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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

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

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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