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National Politics


How Many Senators Will Vote for the Next Supreme Court Nominee?

With the recent announcement by Associate Justice David Souter that he intends to retire from the Supreme Court this year, all eyes are on President Barack Obama to see who he will send up to the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings in the coming weeks or months. Obama, of course,...

Former Deputy AG James Comey Views Obama as "Credible" Leader in Counterterrorism Fight

James Comey, the 6 foot 8 inch former U.S. Deputy Attorney General who, in March 2004, stood figuratively and literally between President George W. Bush and the recertification of a NSA domestic intelligence program while Attorney General John Ashcroft was gravely ill, offered both criticism of the Bush administration's counterterrrorism...

Upper Midwest House Members Vote 18-5 in Favor of TARP Bailout Bonus Tax

On Thursday, Upper Midwestern U.S. House Democrats unanimously supported a bill that would impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recipients. The measured passed 328 to 93 in the lower chamber. The bill (HR 1586) taxes at 90 percent bonuses given to employees...

Live Blog: Security and Immigration in a Post 9/11 United States

12:05 p.m. Edward Alden, Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, is delivering a talk today at the Humphrey Institute entitled, "Security and Immigration in a post-9/11 United States. Alden is the author of the recent book, The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11....

U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan on Record Pace in 2009

Although Barack Obama only devoted 2 of the 280 sentences in his late February Address before a Joint Session of Congress on the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. attempt to bring greater stability to a historically unstable region of the world is starting to once again take center stage in...

Minnesotans' Approval of Obama Holds Steady As Support Wanes Nationwide

Barack Obama began the first week of his presidency with nearly 70 percent of the American public approving of his early job performance. One month later, while Obama’s approval rating has dipped by double-digit margins in many states, Minnesotans are sticking behind the man they elected president on November 4th....

Obama's Economic and Fiscal Crises Address: An End, Or a Means to an End?

Although President Barack Obama’s first Address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening was pitched by the White House as a "plan to confront our nation’s economic and fiscal crises,” more than 70 percent of his speech focused on other domestic or foreign policy issues. A Smart Politics content...

Democrats in Stronger Position Than GOP to Make Gains in US House in 2010

Although history tells us it is a rarity for the party in control of the White House to make gains in congressional seats during mid-term election years, all the numbers from the 2008 elections point to the Democratic Party to remain in a very competitive position to add to their...

Smart Politics On WCCO-TV's "Good Question": Obama and His Blackberry

Smart Politics' Eric Ostermeier was interviewed by the always-affable Jason DeRusha for his "Good Question" segment on WCCO-TV Tuesday evening. The "Good Question" at issue was, "Why Can't the President Use E-Mail" - in light of Barack Obama's recent announcement that he would be giving up his Blackberry when he...

Inside Obama's Landslide: The Young Man Went West

Barack Obama’s near landslide victory over John McCain last week was impressive on a number of dimensions. Most obviously, Obama picked up 9 states that went Republican in the 2004 election: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Less evident, but equally impressive, is that...

Election Night Observations

9:20 p.m. There have not been any shockers on Election Night so far, but there have been a few surprises on the presidential race: 1. Ohio being called so quickly for Barack Obama (about 90 minutes after polls closed) and North Dakota being called so quickly for John McCain (the...

Smart Politics Projections: U.S. House Races

Smart Politics’ final set in its series of national and Upper Midwestern federal and state electoral projections is the balance of power in the U.S. House. Smart Politics Projections: The U.S. House Even before the financial crisis hit the U.S. two months ago, Democrats were poised to pick-up several...

Smart Politics Projections: The Presidency

Through the morning of November 4th, Smart Politics is running a series of electoral projections for national and Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The twelfth set of projections in the series is for the Presidency. Smart Politics Projections: The Presidency Barack Obama’s attempt to capture Republican states like...

Smart Politics Projections: U.S. Senate Races

Through the morning of November 4th, Smart Politics is running a series of electoral projections for national and Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The eleventh projections in the series are U.S. Senate races nationwide. Smart Politics Projections: U.S. Senate Races Democratic Victories (+7) Alaska (pick-up) Arkansas Colorado (pick-up)...

“Landslide? Indicators

Dozens of polls are now released each day on the presidential race, with the media focus largely being on whether or not John McCain is making any gains in the battleground states he needs to hold (namely, holding Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia) and/or pick up (Pennsylvania). Campaigns on...

Upper Midwest Delegation Votes 6-2 As $700 Billion Financial Industry Bailout Sails Through Senate

The United States Senate voted 74 to 25 Wednesday night, in support of a revised bill that would, in part, fund $700 billion in a ‘rescue’ of the financial industry. The Upper Midwest delegation voted 6 to 2 in favor of the bill, with Democrats Russ Feingold and Tim Johnson...

Upper Midwestern House Delegation Split in Support of Financial Industry Bailout Bill

The rejection by the U.S. House today of the $700 billion financial industry bailout package was the result of a stranglely-cobbled coalition of conservative Republicans, blue-dog Democrats, and liberal Democrats. The bill, backed by President George W. Bush, eventually won the support of just 205 Representatives, with 228 voting ‘nay.’...

Commentary: Race and the 2008 Presidential Election

‘Entitlement politics’ appears to be the theme of the 2008 presidential campaign on the Democratic side of the ballot. It began when Hillary Clinton got pegged with the label, running for President out of the gate with a swagger that made her seem like she was the ‘inevitable’ Democratic...

Why Don’t Democrats Nominate Westerners?

The “Sarah Palin effect" has been felt, at least for the moment, across national and state polls. John McCain’s numbers are looking particularly strong in Western states, the region from which he and Palin hail. For example, in polls conduct in the past week, McCain is up: · 25 points...

McCain / Palin Bounce Boosting Republicans Down the Ballot

Whether it is the recency effect of the Republican National Convention, the personal narrative of the second half of John McCain’s acceptance speech, or, as suspected by Smart Politics, the selection of Sarah Palin to be McCain’s running mate, the McCain bounce which has been demonstrated nationally as well as...



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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