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Minnesota


The Unsinkable Michele Bachmann

The Rothenberg Political Report came out with its first U.S. House rankings for the 2010 election cycle on Wednesday, and both of Minnesota's competitive Republican-held Congressional districts made the list. Erik Paulsen's 3rd CD and Michele Bachmann's 6th CD are listed as "Republican favored" - two of ten GOP seats...

Despite Democratic Shift, Minnesotans Are No More Liberal Than Four Years Ago

Smart Politics recently documented a notable shift in Party ID in Minnesota favoring the Democrats in recent years, and found that this shift is more of a result of Democrats attracting independents to their corner than the Republican Party losing its base to independents. However, despite this shift in Party...

Democrats Lure Independents to Make Gains in Party ID In Minnesota and Upper Midwest; GOP Base Solid

Although President George W. Bush lost Minnesota in the 2004 presidential election and Republicans lost 14 seats in the Minnesota House from the 2002 election cycle, the GOP still held a slim advantage in Party ID in Minnesota that year, as well as across the Upper Midwest. That advantage has...

Eric Holder Fallout: How Do Minnesotans Feel About Race Relations in America?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s provocative commentary and characterization about the state of race relations in America on Wednesday night before his Department of Justice employees has drawn both great fire and praise from across the political spectrum. Holder’s comments, however – a mixture of prose that challenged America to...

Minnesota: Where Is Your Outrage Towards Harry Reid?

As the Minnesota U.S. Senate election trial ends its fourth week on Friday, partisan criticisms against Norm Coleman continue to mount from the left. Coleman has been accused of belaboring an election process which has left the Gopher State now without its full complement of Senators in D.C. for 47...

Why DFLers Can Stop Agonizing Over Losing to Paulsen and Bachmann

As Barack Obama's victory in Minnesota was never in doubt, the DFL had three main priorities in the 2008 election: 1) Win Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate seat, 2) pick up at least one U.S. House seat (either Jim Ramstad's open 3rd CD seat or Michele Bachmann's 6th CD seat), and...

Marijuana Arrests Decline As Legislative Support for Medicinal Use Builds

A bipartisan group of Minnesota legislators made an impassioned plea last week, hoping to build political momentum for the legalization of medical marijuana in the Gopher State. While neither Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher nor GOP Minority Leader Marty Seifert have endorsed such a bill on the House side, neither have...

Marty Seifert Not Impressed with DFL 'Mavericks' Nor Their Party's 'Sloppy Majority'

In a media availability held at the Minnesota House Minority Leader's office Friday morning, Republican Marty Seifert expressed great 'disappointment' that voter ID, his caucuses' top priority on election reform, failed to get out of committee this week. Seifert is fairly confident his caucus will get another shot at...

DFLers in Safe Districts Shoot Down Voter ID Bill

To the surprise of few, the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee voted down Republican Tom Emmer and Mary Kiffmeyer's "Voter Integrity Act of 2009" on Thursday morning by a vote of 11 to 8. The bill would have required residents to show a valid...

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...



Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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