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Minnesota


SoS Ritchie and Rep. Emmer Share Thoughts on Minnesota Election Reform

Last Friday four of Minnesota's prominent leaders on election reform convened at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs to discuss what work needs to be done for the Gopher State to improve on its nationally renowned election system. Moderated by Lawrence Jacobs, Director of the Institute's Center for the Study...

How Do Politicians Use Twitter? A Case Study of Rep. Laura Brod

Minnesota politicians (and the news media) increasingly used Twitter to communicate to their respective audiences during the 2009 legislative session in St. Paul. Some news outlets, such as Politics in Minnesota, tweeted thousands of policy updates and commentaries on the burgeoning social network, while politicians used it, at times, as...

What Goes Up, Goes Down Slowly: A Long Road to Recovering Job Losses in Minnesota

With new unemployment numbers set to be released on Thursday, Minnesotans are bracing for news as to whether the state will continue to follow the leveling-off pattern of job losses from the last 3 months, or whether unemployment will rise closer in line to the nation overall (currently at 9.5...

What Will Be the 'Obama Effect' on the 2010 Minnesota Gubernatorial Race?

The recent news of Barack Obama's sliding approval ratings across key battleground states (e.g. Ohio, Virginia) as well as the nation (e.g. Gallup, Rasmussen) has raised the question as to what effect a potentially less popular (if not unpopular) President Obama will have on key statewide and Congressional contests during...

Bachmann Voting Record Is 2nd Least Supportive of Obama in U.S. House

Last month a Smart Politics analysis of the most conservative members of the U.S. House (as determined by National Journal's annual rankings) found Representative Michele Bachmann to have received the smallest margin of victory of the 44 most conservative Republicans who won reelection in 2008. That blog explained how none...

Sen. Rest and Rep. Emmer to Speak on U.S. Senate Recount and MN Election Reform

Two leaders from the State Capitol will be speaking at a forum hosted by the Humphrey Institute on Friday morning to pinpoint reforms that could be made in the Minnesota election system to avoid recount pitfalls in the future. DFL Senator Ann Rest (Chair of the Senate State and Local...

Minnesota's 'Youthful' U.S. House Delegation

A recent article at CQ Politics profiled the potential competitiveness of Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District race in 2010. That district's Representative, freshman GOPer Erik Paulsen, is one of several dozen new faces elected to D.C. during the past two election cycles. Overall, 114 Representatives, or more than 25 percent of...

Minnesota Delegation Has 2nd Lowest Collective Seniority Ranking in U.S. Senate

The soon-to-be seated DFL U.S. Senator Al Franken will now be able to assist Senior Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar with the state's constituency caseload, but will not enhance the state's collective seniority ranking in Capitol Hill's upper chamber. Minnesota has the 2nd lowest level of seniority among the 50 states,...

It's the Snowball Fights: Minnesota Has Lowest Rate of Overweight Children in America

While Minnesota recently lost its #1 ranking to Wisconsin for the state with the best quality of health care nationwide, a new study released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveals the Gopher State to have the lowest percentage of overweight and obese...

Putting a Bow on the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Contest (A Historical Analysis)

With Governor Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie signing the election certificate for the U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday evening, the 2008 Election is, after a 238-day wait, at last in the books. The 2008 U.S. Senate Election is noteworthy, of course, for its historic narrow margin of...

Norm Coleman Ends 2008 Election Legal Fight

Speaking outside his house in St. Paul on Tuesday afternoon, former Republican Senator Norm Coleman congratulated DFLer Al Franken as the new Senator from the Gopher State. Earlier this afternoon the Minnesota Supreme Court decided Franken was "entitled" to a certificate as the winner of the November election. Coleman also...

Wisconsin Overtakes Minnesota as #1 State in Health Care Quality Rankings

The newly released 2008 state rankings by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) finds the State of Wisconsin has passed Minnesota for overall health care quality in the United States. Minnesota, ranked #2 in 2008, was the top state in...

Why Doesn't Amy Klobuchar Run for Governor?

Despite overwhelming success in federal and state elections during the past few decades, the DFL may have missed its best chances (in 1998, 2006) to win a gubernatorial election in the Gopher State. Excluding gubernatorial contests, the DFL has won 72 percent of statewide elections (21 of 29) since the...

Is New GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers Politically Vulnerable?

The Minnesota House Republican's selection of Kurt Zellers (32B-Maple Grove) as their new Minority Leader may not be unusual in terms of the 4-term legislator's political ideology (conservative) or policy positions (pro tax cuts and fiscal responsibility), but it is unusual within the context of his electoral track record and...

Iowa Endures Largest Monthly Increase in Unemployment in Quarter Century

The new numbers released late last week by Iowa Workforce Development continue to highlight the worst employment trend the Hawkeye State has faced in more than three decades. Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 5.1 in April to 5.8 percent in May - the biggest net and percentage increase...

Minnesota U.S. Senate Race Still Fodder for Late-Night Comedians

Now seven and a half months out from Election Day, the U.S. Senate contest between DFLer Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman is still providing a few yucks on late-night television. In recent weeks, Bill Maher has been a virtual Norm Coleman joke factory on his Real Time with Bill...

Is the Minnesota US House Delegation Voting More Conservatively?

With the DFL winning a string of 9 consecutive presidential elections, 4 out of 5 U.S. Senate contests (counting Al Franken), and netting 35 state House and 11 state Senate seats since 2002, Minnesota has been frequently characterized as an increasingly "Democratic-leaning" state. The outputs of the DFL's electoral success...

Pawlenty Unallotment Strategy, Decision Not to Run in 2010 Have Little Impact on Approval Ratings

Just as Tim Pawlenty's announcement that he would use an unallotment strategy to resolve the state's budget crisis had little impact on his approval ratings in late May, his decision to not seek a third term as Minnesota's Governor also seems to have had little impact on his approval ratings...

Minnesota, Wisconsin Lead Nation in Largest Proportion of House Committee Leadership Posts

U.S. Representative John Kline's (MN-02) election this week as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor further established the Gopher State's House delegation as one of the most powerful in the nation. Minnesota now has 3 of its 8 U.S. Representatives holding chairmanships or the...

Obama Approval Rating Dips Below 60 Percent in Minnesota

It took nearly half a year, but President Barack Obama's approval rating finally fell below the 60 percent mark in the Gopher State, according to the latest round of monthly polls conducted by SurveyUSA. Obama had previously notched an approval rating between 61 and 64 percent during the first...



Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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