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Collegiality in 110th Congress Enhanced by Rosie-Donald Junk News Feud

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As Democrats took control of Congress this week, a few reports have emerged of an apparent camaraderie between the outgoing Republicans and the incoming Democrats. Some of these reports deal with the trivial—such as Democrats taking a break from the new session as per outgoing new House Minority Leader John Boehner's request (Boehner, from Ohio, stressed the importance of a session delay due to Monday's Ohio State-Flordia BCS championship game). Other reports have linked the policy positions of Senate Republicans to their Democratic counterparts, speaking together in a more unified, outspoken critical fashion about George W. Bush's plan in Iraq (notably Norm Coleman (MN), Gordon Smith (OR), Olympia Snowe (ME), and, as he has for several months, Chuck Hagel (NE)). Reports even emerged (mostly on the Internet) that Senator Snowe would back the Democratic caucus to prevent a GOP takeover of the Senate, in the event SD Democratic Senator Tim Johnson could not convene with the new session and was replaced by a Republican by SD GOP Governor Tim Rounds.

Whether or not there is a new, true esprit de corps on Capitol Hill is doubtful, but the collegiality of Congress in its first week is enhanced by the fact that the news media—even the borderline 'straight' news media and prominent commentators like Bill O'Reilly—are spending at least as much air time covering the battle royale between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell. The alternately inane and humorous exchanges between these headline-hungry personalities have made the opposing parties in Washington, D.C. seem like bosom buddies in comparison. Now that quasi-serious news journalist Barbara Walters has been dragged into the Rosie-Donald fight, the story likely has legs through another few news cycles. As a result, Congress is experiencing a true "Honeymoon" period. As the news media becomes more preoccupied with entertainment non-news, the amount of ink and airtime spent on the serous political debates and differences between the parties on Capitol Hill seems to take a backseat.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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