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South Dakota US Senate Historical Snapshot

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Now that Mississippi Republican Trent Lott has announced his retirement, 35 U.S. Senate seats will be on the ballot next November—23 held by the GOP and just 12 by Democrats. One of the few seats targeted by the Republicans is that held by Democrat Tim Johnson of South Dakota.

Johnson is extremely popular in his home state, but, given South Dakota's heavy Republican leanings, it is one of the few opportunities the GOP has to invest its resources in stealing a seat.

South Dakota has voted overwhelming for Republicans for major office:

* Republicans have won 25 of 29 presidential elections since 1892 (86 percent).
* Republicans have won 42 of 52 gubernatorial elections since statehood in 1889 (81 percent).
* Republicans have 93 of 118 U.S. House seats since 1889 (79 percent).

Republicans have also won the majority of U.S. Senate seats since popular elections for the office began in 1914, although by a less impressive margin, winning 20 seats to 12 for the Democrats, or 63 percent. Democrats have also won 9 of the 15 seats dating back to 1962.

Overall, Republicans have garnered 4.33 million of the 8.26 million votes cast for U.S. Senate in South Dakota since 1914 (53 percent). Democrats have won 3.75 million votes (45 percent) while 172,490 votes have gone to third parties (2 percent).

A third party candidate for U.S. Senate has not received 5 percent of the vote since 1926, when Howard Platt of the Farmer-Labor party earned 7.1 percent. The strongest showing for a third party candidate was in 1920 when non-partisan Tom Ayres came in second place with 24.1 percent of the vote.

Republicans have also enjoyed a much larger average margin of victory in South Dakota U.S. Senate elections—18.4 points, compared to just 9 points for Democratic victors.

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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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