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Iowa House Democrats Eye to Expand Advantage in '08

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Iowa Democrats seek to retain control of the House of Representatives in back-to-back elections for the first time since 1988/1990. Democrats won control of the House in 2006 with a 5-seat gain (as projected by Smart Politics), ending a 14-year reign by the GOP.

In 2008, Democrats take a 53 to 47-seat advantage into November’s elections. While third party candidates and those nominated by petition can still file for a few more days with the Secretary of State, the major party candidates have already been determined.

There are several reasons to expect Democrats will expand their lead in the state’s lower legislative chamber:

· Democrats will run 49 incumbents, compared to just 38 for the Republicans. That means Republicans will be defending 9 open seats compared to just 4 for the Democrats.

· Republicans will also have to defend 11 of the 19 districts that were competitive in 2006 – those decided by 10 points or less.

· Democrats also enjoy the advantage of running more than three times as many candidates in districts unchallenged by the GOP (17) as Republicans running in districts without Democratic candidates (5).

Overall, the Democratic and Republican parties did a better job fielding candidates for House races in 2008, compared to 2006. In 2006 there were 41 contests without major party challengers out of 100 races. That number dropped to 30 this year – a healthier sign of electoral competitiveness and democracy at work in the Hawkeye State.

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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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