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Historical Snapshot: U.S. House Races in Minnesota

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After picking up one seat in the 2006 election, the DFL eyes another in 2008. The retirement of Republican Jim Ramstad, after 18 years of service, opens up a competitive 6th Congressional District.

The DFL has enjoyed success in U.S. House races in recent years, particularly since 1976 when Minnesota began its current streak of voting for the Democratic presidential nominee in 8 straight elections. From 1976 to 2006 the DFL has won 80 of 129 contests compared to just 49 races for the GOP (this includes special elections).

But it took nearly a century from statehood for Democrats in Minnesota to gain a strong foothold in the state's delegation to the House of Representatives. From 1857 to 1942, the last election before the union of the Farmer-Labor and Democratic parties in 1944, Republicans won 81 percent of all Congressional races, or 239 seats. Candidates from the Farmer-Labor and Democratic party collectively won only 49 races during this 85-year span, or just 17 percent. Other third parties won 7 seats, or 2 percent.

From elections held at the end of FDR's presidency in 1944 through the 1974 election after Richard Nixon's resignation, the Democratic and Farmer-Labor Party merger helped to minimize the Minnesota Republican Party's footprint in Congress; Republicans won 79 of 138 races (57 percent) during that span, with the DFL winning 59 races (43 percent). In the 30 years since, from 1976 to 2006, the DFL won 62 percent of Gopher State U.S. House contests, compared to 37 percent for the GOP.

For more details on Minnesota election results, visit the Center's Historical Election Archive—the most complete on-line historical database of Upper Midwestern statewide and district-level election returns: www.politicsandgovernance.org/elections/election_data.html

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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