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GOP Unlikely to Take Back Minnesota House in 2008

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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 highly one thinks the DFL has performed in the House thus far, it is unlikely to lose its majority party status in 2008.

First, historically it is very rare for party control of the Minnesota House to change hands in consecutive elections. Second, the amount of turnover in back-to-back elections that would be required for the GOP to take control again in 2008 would be unprecedented in modern times: after each 'landslide' election in modern legislative electoral history (the DFL picked up 19 seats in 2006) there has been a period of relative stability in the party composition of the House. In short, the Minnesota electorate is prone to give that party some time to implement its agenda -- usually across several election cycles. For the full commentary, please visit the Almanac: At the Capitol website.

Previous post: Norm Coleman Maintains Double-Digit Lead Over Al Franken in New Poll
Next post: Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up

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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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