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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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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