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Upper Midwestern US Senators React to State of the Union Address

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Several U.S. Senators from the Upper Midwest have released official statements in reaction to President George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union Address from last night.

Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa stated he was impressed with Bush's overall leadership and his "very ambitious agenda" to make "America energy independent and less reliant on fossil fuel." Grassley also agreed with Bush's health care plan and that his focus on terrorism is "right where it should be." Grassley did intimate, however, that immigration reform needs to be a bit stronger on enforcement than Bush's plan outlined.

Grassley's Democratic counterpart, junior Senator Tom Harkin, was cautiously optimistic about Bush's energy strategy—pleased to hear "A Texas oilman say that America's energy future lies in the corn and soybean fields of Iowa and the Midwest, not the oil fields of the Middle East." Harkin cautioned, however, "This is just one example of where the rubber needs to meet the road...the President has called for increased energy security in the past. His actions, however, have not met his rhetoric." Harkin was less optimistic about the President's health care plan ("another step in the wrong direction") and his Iraq strategy ("more of the same...ignoring the generals on the ground...all the president has done has put lipstick on a pig.")

Wisconsin junior Senator Russ Feingold criticized Bush for "continuing a failed stragey for Iraq," calling on Congress use its spending powers to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq to fight terrorist threats elsewhere. Feingold was also not impressed with Bush's health care proposal, although he was pleased with the President's goals on energy and illegal immigration.

Minnesota senior Senator Norm Coleman did not address any of Bush's foreign policy strategies, instead lauding the President's goals of investing more in renewable energy and making health care more affordable. Coleman had qualified support for Bush's education programs, stating No Child Left Behind needed "more flexibility in the program."

Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune was pleased with the President's "bold agenda for increasing renewable energy research and production." Thune also applauded education initiatives and was cautiously optimistic about Bush's health care plan. Thune also called Bush's Iraq strategy "an important message to our troops when they need it most: Americans stand behind you and we support you as you fight to win."

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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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