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Unified Democratic Party Control a Rarity in Iowa Politics

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When Democrats took control of the Iowa House last November, it marked a rarity in Iowa politics that had not occurred in more than 40 years: concurrent Democratic control of the Governor's office, Senate, and House.

The last time Democrats were elected to sole control of both the executive and legislative branches of government in the Hawkeye State, Harold Hughes was in his second term of Governor way back in 1964. While divided government is the norm in Iowa, the Republican Party has managed to hold unified control of both branches 7 times during the past 24 legislative sessions (1960, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1978, 1980, and 1996).

Democrats picked up 5 seats to win the Iowa House in 2006 to gain a 54-49 advantage. The last time Democrats won the Iowa House was back in Election 1990. In 2006, Democrats also increased their biggest advantage in the Iowa Senate (10 seats, 30-20) since the 1988 Election. This 10-seat advantage is tied for the largest they've enjoyed since 1960.

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Political Crumbs

Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


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