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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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