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DFL Prospects in Ramstad's 3rd CD Open Seat

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After Republican U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad announced his retirement Monday, effective at the end of this term (his 9th), the buzz around Minnesota politics was that his open seat would produce a competitive Congressional District race—one that was ripe for the picking for the DFL.

And there is data to back up this notion.

Smart Politics examined election returns in 2006 and compared it to the previous non-presidential election in 2002.

In gubernatorial races, the margin of victory for Republican Tim Pawlenty decreased by 7.1 points in the district from 2002 to 2006.

In 2002, the GOP held a 16.4-point victory margin in the Norm Coleman-Walter Mondale U.S. Senate race. In 2006 Amy Klobuchar beat GOP-er Mark Kennedy by 14.5 points—a 30.9-point net loss for the Republicans in the 3rd C.D..

But these recent races for Governor and U.S. Senate may have been driven more by the personalities of the top-of-the-ticket candidates rather than an actual change in political temperature in the 3rd District.

As such, Smart Politics also examined lower-ticket races in the district. The 3rd Congressional District is home to 18 state house districts—14 completely comprised in the 3rd, and 4 partially in the 3rd.

In 2002, 14 of these 18 districts voted for the GOP candidate. In 2006, 9 went to the DFL, 9 to the GOP. Moreover, the GOP lost ground in 17 of these 18 races, losing an average of 21 net points per district.

This data suggests that if the DFL is able to nominate a moderate candidate for the 3rd C.D. race, that candidate may actually emerge as a narrow favorite for this open GOP seat. Of course, 2006 was an extraordinary year for Democrats nationwide, and in the Gopher State. Whether or not the national political scene influences this climate in the 3rd District (and, if so, how) remains to be seen.

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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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