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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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Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


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