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Kiffmeyer Challenges DFL on Voter ID: 'What Are You Afraid Of?'

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie outlined a long legislative 'wish-list' at a press conference Wednesday morning to improve the state's electoral process: · Permitting early voting of 15, 30, or even 45 days before an election to alleviate the burden of absentee ballots on local officials. · Requiring a...

Is the DFL 'Overrepresented' at the State Capitol?

As DFL legislators tore into Governor Tim Pawlenty's budget plan in committee hearings on Tuesday, the DFL caucus looked very much like a party with supermajority (Senate) or near supermajority (House) status. The DFL's icy reaction to the Governor's plan for corporate tax cuts and state bond sales did not...

House GOP Voter ID Legislation Has Strong Support Statewide

Even though the Voter Integrity Act of 2009 (HF 57) introduced earlier this week by Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer (R-Delano) has been characterized by some in the media as a "politically divisive idea" ("Requiring Voter IDs Is Back on the Agenda," Pioneer Press, 1/26/09), public opinion conducted on the issue...

Getting to 90: House Override of Pawlenty's Transportation Bill Veto Unlikely

Governor Tim Pawlenty's veto last Friday of a controversial transportation bill raises the prospect of a veto-override attempt by a DFL-controlled legislature that passed the bills by wide margins on February 21st. The $6.6 billion dollar bill seeks to fund the state's roads, bridges, and transit by implementing a gasoline...

GOP Holds on to MN 28B House Seat; But What Does It Mean?

Republican Steve Drazkowski defeated DFL candidate Linda Pfeilsticker 52.9 to 46.9 percent in a special election in House District 28B to replace former Rep. Steve Sviggum on Tuesday. While Ron Carey, the state Republican Party Chairman characterized Drazkowski's win as signaling "growing Republican momentum as we head into 2008," the...

Smart Politics Exclusive: Interview with House Minority Leader Marty Seifert

Smart Politics recently conducted an exclusive interview with Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (District 21A). Seifert was first elected to the legislature in 1996, and has been a formidable, vocal opponent of the House DFL agenda, becoming a media favorite for his quick wit, consistent political message, and...

Minnesota House Gas Tax Increase In Step With Statewide Majority View

In the seven weeks since its initial House approval in late March, the DFL found 7 more votes in a bill passage earlier this week that would raise the state's gas tax by a nickel per gallon to a potential (though unlikely) veto-proof majority. In March, there were 4 DFL...

Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up

My Smart Politics entry on Monday for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site prompted a quick reply by the GOP leadership. Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert offered a thoughtful rejoinder here to my historical analysis demonstrating the rarity of turnover in party control in consecutive elections...

GOP Unlikely to Take Back Minnesota House in 2008

The new Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site is now posted here. Several commentators and news reports have filled out their 'DFL scorecard' as we pass the halfway point in this year's legislative session. My commentary suggests no matter how poorly or how...

Female Legislators in MN At Record High; IA, WI, and SD Lag Behind National Average

Minnesota voters set a record in November 2006 by electing the highest percentage of female legislators to both the state House (43, 32.1 percent) and Senate (27, 40.3 percent) in Gopher State history. Overall, at 34.8 percent, Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in terms of the highest percentage of...

Tax Increases Not a Deal Breaker in Minnesota

The new Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site is now posted here. In it I challenge the assertions made by Minnesota Republican state Representative Marty Seifert in his February 24th blog that Minnesotans will oppose tax hikes imposed by the DFL this legislative...

Large Electoral Gains by Minority Party Not Uncommon in MN House

The DFL scored a major, although not an unexpected, victory last month by wrestling control of the State House from the GOP after four consecutive terms of Republican control. The size of the DFL's victory—a 19-seat pickup—did surprise many political observers. However, large electoral gains are not uncommon in recent...

Presence and Impact of Third Party Candidates in MN House Races Declining

For a number of years State House races in Minnesota were peppered with a significant number of third party or independent candidates. In 2006, however, the presence of these non-major party candidates was the lowest in a decade. In 1998 there were 18 non-major party candidates on the ballot in...

Minnesota State Legislative Recount Update

Nearly one in five state house races in Minnesota (22 of 134, 16%) were decided by five percentage points or less in the 2006 Election. On November 21st, Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer ordered recounts in three of the most closely decided districts. Republicans currently control each of these...

Smart Politics Scorecard, Part II: State Legislative Roundup

The Democratic party scored big wins across Upper Midwest state legislatures on Tuesday night. As projected here at Smart Politics, the Democrats picked up seats in all 8 chambers and took control of three of them: the Iowa House, Wisconsin Senate, and Minnesota House. Some democratic pickups - particularly in...

Upper Midwest State Legislative Projections

The last in a series of election projections, Smart Politics predicts which political party will win control of state legislatures across the Upper Midwest. Democrats are in an advantaged position in most states in each legislative chamber to pick up seats, based on the GOP needing to protect a higher...

MN House: GOP at a Disadvantage

After losing thirteen seats in the Minnesota State House in 2004, the republicans hold a slim 68-66 advantage over their rival DFL. Even if one puts aside the fact that the state (and national) climate is trending democratic in recent months, the GOP is already in a disadvantaged position to...

MN State Legislative Incumbents Hold Serve

No news was good news for the four Minnesota state legislative incumbents challenged in Tuesday's primary—each of whom enjoyed a double-digit victory to move on to November's general election. The big story was in District 12, where GOP incumbent Paul Koering survived a high-profile race in beating city councilman...

State Legislative Incumbents: Coasting in MN, Challenged in WI

While most interest and suspense among the public in election years is reserved for November, primaries can highlight the differences among states in the power of state legislative incumbency in deterring challenges from within one's own party. Primaries today in Minnesota and Wisconsin highlight how Minnesota's political party system is...

Where Have All the 3rd Party Minnesota Candidates Gone?

In recent years Minnesota has lead all Upper Midwestern states with the highest percentage of successful third party campaigns in state legislative races. While third party candidates still have a significant presence in the Gopher state (especially in state-wide elections), the number of third party candidates in Minnesota's 2006 state...

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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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