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Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up

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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 for the Minnesota House.

Representative Seifert offered several arguments indicating why 2008 will be different—that the DFL will have trouble holding serve due to a variety of factors, some of which I acknowledged in my original commentary. Seifert also asserted the top of the GOP ticket will be much stronger in 2008 than in 2006, benefiting the new crop of Republican House candidates.

I have since replied to the Minority Leader's posting here, offering more historical evidence from across the Upper Midwest that the kind of "buyer's remorse" that would be required in the electorate to prompt an immediate flip-flop back to the GOP in 2008 is a rarity: about once per 50 years for the elections to the House in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (it is even more rare for Senate elections). Smart Politics applauds the Minority Leader's staunch defense of his Party and his optimistic gaze into the future. In the meantime, Smart Politics will continue to look to the past to measure trends and baselines in voting behavior.

Previous post: GOP Unlikely to Take Back Minnesota House in 2008
Next post: Upper Midwestern States Contemplate Presidential Primary Dates

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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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