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Election Profile: Minnesota's 4th Congressional District (2008)

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Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of all the Upper Midwestern U.S. Senate and U.S. House races leading up to the November 4th elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The twentieth profile in the series is Minnesota's 4th Congressional District race.

Candidates:
DFL: Betty McCollum (4-term incumbent)
Republican: Edward T. Matthews

District Geography:
Minnesota's 4th Congressional District comprises Ramsey County, the eastern (St. Paul) region of Hennepin County, a western tip of Washington County, and the northern rim of Dakota County.

History:
Betty McCollum entered Congress by winning the open seat left by 12-term DFL congressman Bruce Vento in 2000. McCollum did not win a majority of the vote in that race, but still beat her Republican opponent Linda Runbeck by 17.1 points - Tom Foley won a then record 20.6 percent of the vote for the Independence Party. In 2002, McCollum handily won a second term with a 28.3-point victory margin; third party candidates only totaled 3.9% of the vote in that race. In 2004, McCollum defeated GOP Dakota County Commissioner Patrice Bataglia by 24.3 points, with Independence Party candidate Peter Vento receiving 9.2 percent. In 2006, McCollum coasted to a 39.3-point victory over Republican Obi Sium.

The DFL has carried the 4th District in every race from 1948 through 2006: Eugene McCarthy won the first 5 elections (1948-1956), Joseph Karth won 9 (1958-1974), Bruce Vento won 12 (1976-1998), and McCollum has won the last 4 (2000-2006). Prior to this DFL streak, Republicans won every 4th District race from 1920 through 1946, with the exception of 1944 and 1932 (in which, due to a redistricting controversy, all nine Minnesota Representatives to the U.S. House were elected as at-large representatives).

McCollum, a former teacher and member of the North St. Paul City Council, was the second woman from Minnesota elected to serve in Washington since 1858 when the Gopher State achieved statehood. McCollum serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Republican Edward Matthews is running on a platform to make the 2003 Bush tax cuts permanent, to balance the federal budget and eliminate earmarks, to implement free market reforms to fix the U.S. health care system, to simplify the federal tax code, and to expand domestic drilling to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Outlook:
McCollum is running in one of the most solidly Democratic congressional districts in the Upper Midwest and will extend the DFL run in the district to 31 straight elections.

Previous post: Will the DFL Reach 90 Seats in the Minnesota House?
Next post: Election Profile: Minnesota's 5th Congressional District (2008)

1 Comment


  • Are there any Republicxn candidates for the 4th district?

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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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