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Five Percent and Rising

The victory by Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark in Tuesday's 5th Congressional District special election marked the 32nd time a U.S. House seat was won by a woman in the Bay State. Since the first woman was elected to the chamber in 1916 (Montana's Jeannette Rankin), Massachusetts has held 627 seats...

Eight is Enough?

A total of eight candidates will be on the ballot in New Jersey's gubernatorial election Tuesday. That is the lowest number since 1989, when voters got to choose from six candidates in the ballot access-friendly Garden State. There were 19 gubernatorial hopefuls in 1993, 10 in 1997, nine in 2001,...

Five of a Kind

What do Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have in common? All five women ran failed gubernatorial general election campaigns prior to winning U.S. Senate seats. Feinstein lost her gubernatorial bid...

Knocking On Wood Out West

Over the last 100 years, all but four states have had at least one U.S. Senator die in office with 41 states losing a member of its delegation to the nation's upper legislative chamber on the job since the end of World War II. Just two states - Arizona and...

From DC to Concord

While she waits for a Republican candidate to emerge as her challenger in the 2014 race, one-term New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has to feel good about her reelection chances heading into next year. In the Granite State, the party of the sitting president has won election to the governor's...

Vin Weber on John Boehner

"I know Boehner quite well. It rankles me a little bit to hear people say 'He's a very weak Speaker,' and 'Why don't we have a Speaker like Sam Rayburn, Tip O'Neill, or even Newt Gingrich anymore?' And I have to say, if any of those people had to lead...

Mark Dayton: Age Is Just a Number

Less than a half year after Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was sworn into office, he already had one record under his belt: the oldest governor in Minnesota history. Dayton was 63 years, 11 months, and 8 days old on his first day as governor in January 2011 - already good...

Chicken, Contaminated Dry Wall, and Tennis?

While the Tea Party Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Blue Dog Coalition may have received a large share of the headlines in recent years, they represent but a small fraction of the officially recognized Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs) on Capitol Hill. It may surprise those outside the Beltway that there...

Terry Branstad: 11 Going on 14?

Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad, the longest-serving governor in the history of the country (excluding pre-U.S. Constitution governors), has served as chief executive of the Hawkeye State for 6,749 days through July 4th (18 years, 5 months, 24 days). That means he has been governor for 11.1 percent of the...

The 40 Percent Floor

Although Republicans have won 23 of 39 Indiana gubernatorial races since the first time a GOP candidate was on the ballot in 1860, Democrats have suffered few blow-out defeats during this span. In fact, the Democratic nominee has eclipsed the 40 percent mark in all 39 contests. The Republicans cannot...

Curse of the '4'?

Big-name Republicans are not coming out of the woodwork yet to challenge Al Franken in Minnesota's 2014 U.S. Senate race, and there is not much chatter of the GOP picking off one of the five DFL-held U.S. House seats either. Over the last century, Minnesota Republican U.S. House candidates have...

Seasoned Senators in Wisconsin

Of the 15 men and women that have served in the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin since popular vote elections were introduced a century ago, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin rank among the oldest upon first entering the chamber. Johnson began his tenure at the age of 55 years, 8 months,...

Party Like It's 1986?

Tim Johnson's retirement opens up an opportunity for Republicans to gain control of both U.S. Senate seats in South Dakota for the first time since the convening of the 100th Congress in January 1987 (Tom Daschle ousted incumbent GOPer James Abdnor in the 1986 election). South Dakota is currently tied...

Familiar Faces

On Wednesday, Paul Ryan's 2012 U.S. House challenger Rob Zerban announced he will seek a rematch in 2014 against the failed GOP VP nominee. Should Zerban win his party's nomination next year, that would mean the Democratic Party will have fielded just five different candidates across the last 10 election...

Bachmann's Low Profile Continues

Four-term Republican Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann continues to keep a relatively low profile now two months into the 113th Congress. The Gopher State's 6th CD U.S. Representative has issued only nine press releases during this span - second lowest in her state delegation ahead of only blue dog Democrat Collin...

"We" Before "I"

In Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union address, the President only incorporated 56 first-person singular pronouns (e.g. I, I'd, I'll, I'm, I've, me, mine, myself) into his speech, or 0.8 percent of the words he spoke Tuesday evening. That marks the lowest number and percentage across his four addresses...

Bill Burton: Don't Criticize Beyoncé!

During an event at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs Thursday afternoon, former Obama Deputy Press Secretary and Priorities USA senior strategist Bill Burton was asked what he thought of the Beyoncé lip synching scandal at the president's inauguration event. Burton replied, "I will never criticize Beyoncé." He recalled, "I...

Rand Paul Resurrects the Nullifiers

Kentucky GOP U.S. Senator Rand Paul's recent vow that Congress should "nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation" in his executive orders on gun control brings to mind a minor political party which was founded on perceived federal overreach. The Nullifier Party of the 1830s was a state's...

Army 9, Navy 7?

If Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel is confirmed by the Senate in the coming weeks, he will be the ninth person to hold that office who served in the U.S. Army - more than any other military branch. Of the 22 different men who have served as Defense Secretary,...

Home State Heroes

Of the 12 newly-elected U.S. Senators to take their seats in the 113th Congress, just four were born in the state they will represent: Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Two senator-elects were born...



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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