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Smart Politics
 


March 2007


Death Penalty Debate Continues in Wisconsin

Even though Democratic Governor Jim Doyle has resolved to veto any legislation coming out of Madison that supports the introduction of the death penalty in the Badger State, seven Republican Assemblymen sponsored a bill on Wednesday that would execute "vicious" murderers. Even if the bill passed an Assembly floor vote...

Smart Politics Live Blogging at Klobuchar Event

Smart Politics will be blogging live from 12:00-1:30 pm at an event sponsored by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG) at the Humphrey Institute on Monday, April 2nd. The event will feature Minnesota DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar, who will speak on global warming and renewable energy....

Fred Thompson: A Promising Non-Candidate in Iowa

The latest public poll for the Iowa Republican Caucus by American Research Group includes a new name in the mix: former Senator (and longtime actor) Fred Thompson. Thompson—not to be confused with former Wisconsin Governor and ex-Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson—has not announced his candidacy, but is being encouraged...

John Edwards Surging in Early Iowa Polling

While momentum shifts have not been so noticeable in national polls for the Democratic nominee for president (nearly all of which have Hillary Clinton with a significant lead over Barack Obama), such shifts have occurred in early polling at the state level, including Iowa, which will hold the first...

Upper Midwest Reps Vote 14-8 Along Party Lines for Iraq Timetable

On Friday the U.S. House voted 218-212 for an emergency supplemental appropriations bill funding the Iraq war, adding in various provisions including a timetable for withdrawal from the country to begin by March 2008 and be completed by the end of August of that year. The 22 legislators from the...

South Dakota Passes Qualified Minimum Wage Increase

This week South Dakota enacted legislation increasing the state hourly minimum wage—contingent upon an increase in the federal minimum wage law. South Dakota's current minimum wage is fixed at $5.15 per hour—identical to the federal law—and will not increase until July 1, 2007 or until a federal raise is...

Upper Midwestern States Contemplate Presidential Primary Dates

As Election 2008 heats up, states across the nation are strategically shuffling their primary and caucus schedules in attempt to become more relevant players in the presidential campaign. Upper Midwestern states are also contemplating changes to their schedules in view of the potential benefits moving up primary voting day would...

Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up

My Smart Politics entry on Monday for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site prompted a quick reply by the GOP leadership. Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert offered a thoughtful rejoinder here to my historical analysis demonstrating the rarity of turnover in party control in consecutive elections...

GOP Unlikely to Take Back Minnesota House in 2008

The new Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site is now posted here. Several commentators and news reports have filled out their 'DFL scorecard' as we pass the halfway point in this year's legislative session. My commentary suggests no matter how poorly or how...

Norm Coleman Maintains Double-Digit Lead Over Al Franken in New Poll

One of the Democratic National Committee's most targeted U.S. Senate seats in 2008 is assuredly the one held by Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman. Thus far Al Franken has emerged as the most prominent candidate to challenge Coleman in the Senator's bid for a second term. The latest public...

Democratic Senate Iraq War Resolution Fails

On Thursday the U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic-led joint resolution calling for phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq within 4 months and a goal of complete redeployment by the end of March 2008. The 50-48 vote included one Republican (Gordon Smith of Oregon) joining the Democrats, and three...

Smart Politics on Spring Break

Smart Politics is taking a slightly early spring break, but will return with normal postings in one week - March 16th. Our RSS feeds will remain active, so please be sure to check back for the latest headlines in Upper Midwestern politics....

Scooter Libby Felony Conviction Fallout

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's conviction of four felony counts of lying under oath and obstruction of justice on Tuesday marked the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted in a federal investigation since the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal. Libby will likely appeal the verdict and he remains out of prison...

Smoking in MN: Yes in Bars, No in Restaurants

The public opinion firm SurveyUSA recently released a series of questions asked of a random sample of 500 adults in Minnesota addressing a variety of social public policy issues on the state's legislative agenda. Regarding the proposed smoking ban taken up by the legislature this session, a plurality of...

Female Legislators in MN At Record High; IA, WI, and SD Lag Behind National Average

Minnesota voters set a record in November 2006 by electing the highest percentage of female legislators to both the state House (43, 32.1 percent) and Senate (27, 40.3 percent) in Gopher State history. Overall, at 34.8 percent, Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in terms of the highest percentage of...

Tax Increases Not a Deal Breaker in Minnesota

The new Smart Politics commentary for Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac: At the Capitol site is now posted here. In it I challenge the assertions made by Minnesota Republican state Representative Marty Seifert in his February 24th blog that Minnesotans will oppose tax hikes imposed by the DFL this legislative...