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Upper Midwestern States Contemplate Presidential Primary Dates

As Election 2008 heats up, states across the nation are strategically shuffling their primary and caucus schedules in attempt to become more relevant players in the presidential campaign. Upper Midwestern states are also contemplating changes to their schedules in view of the potential benefits moving up primary voting day would...

Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up

My Smart Politics entry on Monday for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site prompted a quick reply by the GOP leadership. Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert offered a thoughtful rejoinder here to my historical analysis demonstrating the rarity of turnover in party control in consecutive elections...

GOP Unlikely to Take Back Minnesota House in 2008

The new Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site is now posted here. Several commentators and news reports have filled out their 'DFL scorecard' as we pass the halfway point in this year's legislative session. My commentary suggests no matter how poorly or how...

Norm Coleman Maintains Double-Digit Lead Over Al Franken in New Poll

One of the Democratic National Committee's most targeted U.S. Senate seats in 2008 is assuredly the one held by Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman. Thus far Al Franken has emerged as the most prominent candidate to challenge Coleman in the Senator's bid for a second term. The latest public...

Smoking in MN: Yes in Bars, No in Restaurants

The public opinion firm SurveyUSA recently released a series of questions asked of a random sample of 500 adults in Minnesota addressing a variety of social public policy issues on the state's legislative agenda. Regarding the proposed smoking ban taken up by the legislature this session, a plurality of...

Female Legislators in MN At Record High; IA, WI, and SD Lag Behind National Average

Minnesota voters set a record in November 2006 by electing the highest percentage of female legislators to both the state House (43, 32.1 percent) and Senate (27, 40.3 percent) in Gopher State history. Overall, at 34.8 percent, Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in terms of the highest percentage of...

Tax Increases Not a Deal Breaker in Minnesota

The new Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site is now posted here. In it I challenge the assertions made by Minnesota Republican state Representative Marty Seifert in his February 24th blog that Minnesotans will oppose tax hikes imposed by the DFL this legislative...

Global Warming Acknowledged in Upper Midwest

Al Gore's involvement in the documentary An Inconvenient Truth has paid great dividends for the former Vice President—garnering near universal acclaim, and a new platform for the man many in Democratic circles hope to run for President in 2008. Gore has not made that announcement yet, but his musings...

IA, MN, and WI Share Identical View of Bush's Job Performance

Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will likely remain prized battleground states in the 2008 Presidential election, as they were previously in 2004 and 2000. And while there is still at least a trace of purple in each, these three Upper Midwestern states seem to share a singular view of our current...

Franken Announces Senate Candidacy; Starts 22 Points in the Hole

On Wednesday Al Franken officially announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate—aiming to become the DLF nominee to challenge 1-term Minnesota Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in 2008. As discussed in a February 2, 2007 Smart Politics entry, Franken will have an uphill battle to win both the DFL primary...

Tim Walz Plays Hardball...and Goes Hitless

On Tuesday afternoon rookie Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01) was interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC's political show Hardball. Earlier in the day Walz had spoken multiple times on the floor of the U.S. House supporting a Democrat-backed resolution criticizing President George W. Bush's decision to add more troops...

Iraq, Coleman, and Minnesotans' Views on the War

Norm Coleman has taken specific measures during the last few months to distinguish himself from his Republican Party that has by and large backed President George W. Bush's efforts in the War in Iraq during the past 3+ years. In January Coleman was quick to relay concerns about the...

Coleman 1 of 2 Republicans to Vote for Debate on Senate Iraq Resolution

Democrats fell far short Monday of a filibuster-proof majority to bring a nonbinding resolution on the Iraq war to a full debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The resolution would, among its dozen points, state the Senate's disagreement with President George W. Bush's plan to increase the...

Franken's Path to D.C. Could Be a Rocky Road

Al Franken will soon end more than a year of speculation by officially announcing his 2008 candidacy decision for the U.S. Senate on February 14th. As Franken is a 'non traditional' candidate—being an actor, comedian, and a satirist far less subtle than Mark Twain—the media is already comparing his...

Lights Out On Lighting Up? Potential Smoking Bans Considered in MN and WI

Minnesota continues its progressive agenda in guarding its citizens against the ills of smoking tobacco with the introduction of its Freedom to Breathe Act in the legislature. The Act—which has the qualified support of Governor Tim Pawlenty—would essentially ban all smoking statewide in public places and workplaces. Some listed exemptions...

Klobuchar Begins Term With Strong Statewide Support

The approval ratings are in for Minnesota junior Senator Amy Klobuchar, after only a few weeks on the job in Washington, D.C. The latest SurveyUSA poll finds 56 percent of Minnesotans approve of her job performance in the U.S. Senate, with 30 percent disapproving, and 14 percent having no...

Upper Midwestern US Senators React to State of the Union Address

Several U.S. Senators from the Upper Midwest have released official statements in reaction to President George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union Address from last night. Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa stated he was impressed with Bush's overall leadership and his "very ambitious agenda" to make "America energy independent...

Addresses by Upper Midwest Governors Remarkably Similar

Three gubernatorial addresses conducted this month across the Upper Midwest have been remarkably similar with regards to the main issues raised in the speeches. Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State address delivered last week focused on four primary issues—better government, better energy, better health care, and better...

Divided Government in Minnesota: New Smart Politics Commentary at TPT

The latest Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At The Capitol website is now online, discussing divided government in Minnesota. The essay suggests that high expectations for productive, low-conflict legislative sessions in Minnesota are unreasonable in a state that continues to elect different parties to power in...

Three Upper Midwestern US Senators Publicly Oppose Bush's New Iraq Strategy

Less than 12 hours after President George W. Bush's address to the nation revealing his new strategy for victory in Iraq—a strategy that included sending more than 21,000 new troops to the region—three Upper Midwestern senators have expressed public disapproval of the President's plan. In a press release, Junior Wisconsin...



Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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