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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...

How Will Pawlenty's Unallotment Impact State's Higher Ed Ranking?

When Governor Tim Pawlenty proposed a collective unallotment of $100 million to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system on Tuesday, higher education officials breathed a short sigh of relief. After the end of session a month ago, Pawlenty speculated an additional $190 million...

Why Michele Bachmann's Political Ideology Is the Boldest Among U.S. House Republicans

Continuing to serve as a lightning rod for the political left in the Gopher State, the month of June has seen Representative Michele Bachmann maintain her remarkably high profile among not only the Minnesota Congressional delegation, but also nationally among her GOP colleagues throughout the U.S. House. Earlier this...

Minneapolis Index Crime Rate Falls 18 Percent from April 2008

The Minneapolis Police Department's official Uniform Crime Report data for April 2009 finds crime in Minnesota's largest city down 18 percent from one year ago. The 18 percent 12-month drop is the largest in the city dating back more than two years to February 2007, when crime was down 23.9...

Minnesota, Western States Lead Nation in Male Population; Vote for GOP Governors

In one of the quirkier statistical findings reported by this blog, a new Smart Politics analysis of Census Bureau data finds that all twelve states in the country in which the male population is equal to or greater than that of the female population are located west of the Mississippi...

How Do We Judge Governor Pawlenty's Political Legacy?

As Tim Pawlenty completes the remaining 18+ months of his second term, before venturing into (politically or financially) greener pastures, he has vowed to "Continue to spend every day doing what's right for them. Minnesota will get my very best until I'm done. There is much important and difficult work...

Does Marty Seifert Represent a 'Swing District?'

GOPer Marty Seifert (21A-Marshall) announced yesterday that he would be stepping down as Minority Leader of the House of Representatives on June 24th, explaining he did not think it was appropriate to represent his caucus while contemplating a new position - that of governor of the Gopher State. While stating...

From T-Paw to J-Ram: Is Jim Ramstad the GOP's Answer in 2010?

Tim Pawlenty's decision Tuesday not to seek an unprecedented third 4-year term as Governor of the Gopher State not only emboldened the candidacies of the long list of DFLers already on the campaign trail, but also raised the issue as to what type of candidate the Republican Party should run...

Minnesota and Upper Midwest Being Spared the Worst of US Job Loss Crisis

While Minnesota and the rest of the Upper Midwestern states are still in the midst of enduring some of the largest unemployment rates each has endured for many years, most of the region is historically doing quite well on the employment front when compared to the situation of the country...

Is Conservatism on the Rise in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest?

While the last two election cycles have seen Upper Midwestern Republicans lose seats in state legislatures, lose seats to the U.S. House, and lose statewide elections for the U.S. Senate and the presidency, the conservative brand seems to be catching fire once again. A Smart Politics analysis of more than...

Pro-Life Stance on the Rise in Minnesota, Upper Midwest

A Gallup Poll released last Friday made headlines for its finding that a majority of Americans now identify themselves as “pro-life” as opposed to “pro-choice” on the issue of abortion, marking the first time that “pro-life” has been in the majority over the course of the last 15 years...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time Since May '08

On the heels of the positive developments in South Dakota, which also saw its unemployment rate drop in April, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced on Thursday morning that the Gopher State’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 8.1 percent. The slight employment...

The 'W' Word: Seifert Says DFL Ran the Legislature Like Democrats in Washington

In his final media availability at the Capitol for 2009, House GOP Minority Leader Marty Seifert cast a very critical look in his (Tuesday) morning quarterbacking of the 86th Legislative session for 2009. Calling it "a session of lost opportunity," Seifert continuously employed downbeat prose in his review of the...

Minnesota Legislature on Pace for Most Days in Session by Decade

One of the reasons cited by Governor Tim Pawlenty in his recent declaration that there will be no special session this year to resolve the state's budget crisis, is that he does not believe residents of the Gopher State should endure the additional costs associated with calling the legislature into...

Republicans in Competitive Districts Opposed Pogemiller Redistricting Bill; Safe GOPers Supported Reform

When DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller saw his redistricting reform bill (SF 182) pass on a 39-28 roll call vote last Friday, he nearly needed one of the five votes cast by Republicans in favor of the bill. While a nearly equal amount of DFLers voted against the bill...



Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


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