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Iowa Democrats Enjoying Historic Run in House of Representatives

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For the first time in modern Hawkeye State political history, Iowa Democrats have made gains in the State House of Representatives in four consecutive elections.

Smart Politics examined Iowa election returns for more than fifty years dating back to the mid-1950s, and neither the Democratic nor Republican parties had ever made gains in the House in four consecutive elections.

The streak began in 2002:

· Iowa Democrats won 44 seats in the 1998 and 2000 elections.
· After redistricting, in 2002, Democrats won 46 seats.
· Democrats nearly won control of the 100-seat chamber in 2004, winning 49 seats.
· Democrats then took control in 2006, by winning 54 seats.
· Democrats expanded their lead by picking up 3 more seats in 2008.

Over the course of these four election cycles, Democrats have netted 13 seats – from 44 to 57 Representatives.

To be sure, there have been wider swings in given election cycles over the course of the past 50+ years. For example, during the Republican Revolution of 1994, the GOP picked up 13 seats, expanding their two-seat majority in 1992 to 28 seats. During the Reagan recession of 1982, Democrats won 60 seats – 18 more than in 1980. After Watergate and Nixon’s resignation in 1974, Democrats won 61 seats – 17 more than in 1972.

Still, neither political party has enjoyed the kind of sustained shift in momentum that Iowa Democrats are currently experiencing in the House of Representatives. During two stretches in the past 50 years Republicans had put together gains in the House in three consecutive election cycles: from 1976 to 1980 (from 39 seats in 1974, to 41 seats in 1976, to 56 seats in 1978, to 58 seats in 1980) and from 1990 to 1994 (from 39 seats in 1988, to 45 seats in 1990, to 51 seats in 1992, to 64 seats in 1994).

Iowa Democrats, like its neighbors in Wisconsin, currently enjoy unified power in the House, Senate, and Governor’s office.

Previous post: Democratic Control in Wisconsin At Greatest Level in a Generation
Next post: MN Senate Election Analysis, Part 1: Franken Underperforms in Northern Minnesota

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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

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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