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3rd CD: DFL Experiences Historical Bump in Presidential Election Years

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Upon 9-term Republican U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad’s retirement announcement in 2007, the DFL knew Ramstad’s open 3rd CD seat would be a competitive race and a potential pick-up for the party in 2008. (The DFL is running Iraqi War veteran Ashwin Madia against Republican State Representative Erik Paulsen).

But the DFL can expect an extra bump in 2008, beyond that which it would normally experience in this year’s open seat battle. That is because for the past 20 years, the GOP margin of victory in the 3rd CD has decreased in every presidential election year from the previous off-year cycle. The consistent uptick for DFL candidates in presidential election years has held even in the face of redistricting, which changes the demographics of districts every 10 years.

· When Mike Dukakis carried the Gopher State in 1988, the DFL picked up 3.6 points in the 3rd CD from their 40.2-point loss in 1986.

· Bill Clinton’s first victory in Minnesota in 1992 found the DFL again picking up 3.6 points from their 34-point loss in the district in 1990.

· When Bill Clinton was reelected in 1996, the DFL picked up 6.6 points from their 46.9-point loss in the district during the Republican Revolution of 1994.

· The DFL picked up 10.6 points during Al Gore’s victory in 2000, after having lost the 3rd CD by 48.4 points in 1998.

· And when Ramstad won his 8th term in 2004, he did so by 14.8 points less with John Kerry carrying the state, compared to Ramstad’s 44.1-point victory in 2002.

Ramstad won the 3rd CD by 29.9 points in 2006, but most pundits now rate the race as a toss-up, even though the GOP has carried the banner of the 3rd CD in the Gopher State in every election since 1960.

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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

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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

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