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U.S. Senate


Will Arlen Specter Win in 2010?

When Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party on Tuesday morning, the first question asked was not why he bolted from the GOP, but how his change in party affiliation will impact the Democratic majority's quest for a filibuster-proof 60 votes on key legislation...

Minnesota 2nd Most Competitive State for U.S. Senate Elections Since 1990

With the three-judge panel ruling on Monday that Al Franken received more legally cast votes than Norm Coleman, the Minnesota 2008 U.S. Senate race moved one step closer to a final resolution. Coleman has stated he will file an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court during the next 10 days,...

Charles Grassley: Folksiness with an Edge

At 75 years old, the longest elected U.S. Senator in Iowa history, the 11th most senior member of the U.S. Senate, and having cast more than 10,000 votes in Capitol Hill's upper chamber, Republican Senator Charles Grassley is just getting started. Or so it seems. Now 34+ years into...

Amy Klobuchar: Steady as She Goes

The latest U.S. Senate approval numbers released by SurveyUSA for the month of March find Minnesota DFLer Amy Klobuchar with the 4th highest rating of the 27 Senators tracked by the polling organization. But that's not the headline. What is noteworthy about these March numbers is how they continue...

79 Days: Minnesota Sets State Record for Longest Period With Only One U.S. Senator

At 12:00 am Monday morning, the State of Minnesota set a new record for operating at half-strength in Capitol Hill's upper chamber. At 79 days and counting, Minnesota's current stint with only one U.S. Senator has now eclipsed the previous mark set in the summer of 1923, when it...

On Why Analyzing the Leaked Coleman Data Is Ethical: A Reply to My Critics

Ethical questions have been raised in recent days surrounding the reporting by news organizations and bloggers on the leaked Norm Coleman U.S. Senate campaign pledges and contributions. Smart Politics has also received its fair share of both criticism and praise for its analysis of the compromised data, perhaps, one might...

An Occupational Profile of Norm Coleman's Campaign Donor List

The many bits of information made available from the leak of the Norm Coleman U.S. Senate campaign donor database, posted at Wikileaks on Wednesday, gives the public a glimpse into what type of people supported the Republican incumbent's candidacy. On Thursday, Smart Politics broke down the donor data by state;...

Coleman's Compromised Donors: Where They Came From

The news for Norm Coleman just keeps getting worse. Fresh off his recent attempt to sell to the public (and the three-judge panel hearing his recount challenge) that the State of Minnesota should hold a new election, the private information of nearly 5,000 donors to his political campaign was...

Minnesota: Where Is Your Outrage Towards Harry Reid?

As the Minnesota U.S. Senate election trial ends its fourth week on Friday, partisan criticisms against Norm Coleman continue to mount from the left. Coleman has been accused of belaboring an election process which has left the Gopher State now without its full complement of Senators in D.C. for 47...

Is Coleman's Hands-On Approach to His Court Challenge Going to Backfire?

Norm Coleman is leaving no doubt to the public or the press that he stands firmly behind his decision to launch his U.S. Senate recount legal challenge. Coleman has drawn significant attention for his frequent courtroom appearances and the Senator has hardly been a shrinking violet when it comes to...

Why the Minnesota Senate Recount and Court Challenge Is Helping the Federal Budget Deficit

While Minnesota taxpayers are on the hook for approximately $200,000 to pay for its 62-day U.S. Senate race recount, that long process, and Norm Coleman's subsequent court challenge, is saving taxpayers' money nationwide as Minnesota's Class II Senate seat remains unoccupied. Last month Smart Politics documented how the 'non-vacant' vacant...

Coleman Says 'God Wants Me to Serve'

While Al Franken remains fairly elusive, Norm Coleman is keeping a high profile these days as his court challenge of the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount plods along. Coleman is adept, somewhat too adept, his critics might say, at skillfully tailoring his message to his audience, and that skill set was...

The Trial Begins: What Is Norm Coleman's End Game?

The fact that the Minnesota Senate recount has moved to the lawsuit phase is a surprise to no one - with an election decided by a few hundred votes, there is no doubt either candidate who ended up on the short end of the recount would take their case to...

12 Days And Counting: Minnesota Already At 4th Longest Stint Without Two Senators in State History

Since January 3rd, when Norm Coleman's first term as U.S. Senator came to an end, Amy Klobuchar has officially been doing double-duty as the state's lone Senator on Capitol Hill. Klobuchar has stated her office started receiving a noticeable increase in constituency requests beginning in December, to the tune now...

Coleman Popularity Virtually Unchanged Since Election Day, Despite Recent Poll Headline

Much has been made of the extremely low favorability ratings Norm Coleman (and Al Franken) are enduring in the wake of numbers released in last week's SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans conducted after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount process. The poll found Coleman's favorability numbers dipping to just...

U.S. Senate Race Ends Up 12 Votes Shy of '62 Gubernatorial Margin of Victory Record

With the final results (court challenge pending) certified by the State Canvassing Board on Monday finding Al Franken with a 225-vote victory over Norm Coleman, the 2008 U.S. Senate race nearly eclipsed the 1962 gubernatorial election as the closest high-profile statewide election in Gopher State history. For 46 years and...

Will Al Franken Be the Favorite in 2014?

Presuming Al Franken is eventually seated as the junior Senator from Minnesota sometime this year, the Republican Party will no doubt soon be gearing up to plan his political demise in 2014 - whether with Norm Coleman in a rematch or against another GOP opponent. Of course, assessing the likelihood...

Franken's (Apparent) Victory Is 4th Weakest U.S. Senate Performance in DFL History

Throughout his U.S. Senate campaign, Al Franken was dogged by criticisms, even peppered from within his own party, that he was a 'weak candidate' for the DFL. These criticisms took many forms, such as stern words regarding Franken's writings and temperament from respected DFL U.S. Representative Betty McCollum to...

Franken Has Big Edge in County Distribution of Absentee Ballots

Al Franken's 49-vote lead is expected by nearly all analysts to increase after the tabulation of wrongly excluded absentee ballots by the Canvassing Board this weekend. The final, hard data is now in to confirm these suspicions. Of the 953 ballots sent by the state's 87 counties to the Board,...

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)...

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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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