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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

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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