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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

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

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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