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Minnesota


Kiffmeyer Challenges DFL on Voter ID: 'What Are You Afraid Of?'

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie outlined a long legislative 'wish-list' at a press conference Wednesday morning to improve the state's electoral process: · Permitting early voting of 15, 30, or even 45 days before an election to alleviate the burden of absentee ballots on local officials. · Requiring a...

Why Governor Pawlenty's Criticism of the Federal Stimulus Bill Is Smart Politics

A recent article at MinnPost explores how Governor Tim Pawlenty is out of step with many state leaders, and governors across the nation, in taking a "hands-off" approach when it comes to lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass federal stimulus legislation. Pawlenty has not always been shy when it...

Is Coleman's Hands-On Approach to His Court Challenge Going to Backfire?

Norm Coleman is leaving no doubt to the public or the press that he stands firmly behind his decision to launch his U.S. Senate recount legal challenge. Coleman has drawn significant attention for his frequent courtroom appearances and the Senator has hardly been a shrinking violet when it comes to...

Why the Minnesota Senate Recount and Court Challenge Is Helping the Federal Budget Deficit

While Minnesota taxpayers are on the hook for approximately $200,000 to pay for its 62-day U.S. Senate race recount, that long process, and Norm Coleman's subsequent court challenge, is saving taxpayers' money nationwide as Minnesota's Class II Senate seat remains unoccupied. Last month Smart Politics documented how the 'non-vacant' vacant...

Coleman Says 'God Wants Me to Serve'

While Al Franken remains fairly elusive, Norm Coleman is keeping a high profile these days as his court challenge of the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount plods along. Coleman is adept, somewhat too adept, his critics might say, at skillfully tailoring his message to his audience, and that skill set was...

Pawlenty Approval Rating Stable Through Good Times and Bad

Even though Minnesota is experiencing unprecedented month-to-month increases in unemployment and a $5 billion budget deficit, Governor Tim Pawlenty's political stock has not (yet) been devalued in the Gopher State. A Smart Politics analysis of more than 5-dozen public opinion polls conducted throughout his one and a half terms in...

No Excuses? Minnesota's Unemployment Rate Less Tied to National Economy Than That of Wisconsin and Iowa

As December’s unemployment numbers demonstrate, Minnesota continues to endure a skyrocketing rate of job losses, especially when compared to its neighbors to the south and west. To the west, North Dakota and South Dakota have the second and third lowest unemployment rates in the nation, at 3.5 percent and 3.9...

Is the DFL 'Overrepresented' at the State Capitol?

As DFL legislators tore into Governor Tim Pawlenty's budget plan in committee hearings on Tuesday, the DFL caucus looked very much like a party with supermajority (Senate) or near supermajority (House) status. The DFL's icy reaction to the Governor's plan for corporate tax cuts and state bond sales did not...

Minnesota's 2010 Budget Deficit Among Top 10 Largest In Nation

With updated budget numbers expected in the coming weeks, Minnesota’s current $2.6 billion projected budget gap for 2010 ranks as one of the top 10 largest in the nation, according to new numbers compiled by the Naitonal Conference of State Legislators. Minnesota’s 14.7 percent budget deficit ($2.6 billion) for 2010...

How Bad Are Things In Minnesota, Really?

From the rising unemployment numbers to the state budget crisis, the news in Minnesota seems to be getting worse and worse. Adding insult to injury came the recent news last week that Minneapolis ranked as the fourth least desirable metropolitan area to where Americans would like to move out of...

How Long Will It Take to Regain the 65,000+ Jobs Lost in Minnesota in 2008?

The near universal legislative support of the unemployment bill signed into law on Thursday by Governor Tim Pawlenty is a first step by the state to address an economic and employment crisis that is escalating at record levels in Minnesota. The bill will extend the unemployment benefits of more than...

House GOP Voter ID Legislation Has Strong Support Statewide

Even though the Voter Integrity Act of 2009 (HF 57) introduced earlier this week by Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer (R-Delano) has been characterized by some in the media as a "politically divisive idea" ("Requiring Voter IDs Is Back on the Agenda," Pioneer Press, 1/26/09), public opinion conducted on the issue...

Pawlenty Invokes Obama and Displays Fancy Footwork On Tax Policy in Budget Presentation

Governor Tim Pawlenty's discussion on the role tax policy should play in the upcoming budget battle during Tuesday afternoon's budget presentation was a near masterful display of how combining the bob and weave with an occasional jab can make a seasoned fighter stay in the ring for many rounds...

Republicans In Minnesota Warming to Obama More Than In Other Upper Midwestern States

Barack Obama is officially in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of his presidency – the 44th president is just one week into his administration with approval ratings through the roof (67 percent in the latest Gallup survey, with just 14 percent disapproving). It is no surprise to learn that Democrats and independents...

The Trial Begins: What Is Norm Coleman's End Game?

The fact that the Minnesota Senate recount has moved to the lawsuit phase is a surprise to no one - with an election decided by a few hundred votes, there is no doubt either candidate who ended up on the short end of the recount would take their case to...

Minnesota Endures Worst Employment Skid in 30+ Years

Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at 6.9 percent, according to new December 2008 numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The data continues what, by many measures, are the worst statewide jobless numbers since the collection of monthly data by the Department began in...

Tired of War: Minnesotans Not Shy About Changing Presidential Party During Wartime

Now that Barack Obama has been inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, the question on the minds of many Minnesotans is: "How long do we wait for 'change?'" Obama's campaign for 'change' during the presidential primaries and general election took many forms, from the vague and intangible...

Does Keith Ellison Have a Mandate? Rep. Sets Freshman Re-election Record

If it seems as if Keith Ellison has a free hand with which to cast controversial votes in the U.S. House, such as his 'present' vote for the Israeli-Gaza House resolution, he probably does. The DFL Congressman registered the second largest margin of victory of all time in the 5th...

Stance of Ellison and McCollum On Israeli-Gaza Resolution Shines a Light on Liberal Voting Records

The "present" votes registered by Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum a week ago Friday on the U.S. House resolution to recognize "Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, stirred up a bit of controversy...

A Content Analysis of Governor Pawlenty's 2008 and 2009 State of the State Addresses

Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State Address on Thursday afternoon saw a significant change in the policy issues he raised from his previous address on February 13, 2008. These changes largely reflected the harsh economic reality that has beset both the state and the nation during the past year....



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 Stassen 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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