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Minnesota


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....

Upper Midwest Representatives Receive New US House Committee Assignments

Earlier this week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced new Committee assignments for Freshmen members, plus added existing members to new Committees as Democrats increased their membership on Committees with their 30 seat gain in November's election. Starting his 6th term, Ron Kind (WI-03) was assigned to the influential Ways and...

MN vs. WI: Which State Is Most Likely to Vote GOP for President in 2008?

This is an admittedly premature question to be sure—with more than one year before the first presidential primary and only a few politicians from each party officially declaring themselves as candidates for the White House. Nonetheless, in the coming months political strategists and party activists will descend on both...

Large Electoral Gains by Minority Party Not Uncommon in MN House

The DFL scored a major, although not an unexpected, victory last month by wrestling control of the State House from the GOP after four consecutive terms of Republican control. The size of the DFL's victory—a 19-seat pickup—did surprise many political observers. However, large electoral gains are not uncommon in recent...

Right of Center Third Party Candidates Disappearing in Minnesota

In the last of Smart Politics' series on the decline of third parties in Minnesota, today's entry examines the health of right-of-center third parties in the Gopher State. Previous entries documented how left (Green) and center-left (Independence) parties are, in Minnesota, only shadows of themselves today compared to just 4...

The Green Party: A Short Half-Life in Minnesota Politics

In our continuing study of the decline of third parties in the state of Minnesota, today Smart Politics examines the weakening of the state's Green Party. Like the Independence Party, the Green Party experienced a significant downturn in public support in 2006 for almost all statewide and district races...

The Decline of the Independence Party

The Independence Party of Minnesota has experienced a noticeable decline in support across Minnesota - as evidenced in its performance last month. This decline is revealed across a number of dimensions and offices, including a decreased ability to field candidates in state legislative races since 2000 (the year it disassociated...

Presence and Impact of Third Party Candidates in MN House Races Declining

For a number of years State House races in Minnesota were peppered with a significant number of third party or independent candidates. In 2006, however, the presence of these non-major party candidates was the lowest in a decade. In 1998 there were 18 non-major party candidates on the ballot in...

Minnesota State Legislative Recount Update

Nearly one in five state house races in Minnesota (22 of 134, 16%) were decided by five percentage points or less in the 2006 Election. On November 21st, Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer ordered recounts in three of the most closely decided districts. Republicans currently control each of these...

A Tale of (Two?) States: Demographic Support for Republican Gubernatorial Candidates in MN and WI Strikingly Similar

The 2006 gubernatorial races in Minnesota and Wisconsin had key similarities: 1-term incumbents defending their seats with job approval rankings hovering around 50%. Pundits viewed seats in both states to be very vulnerable. Despite these similarities, the candidacies of Republican challenger Mark Green in Wisconsin and GOP incumbent Tim Pawlenty...



Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


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