Rothenberg’s End of the Year Awards for 2014

by Stuart Rothenberg December 3, 2014 · 3:29 PM EST

Well, we’ve made it through another strange political year — and let’s face it, they are all strange — so it’s time for me to devote another column to picking the best, the worst and the weirdest candidates, campaigns and outcomes of the year.

As always, I will select a few nominees and offer my own winner. If you don’t agree, feel free to send an email complaining to someone else. Just not me.

Biggest Surprise of 2014

The nominees:

  • Dave Brat over Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia’s 7th District GOP primary
  • Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage re-elected
  • The University of Connecticut men win the 2014 basketball national championship by defeating Iowa State, Michigan State, Florida and Kentucky.
  • Sen. Thad Cochran over Chris McDaniel in Mississippi’s GOP Senate primary
  • Larry Hogan Jr. over Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for Maryland governor

My winner: UCONN, obviously.

The Worst Campaign of 2014

The nominees:

  • Martha Robertson, D-N.Y.
  • Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
  • Ed FitzGerald, D-Ohio
  • Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.

My winner: Udall.

Most Overrated

The nominees:

  • Almost every Democrat running in Arkansas
  • Terri Lynn Land, R-Mich.
  • Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa
  • Stuart Rothenberg, Rothenberg Political Report
  • Alison Lundergan Grimes, D-Ky.
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Ann E. Callis, D-Ill.

My winner: All deserving nominees, so it’s a seven-way tie.

Underrated for Too Long

The nominees:

  • Joni Ernst, R-Iowa
  • Seth Moulton, D-Mass.
  • Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.
  • Brad Ashford, D-Neb.

My winner: Moulton, but I still can’t believe Grimm won comfortably.

Most “Memorable” Candidate Interview of the Cycle

The nominees:

  • Lee Bright, R-S.C.
  • Annette Bosworth, R-S.D.
  • Brad Hutto, D-S.C.
  • Mead Treadwell, R-Alaska
  • Gary Kiehne, R-Ariz.

My winner: There were no winners among this group, which ranged from hopefuls who were angry and bitter, to possibly delusional and silly and out of touch. But they were all memorable, certainly, and even entertaining, in a bizarre way.

Name I Misspelled or Mispronounced Most Often

The nominees:

  • Richard Tisei, R-Mass.
  • Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa
  • Sen. Kay Hagen, er, Hagan, D-N.C.
  • Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni
  • Corey, damn it, Cory Gardiner, um, Gardner
  • Joanie, I mean Joani, er, no, Joni Ernst

My winner: It’s a three-way tie between Gardner, Hagan and E

Worst Analysis of the Cycle

The nominees:

  • “Twitter can predict elections.”
  • “Democrats have a 90 percent chance of holding the Senate.”
  • “Thom Tillis can’t win.”
  • “Scott Brown can win.”

My winner: Anything involving Twitter.

Isn’t It Time to Stop Running?

The nominees:

  • Martha Coakley, D-Mass.
  • Tony Strickland, R-Calif.
  • Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.
  • Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.
  • Robert Griffin III
  • Charlie Crist, R/I/D-Fla.

My winner: Yes, all of them.

Best Candidate of the Cycle

The nominees:

  • Jeff Gorell, R-Calif.
  • Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
  • Gwen Graham, D-Fla.
  • Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

My winner: All quality candidates, but I’m picking Gardner.

Most Likely to be Sued, Indicted or Incarcerated Before Next Election Day

The nominees:

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
  • President Barack Obama
  • Stuart Rothenberg

My winner: I assert my constitutional right against self-incrimination.