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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

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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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