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MN House: GOP at a Disadvantage

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After losing thirteen seats in the Minnesota State House in 2004, the republicans hold a slim 68-66 advantage over their rival DFL. Even if one puts aside the fact that the state (and national) climate is trending democratic in recent months, the GOP is already in a disadvantaged position to make gains come Election Day. The reason: the number of GOP-controlled seats that are in competitive and open districts (34) is greater than those controlled by the DFL (26). In short, there are more vulnerable republican seats than DFL seats.

More than one quarter (37) of the Gopher state's 134 house races are in 'competitive' districts—more than Iowa (15 of 100 districts) and Wisconsin (15 of 99 districts) combined. ('Competitive' districts are classified as those decided by ten points or less in the previous election cycle). Of these 37 competitive districts, the GOP holds 21 and the DFL 16. Twenty-three districts in Minnesota are classified as 'very competitive'—decided by 5 points or less in 2004, while 14 are 'competitive'—decided by between 5 and 10 points.

Republicans are also at a disadvantage in that they are forced to defend 13 of the 23 open district races in 2006.

As a result, there are more DFL incumbents running for re-election (56) for the State House than republicans (55), despite the DFL being the minority party.

On top of these obstacles, the Republican Party's problems are compounded by the current trend in Party ID within the state: according to a series a monthly polls released by SurveyUSA, the percentage of Minnesotans who identify themselves as democrats has risen from 30 percent to 39 percent from May 2005 to October 2006, while the percentage identifying themselves as republican has dropped from 35 percent to 27 percent during this span.

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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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