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Upper Midwestern States Contemplate Presidential Primary Dates

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As Election 2008 heats up, states across the nation are strategically shuffling their primary and caucus schedules in attempt to become more relevant players in the presidential campaign. Upper Midwestern states are also contemplating changes to their schedules in view of the potential benefits moving up primary voting day would provide—such as increased revenue to the state and gaining the ear of potential nominees.

Iowa, of course, is in no danger of losing its status as the first contest in the nation, although the Hawkeye state did move its caucus date up to the second Monday of January in 2008 (the 14th), one week earlier than in 2004 when it was held on the third Monday of the month (the 19th).

Legislators in South Dakota attempted to move its presidential primary up from June 3rd to February 5th, but the measure was defeated in the state House 35-35 last month. Advocates felt moving the primary date up would increase revenue to the state as well as put South Dakota issues on the agenda of presidential candidates, but opponents remained doubtful those benefits would outweigh the cost of holding an extra statewide election (primary voting is currently held for all district and statewide offices in June).

Wisconsin is slated to hold its primary on the third Tuesday in February (the 19th), just as it did in 2004. The Badger State is the only state scheduled to hold a primary on this day, as it was in 2004 when the state made some headlines as John Edwards came out of nowhere (34 percent) to nearly nip favorite John Kerry (40 percent) at the finish line. While more than one-third of the country will have already held their primaries by the time Wisconsinites vote (including several key states like Florida and California), if the Republican and/or Democratic nominees are still in doubt at that stage, Wisconsin will likely be a key stop on the campaign trail as candidates seek to gain momentum for March 4th when nine states vote (including New York, Texas, and Ohio).

Minnesota held its 2004 primary on the first Tuesday in March, and there have been discussions to move its primary next year to February 19th (like Wisconsin) or as early as February 5th—the Super Tuesday of Election 2008.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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