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WI State Legislative Shakeup in 2006 At Near Historic Levels

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The reclaiming of the Wisconsin state Senate by the Democratic Party received some fanfare last month in the Badger State, but the extent of Democratic pickups in the state Senate and state Assembly is nearly unprecedented over the past half-century of Wisconsin state politics.

Democrats had controlled the 33-seat state Senate for 12 of the last 16 legislative sessions dating back to 1974, although Republicans had been the majority party since 2002. The 4-seat pick-up by the Democrats in 2006 (shifting a 19-14 deficit to an 18-15 advantage) was the second largest gain achieved by either party in the chamber dating back to 1960.

In the 99-seat state Assembly, the Democrats picked up 8 seats, reducing the GOP's 59-39 advantage (1 seat was vacant) to 52-47. This marked the second largest pickup in seats by either party in Assembly elections in nearly 50 years (in 1970 the Democrats gained 19 seats in a tidal wave election).

While virtually no one gave the Democrats a chance to win the Assembly, Republicans are indeed fortunate to have retained control: Democrats lost 3 districts by just 0.7 (District 47), and 1.1 (Districts 80 and 87) percentage points. A change in a few hundred votes in each of those districts would have meant the Republicans—who have controlled the Assembly since 1994—would have been on the short end of a 50-49 margin.

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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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