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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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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