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Third Parties Garnering Support In Key Statewide Races

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A recent report by Gallup indicates muted support for third party candidates thus far in the 2008 presidential race. In an open-ended question asking likely voters for which candidate they would cast their presidential ballot, only 2 percent cited third party candidates (1 percent each for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and independent candidate Ralph Nader).

Although the candidacies of Barr and Nader may not have gained traction yet nationally, third party candidates in other high profile statewide races are already making their mark.

For example, in Colorado’s open U.S. Senate race, the latest Rocky Mountain News poll (August 11-13) finds left-leaning independent candidate Buddy Moore receiving the support of 5 percent of registered voters and Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey earning another 2 percent. Democrat Mark Udall is favored to win this open seat, but currently holds just a 6-point lead over Republican Bob Schaffer.

In North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, GOP incumbent and frontrunner Elizabeth Dole holds a mere 5-point lead in SurveyUSA’s August 9-11 poll of likely voters, while Libertarian Chris Cole is pulling down 7 percent. Cole’s candidacy may yet put the race in play for Democrat Kay Hagan.

In North Carolina’s open gubernatorial race, Republican Pat McCrory trails Democrat Beverly Perdue by 3 points, with Libertarian Mike Munger currently polling at 5 percent.

In the highly watched Oregon U.S. Senate race, GOP incumbent Gordon Smith has built a surprising double-digit cushion over Democrat Jeff Merkley according to the latest SurveyUSA poll (August 2-4), despite Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow netting an impressive 8 percent of likely voters. Smith was once considered a prized Democratic target, although the moderate Republican Senator has distanced himself early (and often) from President George W. Bush on the War in Iraq, which will earn him points in the Beaver State. Still, Republicans should worry that a strong Brownlow candidacy could tilt the race if it begins to narrow.

Democrats will be particularly interested in the next U.S. Senate poll conducted in Minnesota that includes the name of the Independence Party winner of the September 9th primary. The Independence Party vote is expected to be a drag on the candidacy of DFL-er Al Franken.

Previous post: Obama Support Falls To Lowest Mark Against McCain in Rasmussen’s Minnesota Polling
Next post: Number of Undecided Voters Increasing in Minnesota Senate Race

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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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