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Minnesota


Will Minnesotans Support the Firearms Freedom Act?

Minnesota Republican State Representative Tom Emmer (19B-Delano) introduced legislation in the House on Thursday that seeks to restrict the reach of federal firearms laws by exempting Minnesota-made firearms and ammunition that remain in the state from federal laws and regulations, including registration. In a statement released by the House GOP...

Bachmann on the State of the GOP: "Republicans are for all practical purposes irrelevant"

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is seemingly a fixture in the state and national media these days, and in particular on WWTC 1280 AM's Northern Alliance Radio Network. The Minnesota U.S. Representative appeared once again on Brian Ward and John Hinderaker's "The Headliners" program last Saturday morning to discuss excessive government spending,...

The Secret to Klobuchar's Popularity: Enduring Republican Support

The latest round of SurveyUSA monthly polling data again shows Minnesota DFL U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar holding on to her statewide support more than any of the 25 Senators tracked by the polling organization. With a 62 percent approval rating, Klobuchar is the only Senator in the group with a...

Pawlenty Disapproval Rating Rises For 5th Straight Month in SurveyUSA Polling

A few days ago, Smart Politics went into great detail to explain why the latest Star Tribune poll results did not provide persuasive evidence that Governor Tim Pawlenty was flirting with danger in terms of his statewide approval rating. That poll found Pawlenty with a +12 net approval rating -...

Why Governor Pawlenty Is Not in the 'Danger Zone'

The headline from the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll results released on Thursday morning reads: "Pawlenty's popularity loses some luster, edging toward 'danger zone'" The new poll measured Pawlenty's approval rating at 48 percent in the Gopher State, which the Star Tribune writes, "is lower than it has ever been."...

Obama Approval Rating Holding Steady in Minnesota and Blue States, Still Dropping in Red States

Barack Obama's latest approval rating in Minnesota remains in the low 60s - holding essentially, and impressively, flat for the third consecutive month, according to the latest round of polling by SurveyUSA. For the month of April, in a survey of 600 adults statewide, 63 percent of Minnesotans approve of...

'Darfur 5' in Little Jeopardy of Losing Congressional Seats

The arrest of Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison and four other members of Congress Monday morning for crossing a police line at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. brought front-page attention to the humanitarian crisis and atrocities occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan, but is not likely to bring any...

Minnesota's 'McCain 14' Split on House Tax Increase

Although House DFLers were able to push through a tax bill on Saturday to raise approximately $1.5 billion in revenue for the State of Minnesota, 20 percent of its caucus peeled off to join the Republicans in voting against the legislation. The DFL was able to pass the tax hike...

Keith Ellison Campaign Funding Data Revisited: A Response to the Congressman's Complaint

Last Friday, Congressman Keith Ellison's communications director Rick Jauert responded to recent data unearthed and analzyed by Smart Politics that Ellison was receiving an unusual amount of itemized individual contributions from out-of-state, both in Q1 2009 (when he had the highest percentage of such contributions among Minnesota's delegation), and ever...

Iowa Least Affected by Unemployment Increases in the Upper Midwest

Although the unemployment numbers released during the past week by Iowa Workforce Development find the Hawkeye State with its highest seasonally adjusted jobless rate since December 1987, Iowans are not losing their jobs at the rate endured by other Upper Midwestern states. At 5.2 percent, Iowa's current unemployment rate is...

Who Does Keith Ellison Represent? (And Why Aren't Minnesotans Funding His Campaigns?)

The FEC's Q1 2009 campaign finance data reveals several interesting facts about how Minnesota's U.S. Representatives fund their campaigns. Earlier in the week, Smart Politics documented that GOP Representative Michele Bachmann received the largest percentage of contributions from individuals and small donors among the state's U.S. House delegation, and...

Pawlenty's Political Future: When Will We Know?

Although taxes and vetoes are the talk of the town today, reporters at the State Capitol would still like to know the answer to the question: "When is Governor Tim Pawlenty going to announce his future political plans?" Most analysts and pundits, homegrown and in D.C., have come to the...

Why the Bachmann 'Revolution' Is a Grassroots Phenomenon

Heads turned last week upon the release of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's impressive Q1 2009 fundraising data - outpacing all her Gopher State colleagues by nearly $100,000. Eyes rolled on some liberal blogs yesterday after Smart Politics characterized Representative Bachmann's fundraising efforts as a sign of her success at tapping into...

Bachmann's Media Blitz Increasing Statewide, Not National, Fundraising

When the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released its Q1 2009 campaign fundraising data at the end of last week, the Minnesota media largely focused on how Michele Bachmann lead the Minnesota U.S. House delegation in contributions received. But reports on Representative Bachmann's fundraising success, and growing national profile, missed the...

Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Eclipses Minnesota for First Time Since Summer 2007

For those wondering why Wisconsin’s evaluation of the job performance of President Barack Obama, its Governor, Jim Doyle, and its U.S. Senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, has been quite critical in recent months, one may only need to stop and consider the record-setting trend in unemployment the Badger State...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Slows to Smallest Increase Since September

Although Minnesota’s new March unemployment numbers, released this morning by the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development, are the highest since May 1983, the 8.2 percent seasonally adjusted rate marks the slowest rate of decline in jobs in the Gopher State in half a year. Jobless claims rose from...

Political Luminaries Rally in Support of Ranked Choice Voting at FairVote Minnesota Fundraiser

More than two hundred Minnesotans - from party leaders, to legislators, to mayors, to city council members, to interested citizens - rallied in support of ranked choice voting at a fundraising event held for FairVote Minnesota in Minneapolis Tuesday evening. Ranked choice voting (aka instant runoff voting, or IRV) passed...

Minnesota 2nd Most Competitive State for U.S. Senate Elections Since 1990

With the three-judge panel ruling on Monday that Al Franken received more legally cast votes than Norm Coleman, the Minnesota 2008 U.S. Senate race moved one step closer to a final resolution. Coleman has stated he will file an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court during the next 10 days,...

The Picture of Mental Health: Minnesota's Unusually Low Suicide Rate

Although Minnesotans may not enjoy the harsh cold weather and long winters the state endures year after year, there is little evidence to suggest Gopher State residents are suffering the degree of severe depression or mental illnesses experienced by many other states across the country – illnesses that sometimes contribute...

Minneapolis Crime Rates Continue to Fall as Unemployment Rises

As unemployment rises month-by-month in Minneapolis, along with the rest of the Gopher State, serious violent and property crimes continue to fall in Minnesota's most populated city at an impressive rate. Minneapolis' non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 7.1 percent in February - its highest rate in decades. However, even though...



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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