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Presidential Politics in Minnesota: A Historical Overview

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Since Minnesotans cast their first presidential ballots in 1860, nearly 1 million more votes have been marked for Democratic (Democrat + DFL) presidential nominees compared to votes for Republican nominees, out of more than 38.6 million votes cast across 37 presidential elections. However, a larger percentage of votes (based on yearly percentages) have been cast for Republicans (50 percent) than Democrats (43 percent) due to the fact that the Democratic trend began just prior to the mid-20th Century when the state's voting age population increased substantially.

Minnesota has been on the winning side of Presidential politics in just less than three-quarters (73 percent) of elections—27 of 37 races. The state has been a bit more defiant in following national trends in recent years, voting for the winning president in just 6 of the past 12 elections since 1960.

Overall, the state has voted for more Republicans (20) than Democrats (16), with one third-party nominee winning the state's electoral votes (Progressive Teddy Roosevelt in 1912).

But the trend towards a bluer Minnesota did not begin until Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Since 1932, the state has voted for Democratic presidential nominees in 16 of 19 elections, with the only Republican successes in the state being Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1952 and 1956 campaigns and Richard Nixon's victory in 1972.

Prior to 1932, Republican nominees had won the Gopher State in 17 of 18 elections, with the Democrats failing to capture the state even once. Only three times did the Democratic presidential nominee even get within 10 points of victory:

* In 1916, Woodrow Wilson lost the state by 0.1 points to Republican nominee Charles E. Hughes.
* In 1912, Wilson lost by 5.9 points to Progressive Teddy Roosevelt.
* In 1892, Grover Cleveland lost by 8.2 points to Benjamin Harrison.

Overall, approximately 18.57 million votes (48.1 percent) have been cast in Minnesota for Democratic presidential nominees, compared to 17.57 million (45.5 percent) for Republicans and 2.48 million for third parties (6.4 percent).

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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

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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