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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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