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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.

Previous post: Humphrey Institute / MPR Poll: Obama Surging in Minnesota
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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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