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Democrats in Best Position to Take Control of SD Senate Since 1992

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While Democrats have been able to win statewide elections in South Dakota in recent years (Tim Johnson, Tom Daschle, Stephanie Herseth), Republicans have thoroughly dominated district races for the state legislature. Since 1960, Democrats have only eked out a tie in the House (1972) and have controlled the Senate after the elections of 1972, 1974, and 1992.

In 2006, Democrats picked up 5 seats in the Senate, reducing the GOP’s margin from 25-10 to 20-15. And now, for the first time since 1992, Democrats have a real shot at winning back the State’s upper legislative chamber. Here’s why:

• First of all, due to term limits, retirements etc., Democrats will actually have more incumbents on the ballot (13) than will the Republicans (11).

• Republicans will therefore be defending more than four times as many open seats (9) than Democrats (2). Neither of the open seats on the Democratic side was competitive in 2006 (decided by 10 points or less), while two open seats for the GOP (Districts 25 and 35) were very competitive during the last election cycle (decided by 5 points or less).

• Thirdly, the Democratic Party has fielded candidates in all 35 districts, compared to just 29 in 2006. Republicans failed to field candidates in two districts this year.

• Overall, the Democratic and Republican parties will be trying to hold about an equal number of districts that were competitive in 2006: seven for the Democrats, and six for the Republicans.

With a very popular U.S. Senator (Tim Johnson) and at-large U.S. Representative (Stephanie Herseth) on the ballot, Democrats are looking at their best chance to take back the Senate in a generation.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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