U.S. Senator-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO) speaks with friends and family behind him after being declared the winner in the race at the Colorado Republican party's election night event at the Denver Tech Center Hyatt on November 4, 2014. Gardner defeated incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).National Journal

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Q: Which Republican Senate candidate ran the strongest campaign?

In the week leading up to the election, we asked Insiders which Senate candidate they thought ran the strongest campaign—regardless of the outcome. (W=Won; L=Lost; P=Pending at press time.)

Sen.-elect Cory Gardner (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)DEMOCRATS (79)

Shelley Moore Capito (W): 8%Tom Cotton (W): 3%Joni Ernst (W): 30%Cory Gardner (W): 39%Mitch McConnell (W): 11%Dan Sullivan (P): 1%Other: 8%

Shelley Moore Capito

"She had this wrapped up from [the] beginning ... smart, savvy, and sophisticated."

"Textbook—offered a good positive—just enough negative not to backfire—and zero gaffes."

Tom Cotton

"Even though he's in a red-trending state, he's been able to strike a contrast with the incumbent without totally alienating the natural Clinton base."

Joni Ernst

"Swing voters are like raccoons—they like bright shiny new objects. Ernst is, [Bruce] Braley isn't."

"Been a model for how to appeal to women, for a Republican woman candidate, and [for] how to turn back war on women."

Cory Gardner

"Tight, disciplined, sunny, and optimistic. I SO hate to say it, but he's been brilliant."

"He may not pull it off, but he has been extremely effective in every way."

Mitch McConnell

"Difficult for a guy who isn't well-liked to somehow remain on top."

Other

"Scott Brown. It's close (as a neighboring state), and it shouldn't be."

Q: Which Republican Senate candidate ran the strongest campaign?

In the week leading up to the election, we asked Insiders which Senate candidate they thought ran the strongest campaign—regardless of the outcome. (W=Won; L=Lost; P=Pending at press time.)

REPUBLICANS (90)

Shelley Moore Capito (W): 13%Tom Cotton (W): 2%Joni Ernst (W): 27%Cory Gardner (W): 26%Mitch McConnell (W): 26%Dan Sullivan (P): 3%Other: 3%

Shelley Moore Capito

"Race flawlessly executed and never came on the radar screen."

Joni Ernst

"She's running in blue territory and very effectively engineered from no-name to one of the top candidates in the country."

"Ernst and Cotton are clearly the national GOP stars on the rise this cycle."

Cory Gardner

"Gardner turned an uphill race in a state Obama carried comfortably into a legitimate shot to win."

"Gardner has found a winning path in a pretty blue state. He's made [Mark] Udall look out of touch by comparison."

Mitch McConnell

"With little margin for error—in either the primary or general—his strategy and tactical execution has been flawless."

"No candidate has had to deal with the challenges he has faced. He has played three-dimensional chess for four years and bested all comers."

Dan Sullivan

"Sullivan and Gardner have both run standout efforts this year. Virtually flawless."

Other

"Scott Brown ... (and all of the above)."

. . . . . . .

Democratic Political Insiders  Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders  Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

Q: Which Republican Senate candidate ran the strongest campaign?

In the week leading up to the election, we asked Insiders which Senate candidate they thought ran the strongest campaign—regardless of the outcome. (W=Won; L=Lost; P=Pending at press time.)

Sen.-elect Cory Gardner (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)DEMOCRATS (79)

Shelley Moore Capito (W): 8%Tom Cotton (W): 3%Joni Ernst (W): 30%Cory Gardner (W): 39%Mitch McConnell (W): 11%Dan Sullivan (P): 1%Other: 8%

Shelley Moore Capito

"She had this wrapped up from [the] beginning ... smart, savvy, and sophisticated."

"Textbook—offered a good positive—just enough negative not to backfire—and zero gaffes."

Tom Cotton

"Even though he's in a red-trending state, he's been able to strike a contrast with the incumbent without totally alienating the natural Clinton base."

Joni Ernst

"Swing voters are like raccoons—they like bright shiny new objects. Ernst is, [Bruce] Braley isn't."

"Been a model for how to appeal to women, for a Republican woman candidate, and [for] how to turn back war on women."

Cory Gardner

"Tight, disciplined, sunny, and optimistic. I SO hate to say it, but he's been brilliant."

"He may not pull it off, but he has been extremely effective in every way."

Mitch McConnell

"Difficult for a guy who isn't well-liked to somehow remain on top."

Other

"Scott Brown. It's close (as a neighboring state), and it shouldn't be."

Q: Which Republican Senate candidate ran the strongest campaign?

In the week leading up to the election, we asked Insiders which Senate candidate they thought ran the strongest campaign—regardless of the outcome. (W=Won; L=Lost; P=Pending at press time.)

REPUBLICANS (90)

Shelley Moore Capito (W): 13%Tom Cotton (W): 2%Joni Ernst (W): 27%Cory Gardner (W): 26%Mitch McConnell (W): 26%Dan Sullivan (P): 3%Other: 3%

Shelley Moore Capito

"Race flawlessly executed and never came on the radar screen."

Joni Ernst

"She's running in blue territory and very effectively engineered from no-name to one of the top candidates in the country."

"Ernst and Cotton are clearly the national GOP stars on the rise this cycle."

Cory Gardner

"Gardner turned an uphill race in a state Obama carried comfortably into a legitimate shot to win."

"Gardner has found a winning path in a pretty blue state. He's made [Mark] Udall look out of touch by comparison."

Mitch McConnell

"With little margin for error—in either the primary or general—his strategy and tactical execution has been flawless."

"No candidate has had to deal with the challenges he has faced. He has played three-dimensional chess for four years and bested all comers."

Dan Sullivan

"Sullivan and Gardner have both run standout efforts this year. Virtually flawless."

Other

"Scott Brown ... (and all of the above)."

. . . . . . .

Democratic Political Insiders  Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders  Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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