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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

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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