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Addresses by Upper Midwest Governors Remarkably Similar

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Three gubernatorial addresses conducted this month across the Upper Midwest have been remarkably similar with regards to the main issues raised in the speeches.

Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State address delivered last week focused on four primary issues—better government, better energy, better health care, and better education. Democratic Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle tackled three main issues in his inaugural address on January 3rd: higher education, health care, and better government (specifically, ethics reform). Meanwhile, Democratic Iowa Governor Chet Culver spent most of his January 12th inaugural address on renewable energy—calling for Iowa to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. But he also touched on a handful of other issues, including education, health care, and better government (as well as fiscal responsibility and raising the minimum wage).

Presidential candidates in 2008 will no doubt go to great lengths to woo the voters in these three states, which carry 27 prized Electoral College votes. Given that the statewide priorities outlined by Pawlenty, Doyle, and Culver seem to be remarkably similar, it will be interesting to see if presidential candidates devise a singular, Upper Midwestern strategy to carry the trio of states, by outlining uniform federal priorities to audiences in each state.

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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