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Fred Thompson: A Promising Non-Candidate in Iowa

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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 to run by several elites within the GOP.

Thompson is considered to be a viable candidate because he is not considered to be too liberal for the GOP base (i.e. Giuliani's potential problem), he is not a party outsider (e.g. John McCain), nor does he have high unfavorable numbers like some potential conservative candidates (e.g. Newt Gingrich).

In the ARG Iowa poll Giuliani and McCain continue to lead the pack at 29 percent each. Thompson comes in third at 12 percent, besting Mitt Romney by 2 points. With the addition of Thompson, support for several traditional conservatives in the field fell sharply, apparently losing support to Thompson. In last month's ARG poll Gingrich, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee garnered a collective 19 percent of those surveyed. In the March survey with Thompson listed as a potential candidate, support for these conservatives fell to just 7 percent (with Thompson picking up the missing 12 percent).

Thompson did not run for a third term as U.S. Senator from Tennessee in 2002, but does not face the problem of name recognition that plagues other candidates, due to his high-profile appearances on television (Law and Order) and film (In the Line of Fire, Cape Fear, Die Hard 2, Days of Thunder, The Hunt for the Red October) in a 20-year acting career.

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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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