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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

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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