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Democratic-Led Iowa U.S. House Delegation a Rarity

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Iowa Democrats are poised to return to the U.S. House as the majority delegation in back-to-back elections for just the fourth time in the history of the Hawkeye State.

If reelected, the state’s Democratic U.S. Representatives (Bruce Braley from the 1st District, David Loebsack from the 2nd District, and Leonard Boswell from the 3rd District) will be in the majority for just the 11th time in 82 general elections since Iowa achieved statehood in 1846.

Democrats have only held a majority in the state delegation in back-to-back election years in three eras: 1847-1850 (before the founding of the Republican Party), 1932-1936 (after the stock market crash and the ensuing Great Depression), and 1974-1976 (after the Watergate fallout).

The only other years in which more Democrats than Republicans were elected to the U.S. House in Iowa are 1964 and 2006 (both years in which Democratic landslides occurred across the country).

History therefore tells us the fact that Iowa’s three Democrats will likely return as the majority delegation to the U.S. House in 2008 suggests another Democratic landslide nationwide is in the works this November.

Overall, 523 Republicans have been elected to the U.S. House in general and special elections, compared to just 115 Democrats, and 4 representing third parties. That represents an 81.5 percent to 17.9 percent historical advantage.

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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.


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