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Minnesota


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....

12 Days And Counting: Minnesota Already At 4th Longest Stint Without Two Senators in State History

Since January 3rd, when Norm Coleman's first term as U.S. Senator came to an end, Amy Klobuchar has officially been doing double-duty as the state's lone Senator on Capitol Hill. Klobuchar has stated her office started receiving a noticeable increase in constituency requests beginning in December, to the tune now...

Will the Minnesota-Wisconsin Shared State Services Plan Work?

On Tuesday, Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Democratic Governor Jim Doyle signed executive orders calling for department heads to identify, by the end of February, "Specific activities, programs, and services ... for potential cooperative service arrangements." The orders were signed to create "Significant improvements to the delivery and...

Coleman Popularity Virtually Unchanged Since Election Day, Despite Recent Poll Headline

Much has been made of the extremely low favorability ratings Norm Coleman (and Al Franken) are enduring in the wake of numbers released in last week's SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans conducted after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount process. The poll found Coleman's favorability numbers dipping to just...

How to Save Minnesota's U.S. House Seat: More Teenage Mothers?

Last month Smart Politics examined the political impact on the state of Minnesota should it lose one U.S. House seat as projected by many analysts, including a recent report issued by Election Data Services. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data detailing the teenage...

U.S. Senate Race Ends Up 12 Votes Shy of '62 Gubernatorial Margin of Victory Record

With the final results (court challenge pending) certified by the State Canvassing Board on Monday finding Al Franken with a 225-vote victory over Norm Coleman, the 2008 U.S. Senate race nearly eclipsed the 1962 gubernatorial election as the closest high-profile statewide election in Gopher State history. For 46 years and...

How Opposed Are Minnesotans To Tax Increases?

With the start of the new legislative session officially underway, the clock has begun to tick on the likely showdown between Governor Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-controlled legislature as to whether tax increases should be a part of the solution to solve the state’s $5 billion budget deficit. The DFL...

Will Al Franken Be the Favorite in 2014?

Presuming Al Franken is eventually seated as the junior Senator from Minnesota sometime this year, the Republican Party will no doubt soon be gearing up to plan his political demise in 2014 - whether with Norm Coleman in a rematch or against another GOP opponent. Of course, assessing the likelihood...

Franken's (Apparent) Victory Is 4th Weakest U.S. Senate Performance in DFL History

Throughout his U.S. Senate campaign, Al Franken was dogged by criticisms, even peppered from within his own party, that he was a 'weak candidate' for the DFL. These criticisms took many forms, such as stern words regarding Franken's writings and temperament from respected DFL U.S. Representative Betty McCollum to...

Franken Has Big Edge in County Distribution of Absentee Ballots

Al Franken's 49-vote lead is expected by nearly all analysts to increase after the tabulation of wrongly excluded absentee ballots by the Canvassing Board this weekend. The final, hard data is now in to confirm these suspicions. Of the 953 ballots sent by the state's 87 counties to the Board,...

Minnesota's Currently Drawn Congressional Maps 3rd Least Competitive in State History

Despite Smart Politics’ recent observation that Minnesota’s U.S. House elections are far more competitive than the national average, new research by Smart Politics finds the Gopher State’s current district boundaries to have produced the 3rd lowest number of competitive races out of the 15 Congressional maps that have been drawn...

Minnesota '08 U.S. House Contests More Competitive Than National Average by Double-Digits

As Minnesota gears up for congressional and legislative redistricting in the next few years, as well as the possible loss of a U.S. House seat, the Gopher State can take some pride in the fact that its U.S. House contests continue to be more competitive than the national average by...

Hutchinson (’06) Performance Strong Predictor of Barkley Countywide Support in Minnesota Senate Race

As documented by Smart Politics last week, Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley took a very different path to reach 15 percent in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race than did 2002 Independence Party gubernatorial nominee, Tim Penny (who reached 16 percent in that race). Penny’s support was heavily skewed towards...

Crime and the Minnesota Economy Revisited: Brace for Property Crime Surge

At about the same time Smart Politics posited the question as to what effect, if any, the rising unemployment rate and economic downturn would have on the state’s violent crime rate, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office issued a press release documenting how violent crime has declined in every Minneapolis precinct...

Getting to 15 Percent: Two Different Paths for Dean Barkley (’08) and Tim Penny (’02)

Independence Party nominee Dean Barkley’s U.S. Senate candidacy was of great interest to the media and political junkies leading up to the 2008 election. Could Barkley launch a Ventura-esque come-from-behind victory? Would his presence on the ballot hurt Al Franken more than Norm Coleman? Would he raise enough money to...

Will Violent Crime in Minnesota Increase Along With the Jobless Rate?

The news released on Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that Minnesota’s unemployment rate had reached 6.4 percent, prompted Smart Politics to examine how the current jobless trend, and specifically the large rate of job loss, is unprecedented, going back decades in the state. The problems...



Political Crumbs

The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


How Are the Plurality Winners Doing?

Nearly 40 percent of plurality winners of U.S. Senate elections lose their seat in the next election cycle. Will that happen to any of the three such incumbents on the ballot in 2014? Recent polling suggests Democrats Al Franken of Minnesota, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon all currently have an advantage over their nominated/frontrunning GOP opponents, but each is flirting with plurality support once again. Franken led endorsed GOPer Mike McFadden 48 to 42 percent in a new SurveyUSA poll while the polling group showed Merkley with a 50 to 32 percent advantage over Monica Wehby. Begich led each of the three major GOP candidates in last month's PPP survey: 42 to 37 percent over Daniel Sullivan, 41 to 33 percent over Mead Treadwell, and 43 to 27 percent over Joe Miller.


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