Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will GOP Controversy Put 16th Senate District In Play for the DFL?

Bookmark and Share

Minnesota blogs have been buzzing in recent days in light of state Representative Mark Olson’s endorsement by the Republican Party for the special election in Senate District 16 held this November. The election is being held to fill Betsy Wergin’s seat, who was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission.

Controversy has arisen largely because Olson, who decided not to run for his own House seat in 2008, was convicted of domestic assault in 2007 and the GOP could have endorsed Republican Alison Krueger in the primary held next month.

Putting the motivations of the GOP’s decision aside for the moment (as well as the motivations behind the recent postings by left and right leaning bloggers on the endorsement), the fallout from GOP officeholders has been swift and heavy: the Republican Senate caucus is supporting Krueger and stated, should Olson win the primary on September 9th, he will not be welcomed into the caucus. (Olson was expelled from the House GOP caucus last year).

The question Smart Politics asks is whether or not an Olson victory next month in the primary would put the reliably GOP district in play for the DFL?

Because 2006 was a banner election year for the DFL statewide, its candidates obviously improved substantially in SD-16, compared to similar races in 2002. In the state Senate contest, the DFL reduced a 22.7-point loss in 2002 to a 14.8-point loss in 2006. The DFL also gained 9 points in the gubernatorial race in the district and 23 points in the U.S. Senate race.

But this is not news – the DFL performed stronger nearly everywhere in Minnesota. The question is whether or not the pro-DFL trend in Senate District 16 was higher or lower than the average bump the DFL received across the state.

Smart Politics therefore examined the net difference of the margin of victory in SD-16 compared to the statewide margin of victory in key races in 2002 and 2006.

· In the race for Governor in 2006, the 16th Senate District voted 19.4 points higher (20.4 points) than Republican Tim Pawlenty’s statewide margin of victory (1 point). Back In 2002, the district voted 21.3 points higher than Pawlenty’s statewide margin of victory. In short, there was a net 2-point swing for the DFL in the district in 2006 beyond the average movement for the DFL statewide.

· In the U.S. Senate race, the results were virtually identical: in 2006 the 16th District voted Republican by a margin of 19.4 points higher than the statewide average – down from 21.1 points in 2002. Again, this is nearly a two-point bump for the DFL in this reliably Republican district above the statewide average.

The DFL’s seat margin in the Senate is so large that the importance of this special election is largely in its symbolic value: will Republican primary voters back the Party’s candidate, or will they support Krueger, the alternative?

In the event Olson should actually win the primary, given the momentum for the DFL at the margins in the district and its modestly competitive 15-point race in 2006, the DFL just might gain yet another Senate seat this fall.

Previous post: Will Minnesotans Turn Out On Primary Day?
Next post: Obama Support Falls To Lowest Mark Against McCain in Rasmussen’s Minnesota Polling

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting