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Battle for the Statehouse: Minnesota's State Senate Races

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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 in Minnesota these races are uncommonly sexy, especially for the state senate.

Minnesota boasts 70% of the competitive state senate districts across the Upper Midwest (districts are usually classified as 'competitive' when decided by 10 points or less in the previous election cycle). Of the 30 competitive state senate districts in Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the Gopher state is home to 21.

The state senate is controlled by the DFL in Minnesota (38-29), but they will need to defend more than three times as many open districts (7) than the GOP (2) come November. Open districts sometimes turn into competitive districts, regardless of the closeness of previous election results, as voters take a fresh look at all the candidates.

The DFL and GOP in Minnesota have been extremely adept at fielding candidates in nearly every State Senate district in recent years (96% of such elections since 2000 have had both democrat and republican candidates on the ballot). In 2006, 65 of the 67 races will feature candidates from both major parties so several intriguing matchups should emerge between the DFL and GOP hopefuls.

Now, can you name your state senator?

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1 Comment


  • Can you name your state senator?

    Michele Bachmann.

    *shudder*

    Here's hoping she finds herself out of a job in January.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Small Club in St. Paul

    Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


    Respect Your Elders?

    With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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