Swing states across the American electoral map repudiated Republican candidates for the United States Senate Tuesday, sending many to defeat and allowing Democrats to strengthen their hold on the nation’s upper legislative chamber. One of the major arguments across key races was over the future of America’s tax code and whether the wealthy needed to pay their fair share or, in some instances, if they should instead receive another tax cut.
Here are four GOP Senate candidates who lost the argument over taxes last night:
1. Sen. Scott Brown — Massachusetts: Massachusetts’ junior senator lost his race to Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren (D) after being repeatedly hit for his opposition to raising taxes on millionaires and for his opposition to a payroll tax cut extension that would have largely benefited the middle class. Taxes were the “sharpest difference” between the two, according to the Boston Globe, and Warren ran ads against Brown’s filibuster of the payroll tax cut extension and in debates tied him to Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who authored a radical no-taxes pledge. While Brown opposed raising taxes on the wealthy, that policy was a “central plank” of the victorious Warren’s campaign.
2. Linda McMahon — Connecticut: McMahon, a former professional wrestling executive, released a tax plan that was virtually identical to presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s. And like Romney, McMahon pitched her plan as a tax cut for the middle class even as it provided massive tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations. McMahon often misrepresented the details of that plan, particularly when her opponent, Rep. Chris Murphy (D), challenged her in debates.
3. Tommy Thompson — Wisconsin: Thomspon also faced criticism from his opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), for his support of Norquist’s tax pledge, which he seemed to misunderstand in one debate when he stated that it did not prohibit increasing taxes on the wealthy. While Baldwin was a sponsor of the Buffett Rule, President Obama’s plan to institute a minimum tax on millionaires, Thompson supported new tax cuts for the rich.
4. Josh Mandel — Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) repeatedly hit Mandel for his support of Norquist’s tax pledge. “Signing a pledge to a fat-cat lobbyist like Grover Norquist is essentially giving away your right to think,” Brown said to Mandel during one of their debates. Mandel called for the elimination of the estate tax and reductions in investment and corporate tax rates, both giveaways to the rich. Mandel also called for a “flatter, fairer” tax code, the type of change that would almost surely raise taxes on low- and middle-income voters while giving the rich a huge tax cut.