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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...

Longshots At-Large

In addition to facing an electorate prone to split-ticket voting, Montana Republican U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg faced another historical hurdle in his attempt to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester earlier this month. With Rehberg's loss, just 3 of 18 at-large U.S. House members have ousted incumbents in U.S. Senate...

Dear Bret and Karl

During the marathon election night coverage a statement qualifying Barack Obama's reelection victory was repeatedly mentioned on FOX News. Anchor Bret Baier characterized Obama as the "First president ever to be reelected with fewer electoral votes than the first time." FOX contributor Karl Rove later added: "This is the first...

Could Democrats Gain US Senate Seats with Obama Loss?

Is it possible for Democrats to lose the White House and still gain seats in the U.S. Senate? Possible, but not likely. In the 15 cycles in which the incumbent party has lost the White House since 1860, on only three occasions was that party able to make gains in...

To Flip or Not to Flip?

Since 1832, at least one state with 10+ electoral votes has flipped from the previous cycle in 43 of 45 presidential elections, and at least one state with 20 or more votes has switched in 35 cycles. Indiana (and its 11 electoral votes) seems assured to flip this November, while...

Close Shaves in MN-06

A new SurveyUSA poll finds Michele Bachmann leading by single digits among likely voters against political novice and hotelier Jim Graves, 50 to 41 percent. Should Bachmann prevail by a similar margin on Election Day, it will continue a tradition for the three-term U.S. Representative. In 2008, Bachmann had the...



Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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