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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.

Previous post: Turnover in 2008 MN House Party Control Follow-up
Next post: South Dakota Passes Qualified Minimum Wage Increase

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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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