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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

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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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