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Minnesota


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...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Reaches Highest Level in Nearly A Quarter Century

The news gets bleaker and bleaker for workers in the Gopher State. The November 2008 seasonally adjusted jobless numbers have been released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: unemployment rose to 6.4 percent – up from 5.9 percent in October. The number of unemployed Minnesotans increased by...

'The McCain 14': House DFLers in Republican-Leaning Districts

On Wednesday, Smart Politics highlighted GOP legislators who serve house districts won by Barack Obama – legislators who are more vulnerable to district political pressures that might lead them to consider defecting from their Republican caucus in the event of a DFL override attempt against Governor Tim Pawlenty in the...

Who Will Be the 'Override Three?'

The budget crisis outlined at the Capitol earlier this month is of such historic proportions that it will likely only serve to further strain the already tense relationship between Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-controlled legislature. In order to balance the budget, both sides will be calling for change:...

Minnesota Leads Nation in Voter Turnout for Seventh Straight Election Cycle

Minnesota voters, buoyed perhaps both by a strong sense of civic duty, a high interest in politics, and a little thing called same-day registration, have once again led the country in voter turnout in the 2008 election. The Gopher State has now topped the country in turnout in seven straight...

As Coleman Toils, Klobuchar Sails

As Norm Coleman’s campaign continues to fight with Al Franken for every vote (and seemingly every procedural move) in the highly watched Senate race recount, his DFL colleague Amy Klobuchar remains the most popular figure in Minnesota politics. Prior to his 15+ round heavyweight fight with Franken, Senator Coleman too...

Upper Midwestern Reapportionment, Part II: A Historical Overview

In a follow-up to yesterday’s discussion of the 2012 projected reapportionment, Smart Politics presents two tables to illustrate the diminishing political influence of Minnesota and the Upper Midwestern battleground states in the U.S. House as a result of population shifts in the United States. Table 1 demonstrates how the projected...

How Much Will 2012 Reapportionment Reduce Minnesota’s Political Influence?

About a year ago Smart Politics examined the political impact of Iowa losing a seat in the U.S. House, as it is projected to do after the 2012 reapportionment. State Demographer Tom Gillaspy recently projected Minnesota is also on track to lose a seat. Should this occur, the impact on...

Live Blog: Fair Elections in Minnesota

9:40 a.m. The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance is hosting a conference on elections administration entitled, "The Minnesota Tradition of Fair Elections." 9:45 a.m. The first panel, "The Minnesota Gold Standard," includes: · Edward B. Foley, Professor, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University and Director, Election...

Smart Politics to Live Blog Minnesota Elections Conference Featuring Mondale, Ritchie, Ramstad

Smart Politics will live blog a conference on Minnesota elections administration this morning sponsored by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. The conference includes panelists such as Vice President Walter Mondale, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and Congressman Jim Ramstad. From the CSPG website: The Minnesota Tradition...

Live Blog: Governor Pawlenty and Health Care Reform

3:00 p.m. The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance is hosting a conference on health care, entitled: "Market-Based Reforms in Health Care: The Next Step?" The first presenter is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, with Larry Jacobs, Director of the Center, serving as moderator. 3:01 p.m. Pawlenty signed health...

Smart Politics to Live Blog Health Care Conference Featuring Governor Pawlenty

Smart Politics will live blog a health care conference this afternoon sponsored by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, which features a presentation by Governor Tim Pawlenty. From the CSPG website: “The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance welcomes Governor Pawlenty and Minnesota business and...

Tweedledum, Tweedledee: A Statistical Correlation of Ballot Challenges in the MN Senate Recount

The frivolousness of some of the ballot challenges issued by the Norm Coleman and Al Franken campaigns during the U.S. Senate race recount has been well documented – both through the media’s publication of many such ballot scans as well as critical public statements of the campaigns by Secretary of...



Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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