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Coleman Victory Would Renew Minnesota Tradition of Split-Ticket Voting

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If Norm Coleman is able to hold onto his narrow lead against Al Franken in the 2008 U.S. Senate recount that began on Wednesday, he would accomplish a feat that has not been seen in Minnesota since before World War II: no Republican since 1940 has been elected Senator from the Gopher State in a presidential election year in which a Democrat was sent to the White House.

In that year, 3-term GOP incumbent Henrik Shipstead cruised to a 27.3-point win while FDR won his third straight national victory. It has not happened since.

However, the battleground state of Minnesota is no stranger to split-ticket voting, and a Coleman victory would mark the 5th instance out of the last 6 times a Republican was elected Senator from Minnesota since 1936 in which the Gopher State cast its electoral ballots for a Democrat:

· In 1988, Minnesota elected Republican Dave Durenberger to the Senate for the third time, while Michael Dukakis carried the state by 7 points.
· In 1984, Republican Rudy Boschwitz was re-elected to a second term as Walter Mondale carried Minnesota by less than 4,000 votes.
· In 1940, GOPer Henrik Shipstead won a fourth term as FDR won the Gopher State by 3.8 points.
· In 1936’s special election, Republican Guy Howard won a competitive field of four candidates with a 42.9 percent plurality as FDR cruised to a 30.8-point re-election victory in Minnesota.

In 1952, the Republicans ran the table, with Dwight D. Eisenhower winning the state of Minnesota (by 11.2 points) and GOP Senator Edward Thye winning re-election (by 14.1 points). Republicans have carried both offices in Minnesota in only two other instances: 1924 (Thomas D. Schall and Calvin Coolidge) and 1916 (Frank B. Kellogg and Charles E. Hughes).

Democrats, however, have swept the U.S. Senate and presidential tickets within the state several times: in 1948 (Hubert Humphrey and Harry Truman), 1960 (Humphrey and John F. Kennedy), 1964 (Eugene McCarthy and Lyndon Johnson), 1976 (Humphrey and Jimmy Carter), 1996 (Paul Wellstone and Bill Clinton), and 2000 (Mark Dayton and Al Gore).

MN U.S. Senate and Presidential Elections, 1912-2008

Year
MN Senate
MN President
National President
2008
Republican (?)
Democrat
Democrat
2000
DFL
Democrat
Republican
1996
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1988
Republican
Democrat
Republican
1984
Republican
Democrat
Republican
1976
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1972
DFL
Republican
Republican
1964
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1960
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1952
Republican
Republican
Republican
1948
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1940
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
1936 (special)
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
1936
Farmer-Labor
Democrat
Democrat
1928
Farmer-Labor
Republican
Republican
1924
Republican
Republican
Republican
1916
Republican
Republican
Democrat
1912
Republican
Progressive
Democrat

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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