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Minnesota


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...

Gubernatorial Approval Ratings Rise Noticeably After Elections

Approval ratings for all four Upper Midwest governors rose noticeably in polls conducted by SurveyUSA directly after Election Day (November 8-11). All three incumbent governors on the ballot in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota were victorious, and the Democrats retained control of the Iowa executive branch with Chet Culver replacing...

Minnesota State Senate Election Analysis: DFL Thoroughly Dominates Republicans

The DFL expanded its lead in the Minnesota State Senate from 38-29 to 44-23, after picking up eight seats and giving back two in this month's election. The DFL has now not only nearly doubled the number of GOP seats in the Senate, but has also more strongly situated itself...

Reader Request: Should Mike Hatch Have Better Utilized Keith Ellison in His Campaign?

The latest suggested topic from the Smart Politics Mailbox poses the following query in the wake of the Minnesota Gubernatorial race: should Mike Hatch have distanced himself like he did from fellow DFL 5th Congressional District victor Keith Ellison? Did Hatch's failure to endorse Ellison signify a lack of outreach...

Smart Politics Scorecard, Part II: State Legislative Roundup

The Democratic party scored big wins across Upper Midwest state legislatures on Tuesday night. As projected here at Smart Politics, the Democrats picked up seats in all 8 chambers and took control of three of them: the Iowa House, Wisconsin Senate, and Minnesota House. Some democratic pickups - particularly in...

Upper Midwest State Legislative Projections

The last in a series of election projections, Smart Politics predicts which political party will win control of state legislatures across the Upper Midwest. Democrats are in an advantaged position in most states in each legislative chamber to pick up seats, based on the GOP needing to protect a higher...

Minnesota Poll Roundup and Smart Politics Projections

Minnesota looks like it will host several close races Tuesday night—with at least 2 U.S. House races attracting attention as well as a very tight gubernatorial race. Today Smart Politics presents the fourth in a series of analyses and projections of major races across the Upper Midwest with the...

Klobuchar Builds Lead Over Kennedy In Latest Humphrey Poll

In the five weeks since the last Humphrey Institute survey, DFL nominee for Senate Amy Klobuchar has increased her lead from 52-36 to 55-33 over GOP nominee Mark Kennedy. While this 22-point lead is 3 to 7 points larger than what most polls have reported during the past month,...

Hatch Builds Lead in New Humphrey Institute Poll

Excerpts from a new report by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance on its latest poll on the Minnesota Governor's race: Even though the race remains too close to call, Attorney General Mike Hatch has opened up a narrow 6 point lead over Governor Tim Pawlenty,...

MN House: GOP at a Disadvantage

After losing thirteen seats in the Minnesota State House in 2004, the republicans hold a slim 68-66 advantage over their rival DFL. Even if one puts aside the fact that the state (and national) climate is trending democratic in recent months, the GOP is already in a disadvantaged position to...

MN-08: An Intriguing Matchup

Minnesota's 8th Congressional District (comprising the northeastern Iron Range counties), is home to one of the more unusual Congressional races this year, in which DFL incumbent James Obserstar, the senior member of Minnesota's US House delegation, is being challenged by Republican Rod Grams, a former US Representative in his own...

Religion and Minnesota Politics

The relationship between religion and politics should fascinate even the most casual political observer. (In recent weeks religion has become an interesting sidebar in the 6th District US House race—a matter best saved for another blog entry). Karl Rove—President George W. Bush's trusted political strategist in the White House—is credited...

MN-02: Rowley Closes Gap

Coleen Rowley, the DFL candidate in Minnesota's 2nd US House district, has closed her deficit to 2-term GOP incumbent John Kline from 20 to 8 points in less than three weeks, according to polls released by SurveyUSA in late September and mid-October. The poll's media sponsor is KSTP-TV Channel...

Upper Midwest US House Races Tighten in GOP Held Districts...But Is a Revolution Afoot?

A recent spate of polls tracking US House races in the Upper Midwest reflect what is perceived by most political analysts to be a nation-wide trend: GOP-held districts that were secure in 2004 now seem to be competitive or near competitive. The GOP leads the current Upper Midwest US House...

Split Ticket Voting Revisited

I co-authored a report on Split Ticket Voting released today at the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. The popular lore is that Americans and Minnesotans are sharply divided into Republican "red" and Democratic "blue." Although the divisions are clear, there are also a significant number of voters...

Who's Looking On the Sunny Side of Life?

The Midwest…the heartland of America…where caustic coastal cynicism has not yet taken root and a hearty optimism about life in these United States still prevails. Syrupy, true, but that description about life in the Upper Midwest sounds like it might once have been plausible. But, of course, this description simply...



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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