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From Red to Blue

Barack Obama has delivered an address before a joint session of Congress eight times since taking office five years ago. During his first three speeches (February 2009's inaugural address to Congress, September 2009's address on health care reform, and the 2010 State of the Union), the president's tie color of...

Tom Latham's Exit Revisited

Tom Latham's surprise announcement last month that he would retire from the U.S. House at this end of this term was also an unusual exit in modern Hawkeye State history. Over the last 50+ years since the 1962 cycle, only six of 32 Iowa U.S. Representatives - including Latham -...

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...



Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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