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Al Franken Wins DFL Endorsement for U.S. Senate

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Actor, writer, and satirist Al Franken won the DFL endorsement for U.S. Senate at the party's convention this weekend in Rochester. Franken defeated college professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer on the first ballot.

The endorsement comes as little surprise, although Franken had been put on the defensive in recent days—particularly by women's groups—for various articles and (purportedly satirical) comments he had made during the past decade and a half as a comedian.

Still, Franken has long been touted as the DFL's best bet to defeat 1-term Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, especially since Mike Ciresi dropped out of the race earlier this year. Franken has polled within 10 points or less of Coleman in each of the last 10+ public polls, including leading Coleman by three points in Rasmussen and HHH / MPR polls back in mid-February and late January respectively. Nelson-Pallmeyer was routinely trailing Coleman by close to 30 points in most public opinion polls.

The Franken vs. Coleman matchup is one of the most high profile Senate races in a year in which several Senate seats will be contested.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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