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Minnesota


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...

Will 2008 Republican National Convention Have An Impact On MN Presidential Vote?

When the Republican National Committee announced in September 2006 that its Site Selection Committee had voted to recommend the Twin Cities to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, it continued an interesting trend in GOP party politics. For the fourth consecutive convention, the Republicans will convene on a state which...

Immigration: The Unspoken Issue Facing Minnesota Politics?

Most Republicans and DFLers at the Minnesota Capitol are in agreement regarding the most important issues to be addressed this year—education, property taxes, transportation, health care etc. But there is one concern to many Minnesotans that remains bubbling beneath the surface of these top-tier issues that virtually no officeholder seems...

Ford Ran Successful Upper Midwest Presidential Campaign in 1976

The passing of our 38th President Gerald Ford prompted Smart Politics to take a look at his 1976 presidential campaign in the Upper Midwest—and the close races he faced with Jimmy Carter that year. Richard Nixon—who had nearly swept the nation's electoral votes in 1972—made a clean sweep of the...

Minnesota's Approval of Pawlenty Job Performance Remarkably Stable

Tim Pawlenty heads into his second term on the heels of a very narrow, plurality vote victory last month, and the prospects of having to work with a DFL-controlled state House for the first time in his administration, as well as a state Senate facing ever declining GOP representation....



Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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