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National Politics


Midwest Felt Bigger 'Democratic Bump' in '06 Than U.S. Overall

The nation-wide partisan swing from the Republicans to the Democrats in 2006 was felt across the United States in a number of statewide and district races. Democrats won a majority of governorships, took back control of the U.S. House and Senate, and won back several state legislative chambers. This change...

English As Official Language: Democrats Misread America's Preferences in NH Debate

Eight Democratic candidates debated at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sunday night. While the headlines from the debate focused on Iraq and health care, by far the most controversial stances carved out by the presidential hopefuls was their unwillingness to have English become the nation's official language....

McCain Leading in Clean Sweep of 3 Early Primary States

Despite lukewarm performances at the first two GOP debates and a national campaign that appears to be lagging well behind Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain continues to lead the Republican frontrunner in new polls released by American Research Group (ARG) in 3 key states: Iowa (caucus = January...

Edwards Emerges Giuliani's Strongest Opponent

Despite running third behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in every national poll to become the Democratic presidential nominee, John Edwards has emerged as the only candidate poised thus far to defeat leading GOP contender, Rudy Giuliani. Earlier this week, SurveyUSA released polls in 11 states of head-to-head candidate...

Incumbency Advantage in Gubernatorial Elections

It was not much of a surprise when all three incumbent governors from the Upper Midwest (Tim Pawlenty, Mike Rounds, and Jim Doyle) won their respective re-election bids last November (at least not to Smart Politics, who projected as such). The incumbency advantage is not only a prized possession of...

Edwards Campaign Experiences Bump Nationally After Wife's Medical Announcement

It's been more than a week now since John and Elizabeth Edwards announced that her cancer had returned. Media coverage of the Edwards team was widely positive throughout the week, and the Edwards campaign has experienced a bump in the polls, both in the state polling as well as...

Democratic Senate Iraq War Resolution Fails

On Thursday the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic-led joint resolution calling for phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 4 months and a goal of complete redeployment by the end of March 2008. The 50-48 vote included one Republican (Gordon Smith of Oregon) joining the Democrats, and three...

Scooter Libby Felony Conviction Fallout

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's conviction of four felony counts of lying under oath and obstruction of justice on Tuesday marked the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted in a federal investigation since the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal. Libby will likely appeal the verdict and he remains out of prison...

Tom Vilsack Ends Presidential Run

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack ended his bid for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination today, citing difficulties in raising enough money to launch a viable campaign. Vilsack was the first democrat to officially enter the race last November. Vilsack was polling at a distant 4th in his home...

Obama Fights Back At Australian PM, Though Fails Math Test

In a rare intervention into internal U.S. politics, Australian Prime Minister John Howard criticized 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's Iraq strategy to withdraw U.S. troops by March 2008. Howard told reporters if he was a terrorist he would "circle March 2008 on the calendar" and hope for Obama...

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...

Presidential Nominees Likely To Be Determined By <br>'The Unknown'

As politicians officially and unofficially begin their campaigns for the presidency in 2008, speculation about the strengths and weaknesses of each potential candidate will naturally be thoroughly debated in the media. Frequent questions already being posed by pundits include: Will Mitt Romney's Mormon faith alienate religious fundamentalists? Are John...

Upper Midwestern Republican Senators Weigh in on Bush Iraq Plan

Two more Upper Midwestern U.S. Senators—both Republicans—have released statements in response to President Bush's new plan outlined in a national address earlier this week. South Dakota junior senator John Thune acknowledged the need for change in Iraq, stated winning in Iraq is the "right thing to do for America's security,"...

Collegiality in 110th Congress Enhanced by Rosie-Donald Junk News Feud

As Democrats took control of Congress this week, a few reports have emerged of an apparent camaraderie between the outgoing Republicans and the incoming Democrats. Some of these reports deal with the trivial—such as Democrats taking a break from the new session as per outgoing new House Minority Leader John...

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...

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...

John Edwards Officially Enters 2008 Presidential Race

Former Democratic North Carolina Senator and 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards officially launched his 2008 presidential campaign Thursday. Edwards' announcement speech picked up on his 2004 stump speech in which he restated his fight for the less fortunate and his quest for America to achieve economic justice. The backdrop for...

When Words Become Reality: The Media Creation of Barack Obama

Just minutes after the Illinois State Senator's keynote address at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2004, media commentators and journalists began to write history by casting Barack Obama in the role of superstar, Democratic leader, and future president of the United States. Perhaps the media did not...

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...

Ethics and Corruption: A Shaky Start for the Democrats

Democrats have not yet officially ascended to power in D.C., but the early headlines coming out of Washington are not flattering to a party whose national campaign this fall included ethics and corruption as one of its central features. To begin with, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi stumbled out of the...



Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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