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Will Minnesotans Split Their Ticket in November?

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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 neck with Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty.

One reason Pawlenty may be running comparatively strong in his statewide race compared to Kennedy is, of course, the incumbency advantage that he enjoys. However, incumbency aside, it should not come as a surprise that Minnesotans may split their vote come this November.

In half of the eight elections since 1960 in which both gubernatorial and US Senate races were on the ballot, Minnesotans collectively split their ticket—electing one republican and one DFL candidate to these offices four times.

In 1960, 1966, and 1990, the state elected Republican governors (Elmer Andersen, Harold LeVander, Arne Carlson) and DFL senators (Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone). In 1982, Minnesotans elected DFL Governor Rudy Perpich and GOP Senator Dave Durenberger.

While a lot can change in the next six weeks, 2006 may yet be another year in which the state elects a republican governor and a DFL senator. The Kennedy campaign will not be heartened by this news, but the Pawlenty camp should by now realize the state's schizophrenic political history offers him enough wiggle room to give him a strong chance at keeping his job in St. Paul.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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