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Coleman Retains Small Lead Over Franken; Ventura Candidacy Looms

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Norm Coleman continues to lead Al Franken in his defense of his U.S. Senate seat, by 48 to 45 percent, according to a poll of 500 likely voters by Rasmussen. The poll, conducted on Wednesday, June 11th, finds no bounce for Franken coming out of last weekend's DFL convention, in which he won the party's endorsement on the first ballot.

Coleman has now polled ahead of Fraken in 15 of 17 surveys conducted by 5 different polling organizations since February 2007. Coleman has led by single digits in each of the last five such surveys since mid-March.

Rumors of an independent candidacy by Jesse Ventura continue to linger, and the Rasmussen survey finds Ventura polling much higher in this hypothetical U.S. Senate race, than he did at this point in 1998 when he was actively running for Governor of the Gopher State. In the new Rasmussen survey, the introduction of Ventura into the mix finds Coleman with a 39 to 32 percent lead over Franken, with Ventura polling at a substantial 24 percent.

As late as August 1998, Ventura was polling at just 13 percent in his run for Governor (Pioneer Press / MPR poll), so the former Governor would be starting his Senate run with a much longer running start than he had 10 years ago. The filing deadline for Ventura to launch his candidacy is in about a month (July 15th).

Still, Ventura has the highest negatives of any of the three principles: Coleman has a 45 percent unfavorable rating, Franken has a 50 percent unfavorable rating, and Ventura has a very high 62 percent unfavorable rating. Only 27 percent believe Ventura should make a run as an independent candidate.

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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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