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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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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