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National Politics


Which US Senate Seats Will Flip in 2014? A Survey of Media Rankings

Media election forecasters can only agree on one slot of the Top 12 U.S. Senate seats most likely to change control after the November elections.

Kevin McCarthy Becomes Least Tenured Floor Leader in US House History

At less than four terms, McCarthy has served 423 fewer days in the chamber than any floor leader in U.S. House history and almost 10 years less than the average leader.

Stand By Your President: Record-Breaking Tenures in Obama's Cabinet

Three cabinet secretaries under President Obama have already recorded the longest tenures as heads of their respective departments.

Which 1-Term US Senator Will Fall in 2014?

First-term Senators account for more than half of all defeated incumbents over the last century; at least one 1-term U.S. Senator has lost reelection in all but four of the 50 election cycles in the direct election era.

Which States Are Bellwethers for Partisan Control of the US Senate?

Two states - Rhode Island and Nevada - have elected U.S. Senators into the majority party of the subsequent Congress 75+ percent of the time over the last 100 years; Virginia has done so in each of the last six elections.

West Virginia, Utah Eye All-GOP US House Delegations in 2014

It has been more than 90 years since the last time Republicans had a monopoly on every U.S. House seat in the Mountain State.

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Will 2016 GOP Convention Boost Nominee in Host City's State?

Republican presidential nominees have averaged a 1-point decline in the convention host state's adjusted margin of victory (or loss) vis-à-vis the national vote compared to the previous election cycle since the first televised convention in 1940.

12 Retiring, Ex-, or Deceased Congressmen with Active Campaign Websites

One announced his retirement last September. Another died in October. One resigned last week. A dozen members of Congress that aren't running for reelection still have active campaign websites - that accept financial donations.

Do Losing Presidential Candidates "Step Aside?"

Mitt Romney told America this weekend that he would not run for president a third time in 2016; was his rationale persuasive?

Presidents' Day Special: Post-Administration Presidential and Veep Longevity

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale have lived 30 percent longer than any other presidential and vice-presidential pairing since the end of their joint political service nearly 12,100 days.

Obama Backs Holder's Stand to Let Felons Vote

"It is very important for us, if somebody has served their time, for them to be able to participate in their democracy." - Barack Obama, August 15, 2011

The Vanishing Center: Exiting US Representatives

More than half of the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2014 are within 10 points of the ideological center of the chamber according to National Journal's new vote ratings, compared to just one of 14 members running for higher office.

Eric Holder at 5: Eying #3 All-Time AG Service Mark in 2014

With Holder currently in fifth place for attorney general service, by December only William Wirt and Janet Reno will have recorded longer tenures in U.S. history.

Obama's America: State References in SOTU Addresses

When searching for episodic examples to bolster his policies in SOTU addresses, the president turns to the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio more than any other.

A State-by-State Historical Snapshot of Michelle Obama's SOTU Guest Lists

Arizona is just the 15th most populous state, but 13 of its residents have been guests of the First Lady during President Obama's first five addresses - highest in the nation.

A Brief History of Republican SOTU Responses

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the fifth woman from the GOP to deliver a televised opposition response and the second youngest member overall in a congressional leadership position to do so.

Who Remembered MLK? (US House Edition)

Democratic U.S. Representatives honored Dr. King via press releases at more than three times the rate of Republicans over the holiday weekend

Long Live Our U.S. Senators

Two fewer U.S. Senators are dying in office per year on average over the past half-century than during the previous 60 years.

A Year in Smart Politics

A look back at which political institutions were covered the most at Smart Politics in 2013.



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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