Written and Produced by Inside Radio
The final numbers in Tuesday’s voting will not be tallied for days or weeks, but the preliminary election returns show several politicians with close ties to radio have emerged as winners. They will help broadcasters make sure the industry is heard in Washington during the coming years. As the counting continues, here is a look at how some politicians with radio ties did during Tuesday’s election:
Jody Hice Holds On In Georgia
Before being elected to Congress in 2014, Jody Hice’s “Let Freedom Ring” show – based at WIMO, Bethlehem, GA (1300) – was syndicated to about 400 stations. That show has been on hiatus since Hice went to Washington and on Tuesday the Republican lawmaker won another term, beating Democrat Tabitha Johnson-Green by a 62% to 30% margin. It was a rematch of a race the two candidates had in 2018 with a nearly identical result. Hice is also a Southern Baptist pastor.
Rick Crawford Ran Unopposed In Arkansas
Rick Crawford, owner of the AgWatch Network, which provides farm news in five Mid-South states, was swept into Congress as part of the Republican takeover in 2010. On Tuesday he was assured a new term since, unlike two years ago, Crawford ran unopposed in the conservative Arkansas district he represents. Before he started his own company, Crawford hosted on-air agri-business programs for more than a decade. He earlier worked in Washington as a member of the Secret Service on security details protecting Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Billy Long Gets Fifth Term In Missouri
Republican Billy Long hosted a talk show on “News Talk 560” KWTO Springfield, MO before making the jump to an elected office. He’ll remain in politics for at least another two years. Long held onto the seventh congressional district Tuesday, winning 69% of the votes cast and defeating Democratic challenger Teresa Montseny, who received 27% of the votes.
Jason Lewis Loses Minnesota Comeback Bid
Jason Lewis spent two decades as the host of his own radio talk show until he went to Washington as a member of the House. He lost his re-election effort in 2018 and on Tuesday voters in Minnesota rejected his attempt to take one of the state’s seats in the Senate. Democrat Tina Smith defeated Lewis by a 49% to 44% margin. The vote gives Smith her first full, six-year term. She was appointed to fill a vacancy created when another radio talk show host-turned-politician – Al Franken – resigned from his Senate seat in 2017.
Before Lewis was elected to Congress in 2016, he previously hosted a “Twin Cities News Talk 1130” KTLK Minneapolis-based talk show that was syndicated nationally from 2011 to 2014. He earlier worked at cross-town KTSP and at WBT Charlotte.
Tom Emmer Wins In Minnesota
Former radio talk show host Tom Emmer won a fourth term in Congress on Tuesday. The Republican lawmaker beat Democratic newcomer Tawnja Zahradka to keep his seat by a 66% to 34% margin. Emmer – a cofounder of the Congressional Broadcasters Caucus – worked as part of the morning show on KTLK Minneapolis from 2011 until 2014 when he made headlines for quitting mid-show. Zahradka is also a former broadcaster who got into politics after her television career ended in 2017 when she brought sexual harassment and discrimination allegations against her employer.
Brendan Boyle Keeps Seat In Pennsylvania
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) still considers himself a broadcaster at heart, thanks to his time in college when he worked as an analyst for the radio broadcasts of Notre Dame football and basketball games on WNDU South Bend, IN (92.9) – which is now CHR “U-93” WNDV-FM. Boyle is also one of the cofounders of the Congressional Broadcasters Caucus. In a rematch of his 2018 race, Boyle on Tuesday defeated Republican David Torres by a 67% to 31% margin – tighter than their 79% to 21% split two years ago. Prior to heading to Washington, Boyle served in the Pennsylvania legislature.
Michael McCaul Coasts To New Term In Texas
Republican Michael McCaul may not have come out of radio, but broadcasters have seen him as a key ally since his wife is Linda McCaul, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications CEO and founder Lowry Mays. In a district that Democrats wanted to flip, McCaul nevertheless emerged a winner on Tuesday. He defeated challenger Mike Siegel by a 53% to 46% margin. It was a rematch of their 2018 race and McCaul built on his lead from two years ago.
Steve West Loses In Missouri
The host of the KCXL Kansas City (1140) weekly show “Selling Truth,” which airs around the state of Missouri, lost his bid for a seat in the state’s General Assembly. Steve West lost to Democrat Maggie Nurrenbern by a 58% to 42% margin. West previously served in Congress before losing his seat in Nov. 2018.