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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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