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MN Senate: Ventura Out, Barkley In, Coleman & Franken Split in Two New Polls

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As Jesse Ventura announced he would not challenge Norm Coleman in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race, two new polls were released revealing vastly different results.

Ventura, before Larry King’s national audience on CNN, stated he would not seek Coleman’s Senate seat, giving a variety of reasons along the way. Ventura’s fear of how such a campaign would affect his family – indicting the Minnesota press once again for how they treated his son during his gubernatorial reign – was the foremost reason he gave for staying out of the race. Ventura also suggested his disgust with politics generally – claiming he has no one to support in the presidential race and may not even vote. In the 30 minute interview, Ventura went on to attack, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, politicians who wish to stop illegal immigration, the media for covering the controversy involving Barack Obama’s former church, the Democrats for passing the FISA legislation last week, and, of course, George W. Bush and his ‘religious inspiration.’ In the end, Ventura stated he preferred a life of surfing, because “the ocean does not lie? but his government does.

With Ventura out of the race, the path was clear for long-time friend Dean Barkley to jump in – which he did last night. Barkley was appointed by Ventura in 2002 to serve out the remainder of Paul Wellstone’s term prior to Coleman filling the seat in January 2003.

Two new polls of the country’s highest profile Senate race were released yesterday, yielding wildly different results. In Rasmussen’s July 10th poll of 500 likely voters, Franken led Coleman 44 to 42 percent, within the survey’s margin of error. This was the first time Franken had led in any poll since a mid-February Rasmussen survey. Franken has only led Coleman in 3 of 23 surveys dating back to February 2007.

In SurveyUSA’s July 11-13 poll of 641 registered voters, Coleman’s advantage was measured at 13 points – 52 to 39 percent. This marked Coleman’s largest lead since a May 2007 MPR poll which had Coleman up by 22 points. Coleman has now polled above 50 percent in three of the last four public surveys (the exception being the new Rasmussen survey).

In Ventura’s interview he stated he would not endorse either Coleman or Franken, though he did not offer any substantive critique of Franken’s policy positions. Ventura was perhaps already aware Barkley would enter the race and presumably will endorse his old friend at some point in the campaign.

Both Coleman and Franken will face primary challenges on September 9th – including perennial candidates Jack Shepard on the Republican side and Dick Franson and Ole Savoir on the DFL side. Priscilla Lord Farris, a St. Paul attorney, is expected to file papers to run as a DFL-er today. Three independence party candidates have also filed plus Charles Aldrich, a Libertarian.

Previous post: Rasmussen Poll: Obama Up Big in MN, IA, Competitive in the Dakotas
Next post: MN State House: Independence Party Stops the Bleeding

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

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Political Crumbs

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).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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