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Ramstad Petitions Bush to Find Iraq Solution

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Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad (MN-03) joined 10 of his fellow GOP Congressmen in a meeting at the White House earlier this week to discuss the war in Iraq with President Bush along with members of his cabinet (Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice) and his political advisers.

Ramstad's delegation voiced their frustration with the Iraqi government's performance as well the administration's current Iraq war policy. The members expressed concerns that the administration has contingency plans if the recent surge in U.S troops fails. One political concern expressed by the Congressmen, some of whom represent moderate, swing districts, is that the Iraq issue continues to damage the Republican Party (a concern echoed this week by Republican presidential candidate John McCain). For example, White House meeting attendees Mark Kirk (IL-10) and Charlie Dent (PA-15) won their 2006 races by just 6 points and 9 points respectively. In total, 35 House Republicans won their races by 10 points or less last November, and the GOP can ill-afford to lose any more ground in next year's House elections.

In February of this year Minnesota's Ramstad joined 16 other GOP Congressmen when the House passed a resolution disapproving of Bush's decision to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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