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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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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


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Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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