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Wisconsin Assembly Poised to Flip to Democratic Control

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The filing deadline for candidacy papers closed last week in Madison and Democrats, who took control of the state Senate in 2006, appear poised to do the same in the Assembly in 2008.

Republicans will face an uphill battle holding onto their current 5-seat majority in the lower legislative chamber (52 to 47). Republicans have controlled the Assembly since the election of 1994, and their advantage grew with every election cycle from 1994 (3 seats), to 1996 (5 seats), to 1998 (11 seats), to 2000 (13 seats), to 2002 (17 seats), to 2004 (21 seats). In 2006, however, that advantage fell to just 5 seats after the Democrats gained 8 seats (Smart Politics projected a 7-seat gain for the minority party).

Assuming, for the moment, that all incumbents facing primary challenges in September will be victorious, Republicans will have 46 incumbents on the ballot, compared to 42 for the Democrats. Republicans, however, will need to defend twice as many seats that were competitive in 2006 (16 districts) than will the Democrats (8 districts). (Competitive races are defined as those decided by 10 points or less in the previous election cycle).

Secondly, Republicans will have to defend one more open seat (6) than the Democrats (5) and three of these open seats are located in competitive districts (#47, 57, and 92). None of the open Democratic seats were competitive districts in 2006.

Thirdly, Democrats will also run more than one-quarter of their incumbents (11) without a challenger from the GOP. Republicans, meanwhile, will only run 3 of their 46 incumbents free from the challenge of a Democratic candidate.

If the Democrats net just 3 seats in November, and maintain their advantage in the state Senate, they will control both the legislative and executive branches of government for the first time in Wisconsin since the 1984 election cycle.

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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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