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Democratic Senate Iraq War Resolution Fails

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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 members of the Democratic caucus voting against the resolution (Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; for more analysis of Lieberman please see the February 20, 2007 Smart Politics entry).

All seven voting members of the Upper Midwest delegation from Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin voted with their party. The resolution was co-introduced by nearly the entire Democratic caucus, including Russ Feingold (WI), Herb Kohl (WI), Tom Harkin (IA), and Amy Klobuchar (MN).

The resolution described the situation in Iraq as a "civil war" requiring a political solution, although it did allow for some forces to remain behind after March 2008 to train Iraqi forces, conduct counter-terrorism operations, and protect coalition and U.s. personnel and infrastructure.

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold has been one of the few consistent anti-Iraq war voices in the Senate during the past four years and continues to call the war "one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation." In a recent press release Feingold stated the "failed policy" has "weakened our military readiness, sapped our resources, undermined the fight against al Qaeda and jeopardized our national security."

In a press release on the Senate Joint Resolution, Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl called Iraq a "tragic situation" with American forces acting as a "referee (in) a bloody civil war" and "stretched to the breaking point."

Iowa's Tom Harkin called the Republican victory on Thursday as an act that "ignored the overwhelming sentiment of the American people." Harkin calls the Iraq conflict a "misbetton, misguided war."

Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar struck a more cordial tone calling the vote "disappointing" and that the current open-ended commitment "does not serve the interests of our troops or the Iraqi people, who must stand up and forge the necessary political solutions."

Upper Midwestern Republican Senators Charles Grassley (IA), John Thune (SD), and Norm Coleman (MN) have not yet released official press releases on the defeat of the Senate resolution.

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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