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National Politics


Republican Women in US House Record Lowest Conservative Voting Scores Since 2005

The two-dozen female House GOPers in 2012 tally an average conservative composite score of 72.5 in National Journal's annual rankings, falling two years in a row after peaking in 2010.

Mounting US Senate Retirements: Tired of DC or Just Plain Tired?

The five U.S. Senators who have announced their retirement during the 113th Congress are 10 years older on average than any 'retiring class' from the chamber over the last five decades.

The Death of Presidents: Beware of June and July

More than one-third of deceased U.S. presidents died in June or July; none passed away in May.

19 Candidates Definitely Running for President in 2016

Fifteen men and four women have already filed their Statement of Candidacy with the FEC - some 3 years, 8 months, and 25 days out from Election Day.

'Get It Done': Slogans Drop Obama's SOTU Address to 9th Grade Reading Level

All four of the president's State of the Union addresses rank in the Bottom 10 in presidential history for Flesch-Kincaid grade level readability scores.

The 6 Times President Obama Mentioned the Pope

What do Dave Brubeck, Lech Walesa, the Queen of England and Nelson Mandela have in common?

America Held Hostage: The Political Rhetoric of Barack Obama

Immigration. Unemployment benefits. Health care. Taxes. Obama has dusted off and stretched the 'hostage metaphor' to advance his policy agenda more than any president in history.

Duckworth, Castro Lead House Freshman Class in Early Media Buzz

While most new U.S. Representatives have lain low during their first month in office, a half-dozen freshmen have received more than half the media coverage of their entire class.

Western Women: Regional Gender Disparities in Congressional Representation

Women have been elected to the U.S. House from western states at 2.5 times the rate as the rest of the country over the last century, with the region electing nearly 1/3 of all female-held seats with just 1/7 of all House seats.

The Birth States of U.S. Representatives (113th Congress)

Eight U.S. House delegations boast an all homegrown membership, led by Iowa and Mississippi; five delegations come in at 25 percent or less including Virginia and Minnesota.

FOX Still Shunned at Obama Press Conferences

The favorite news outlet of conservatives ranks just ninth in presser questions in Obama's first term, getting to ask questions at only half the rate of the Big 3 broadcast networks.

The Literary Namesakes of US Congressmen

One of your ancestors might have been represented by James Joyce, John Milton, Thomas Eliot, or John Dryden on Capitol Hill.

The Top Five Smart Politics Reports of 2012

A look back at a few of the most illuminating, odd, and controversial reports published by Smart Politics this year.

Walter Mondale's Recommendations for Filibuster Reform

What rules could be introduced in the Senate to ensure the filibuster is no longer a 'strategy for hijacking' the chamber and 'demoralizing the country?'

More than Half of Senators in 113th Congress First Served in House

Six new faces entering the Senate in January served in the House and 51 overall; Hawaii, Virginia, and Massachusetts have the highest all-time rate of choosing Senators with House experience.

Women Reelected to US Senate at Same Rate as Men

A study of more than 325 sitting U.S. Senators on the ballot since 1990 finds women have been reelected at exactly same rate as men - 87 percent.

Record Book Near Misses in the 2012 Presidential Election

The Romney-Obama contest ranked among the Top 5 most competitive races ever in three states (AK, FL, NC) and the Top 5 least competitive in six (HI, MD, OK, UT, WV, WY).

Study: Governors Have No Pull Helping Presidential Nominees Carry Their State

States have voted more frequently for a presidential nominee of a different party than its sitting governor across 600 contests since 1968; even more so in battleground states.

Forerunners of the Fiscal Cliff

Chuck Grassley, Jeff Flake, Jim DeMint, and Kent Conrad have warned about budgetary fiscal cliffs for years.

Death of the Battlegrounds? The 2012 Election in History

The 2012 presidential election is the only cycle since the birth of the two-party system in 1828 to be decided by less than 15 points nationally and yet have less than 10 percent of its contests decided by fewer than five points.



Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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