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Minnesota House Gas Tax Increase In Step With Statewide Majority View

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In the seven weeks since its initial House approval in late March, the DFL found 7 more votes in a bill passage earlier this week that would raise the state's gas tax by a nickel per gallon to a potential (though unlikely) veto-proof majority.

In March, there were 4 DFL defectors in opposition to the bill, and 5 GOP defectors in support of it. On Monday, there were just 2 DFL defectors voting against and 7 GOP defectors voting in favor of the legislation. The net result is a 90-43 majority on a bill destined to be vetoed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

A recent poll sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio found a bare majority of Gopher State residents (51 percent) supported the 5-cent per gallon increase to pay for improvements to roads and bridges. Forty-five percent of Minnesotans opposed the increase.

Despite Pawlenty's veto of the legislation on Tuesday, the MPR poll does not suggest there is overwhelming opposition to the increase, even among his Republican base. Just 50 percent of Republicans polled opposed the nickel per gallon increase (with 43 percent in favor of it). This is a rather striking finding in the MPR poll, conducted May 7-9, considering the recent nationwide increase in gasoline prices during the past month.

Pawlenty, however, remains undaunted by the 90 votes stitched together by the DFL majority to gain the bill's passage. And rightfully so. The Governor only needs 1 of the 7 GOP-ers who voted for the legislation to switch his vote to sustain his veto - provided the DFL does not pick up any more support from its caucus along the way.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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