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Third Parties: Minnesota Leads the Pace in US House Races

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Minnesota's historical success of placing third party candidates on the ballot usually begins and ends with Jesse Ventura. In a report released earlier this summer, the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance also showed Ventura's legacy in sustaining third party success in the state.

'Success' is, of course, a relative term: for third parties it is first to get on the ballot and second to make at least a ripple in the outcome of the race (receiving a just few percent of the vote can often alter the shape of an election).

But the prominence of third parties in the Gopher State extends back well before the Ventura years. Take, for example, US House races. Since 1960 nearly one-quarter (23%) of General Election House elections had third party candidates who received at least 2% of the vote (43 of 185 races). This is by far more than any other state in the Upper Midwest. In fact, it is more than Iowa (3%), South Dakota (9%) and Wisconsin (8%) combined.

Third party candidates for will also be peppered throughout most Minnesota US House races in 2006, including candidates from the Independence, Green, Constitution, Socialist Workers, and Unity parties. A more detailed examination of these candidates will be posted here at Smart Politics in the coming weeks.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

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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