swayed by what the emotions are or the pressure. I really try to look at the policy issues." (…) Big enough on female leadership, something that the GOP lacks in general. Lots of focus on her military “firsts” as fighter pilot. 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Colonel in the Air Force. 


Texas

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Beto O’Rourke (Democrat)

Age: 45 

Birthplace: El Paso, Texas 

Current Residency: El Paso, Texas 

Current Office/Jobs: Representative from Texas’s 16th district 

Schooling: Columbia University (BA) 

Family: Married Amy Hoover Sanders in 2005; has three children. He is a fourth-generation Irish-American. 

Connections/Party Ties: Generally viewed favorably by the Democratic Party; served as a superdelegate to the DNC in 2016. Endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, but also receives strong support from the far-left wing of the party. Serves on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees. Member of the New Democrat Coalition (moderate/centrist) and Congressional Arts Caucus. 

Ideology Spectrum: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 7 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Member of the El Paso City Council from the 8th District 

Previous History in Presidential Primaries & Results: N/A 

Legislation Sponsored/Enacted: Primary sponsor of the enacted Express Appeals Act (H.R. 2311), which deals with VA disability compensation, as well as some other minor legislation. Per GovTrack, 51% of bills he has sponsored have dealt with armed forces and national security. 

Notable policies: Went viral with his endorsement of Colin Kaepernick’s protest. Has called for an end to cash bail. Has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood. Supports immigration reform and says protecting DREAMers is a “top priority.”

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Ted Cruz (Republican, Incumbent)

Age: 47 

Birthplace: Calgary, Canada Current place of residency: Houston, Texas 

Current Office/Jobs: U.S. Senator from Texas 

Schooling: Princeton University (AB); Harvard University (JD) 

Family: Married Heidi Nelson in 2001 and has two children. His mother is of Irish and Italian descent and his father is from Cuba, but left in 1957 and now holds U.S. and Canadian citizenship. 

Connections/Party Ties: Unpopular with most of his Senate colleagues, particularly McConnell and Senate leadership. Very popular within Tea Party circles. Has a few noteworthy Senate al-lies, such as Mike Lee (R-UT). Sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Trans-portation, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, the Armed Ser-vices Committee, and the Rules Committee. 

Ideology Spectrum: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 1.5 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Solicitor General of Texas (2003-2008) 

Previous History in Presidential Primaries & Results: Finished 2nd in the 2016 Republican Presi-dential Primary 

Legislation Sponsored/Enacted: Primary sponsor of the relief bill related to Hurri-canes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as other minor legislation. Most of the legislation he has sponsored is related to international affairs and immigration. 

Notable policies: Very socially conservative— is “strongly pro-life” and vehemently opposes same-sex marriage. Strong critic of government spending, social welfare, and Obamacare. Wants to audit the Fed. Adamant opponent of the Iran Deal.


Tennessee

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Phil Bredesen (Democrat)

Age: 74 

Birthplace: Oceanport, New Jersey 

Current State of Residency: Tennessee (since 1975) 

Current Office/Jobs: Chairman of a solar energy plant developer 

Schooling: Harvard University (BA) 

Family: Married to Susan Cleaves from 1968 to 1974; married to Andrea Conte from 1974 to present. He has one son. 

Connections/Party Ties: Worked on the Euguene McCarthy presidential campaign in 1968. Unsuccessfully ran for Massachusetts State Senate in 1969. Having never served in a national office, he has few noteworthy party ties; nevertheless, he is certainly the most influential and popular Tennessee Democrat. 

Ideology Spectrum: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 5 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Governor of Tennessee (2003-2011); Mayor of Nashville (1991-1999) 

Legislation Sponsored/Enacted: Focused heavily on improving education during his governorship. Cut spending often during his tenure, particularly in the healthcare sector. 

Notable policies: A centrist who usually leans conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues. He is pro-choice, in favor of capital punishment, opposed Medicaid expansion, opposed Trump’s tax cuts, and recently endorsed gun background checks and a bump stock ban.

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Marsha Blackburn (Republican)

Age: 66 

Birthplace: Laurel, MS 

Current Residency: Brentwood, TN. 

Current Office/Jobs: Representative for TN-07 since 2002 

Schooling, Undergraduate and Graduate: Mississippi State University (BS) 

Family: Married to Chuck Blackburn, has two children, Mary and Chad.

Connections/Party Ties: House representative since 2002, assigned to the Energy and Commerce Committee on the hill, serving with Steve Scalise (R-LA), Joe Barton (R-TX) 

Ideology: 1 (most conservative) - 10 (most liberal): 2 

Previous Offices/Jobs: Career Politician. 

Notable policies endorsed/condemned: Big focus on veterans in her talking points; Rated A by the NRA, indicating a strong pro-gun rights standard; Voted yes to building a fence along Mexico’s border; very anti-abortion, etc.