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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stassen in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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