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DFL Tries to Make History in U.S. House Races

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As pundits weigh in on their pre-Election Day predictions, a great deal of attention has turned to the Gopher State – not only for its high profile Senate race, but also due to its two competitive U.S. House races in the 3rd and 6th Districts.

The DFL plan to sweep those House races and successfully defend its five seats would give its Party its largest number of Representatives in state history. The DFL has never won 7 U.S. House seats in a general election, nor has its predecessors the Farmer-Labor and Democratic parties. The DFL has won 6 seats in Minnesota five times – from 1990 through 1998.

In fact, a 7 to 1 controlled U.S. House delegation would be the most lopsided by any party in the state since 1946, when the Republicans sent 8 Representatives to D.C., with the DFL winning just one seat (Jim Oberstar’s predecessor in the 8th District, John A. Blatnik).

From 1962 through 2008, party control has been no larger than 5 seats to 3 seats by either party in Minnesota in 18 of 23 elections (the aforementioned string of 5 straight DFL-dominated elections in the 1990s being the exception).

In short, while there may be arguments to project DFL victories in both the 3rd and 6th Congressional races, given the current national political climate, for the DFL to pull off victories in both districts would tilt the state blue in an unprecedented fashion.

For more information on U.S. House electoral history, visit the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance's Historical Election Data Archive.

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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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