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September 2006


Blue Dog Democrats Well Represented in Upper Midwest

The Blue Dog Democrats, though a dying breed, have a fair-sized delegation from the Upper Midwest. The Blue Dog coalition (originally formed in 1995) is a group of 37 conservative and moderate democrats who are seen as serious players in the policy arena due to frequently being swing votes. While...

Eric J. Ostermeier, Ph.D., J.D.

Smart Politics is authored by Eric J. Ostermeier, Research Associate at the Humphrey Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Department of Political Science, 2006; J.D., The University of Michigan Law School, 1995). Dr. Ostermeier's research at Smart Politics has appeared in dozens...

MN: Split Ticket Voting Revisited

The latest Minnesota polls show the DFL surging in the US Senate race and in a dead heat in the gubernatorial race. The prospects of split ticket voting in these races was discussed a few days ago here at Smart Politics (September 25); today we reexamine this issue, in light...

Will Minnesotans Split Their Ticket in November?

Three polls released inside of the last two weeks by the Star Tribune, Humphrey Institute, and Minnesota Public Radio all show DFL US Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar with a significant, double-digit lead over GOP nominee Mark Kennedy. These three polls also show DFL gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch running neck and...

WI Referendum: Definition of Marriage

In 2003, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill that sought to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Republican-led legislature then initiated a constitutional amendment process (which passed 19-14 in the state Senate on a strict party-line vote and 62-31 in the state Assembly...

MN Senate: New HHH Poll Also Finds Double-Digit Lead for Klobuchar

Excerpts from a report by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance on its new poll on the Minnesota race for U.S. Senate: The Democratic Party nominee for U.S. Senate, Amy Klobuchar, holds a commanding advantage over the Republican Party nominee, Mark Kennedy, according to a Humphrey...

MN Governor: Race Still a Toss-Up

Excerpts from a new report by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance on its new poll on the Minnesota Governor's race: Governor Tim Pawlenty and Attorney General Mike Hatch are tied in what is shaping up as a classic bread and butter campaign, according to a...

IA-1: Dems Best Chance for a Pick-Up in Upper Midwest

Smart Politics' continuing look at competitive US House races across the Upper Midwest began yesterday with a discussion of the Republican's best shot at picking up a seat (IA-3). On the other side of the spectrum is Iowa's 1st Congressional District—which is the best chance not only for the democrats...

IA-3: GOP Has Sights Set On Boswell

As Election Day draws nearer, the importance of US House races in the Upper Midwest will be seen through an increased number television advertisements, more money injected into the campaigns by political parties and campaign committees, and more public polling. Since most of the Upper Midwest's 22 districts have...

MN Senate: Klobuchar Opens Up Remarkable Lead In 'Controversial' New MN Poll

Smart Politics normally does not blog on the results of a single poll; this site endeavors to provide more than the horserace angle to politics. However, the recent Minnesota Poll released Sunday night does warrant some discussion. DFL nominee for US Senate Amy Klobuchar now leads GOP nominee Mark...

WI Primary Roundup: Incumbents Sail, with One Notable Exception

Official results will not be released by the Wisconsin State Elections Board until September 26th, but it is unlikely any statewide or district incumbents broke a sweat last Tuesday night…with the exception of Peg Lautenschlager in her bid to remain the state's Attorney General. All three incumbent state senators were...

SD Governor: History Is On Rounds' Side...Unless...

South Dakota boasts a fascinating political history, peppered at the edges with contradictions in partisan preferences among its electorate. On the one hand, democrats have more than held their own in federal congressional statewide elections, winning 9 of the last 16 US Senate races since 1960, and 9 of...

Dropping Gasoline: Dropping Support for Democrats?

Upper Midwesterns have certainly rejoiced at the drop in gas prices during the past few weeks. The current price for a gallon of gas in the Midwest is now $2.45, falling 15 cents a gallon from a week ago and 31 cents a gallon in two weeks. In Minnesota, the...

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...

Will Wisconsin End Unprecedented 153-Year Ban on Death Penalty?

Wisconsin is one of 13 states plus the District of Columbia that does not currently offer the death penalty as a sentencing option in its criminal courts. The death penalty was abolished in the Badger State in 1853—nearly 120 years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled state death penalty statutes...

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...

Immigration: The Invisible Issue in the MN US Senate Race?

Illegal immigration continues to be a hot topic nationally, regularly ranking in the Top 5 most important national problems and Top 3 priorities for the U.S. Congress. Not only has the question of how to handle the influx of illegal immigrants that cross the US-Mexican border permeated the national...

Jim Doyle's Biggest Threat: The Greens or Mark Green?

Despite voting democratic in the past five presidential elections and 13 of the past 15 U.S. Senate elections, Wisconsin is far from a safe 'blue' state for democratic candidates for governor—especially incumbent Jim Doyle. Democrats have not fared well in gubernatorial elections in the Badger state in recent years,...

Battle for the Statehouse: Minnesota's State Senate Races

Can you name your state senator? This autumn Minnesota voters will decide not only two closely-watched statewide races (for Governor and U.S. Senator), but also which party will run each of its two narrowly controlled legislative chambers. State legislative matchups do not normally get the ink of statewide elections, but...

Welcome to Smart Politics

While this news site may occasionally make attempts at injecting wit and wryness into our discussion of politics, the name, Smart Politics, is not intended to be playful or an oxymoron. Smart Politics is a news site that reveals a zeal for politics, devoid of cynicism and rants, and replete...