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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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