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Rothenberg’s End of the Year Awards for 2014

Braley is a nominee for most over-rated campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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, Louisville 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. (See our interviews from this cycle below.)  

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_sEtMR4aiVeuHbqq4B5dD8t9W3CpfkIu  

   

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 Ernst.  

   

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.  

   

Related: Meet 3 Divergent House Candidates Worth Watching Republican Senate Hopefuls Vary in Quality, Approach Not Your Typical Southern Democrat in South Carolina The Most Divided House District in New York Awards for the Best and Worst of Politics of 2013 2012's Best and Worst, Part 1 2012's Best and Worst, Part 2 2011 Archives: Best and Worst What Did — and Didn’t — Surprise Me This Cycle Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Be the first to know about Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race rating changes with our new Roll Call politics app!