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Smart Politics Projections: South Dakota Senate (2008)

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Through November 3rd, Smart Politics will be running a series of electoral projections for Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The eighth projections in the series are State Senate races in the State of South Dakota.

South Dakota: State Senate.
Balance of power: Republicans (20 to 15)
2006 Results: Democrats +5
Seats up for reelection in 2008: 35
Open seats: Republicans = 9; Democrats = 2
Incumbents on the ballot: Republicans = 11; Democrats = 13
Districts without major party opposition: Republicans = 0; Democrats = 1

Outlook: For the first time since 1992, Democrats have a chance at winning back the State's upper legislative chamber. First of all, due to term limits and retirements, Democrats will actually have more incumbents on the ballot (13) than will the Republicans (11). Republicans will therefore be defending more than four times as many open seats (9) than Democrats (2). Neither of the open seats on the Democratic side was competitive in 2006 (decided by 10 points or less), while two open seats for the GOP (Districts 25 and 35) were very competitive during the last election cycle (decided by 5 points or less). Thirdly, the Democratic Party has fielded candidates in all 35 districts, compared to just 29 districts in 2006. The Democrat's best shot at picking up Senate seats include Districts 9, 22, 25, 33, and 35. Republicans are looking to pick up seats of their own, including Districts 3, 5, 8, 12, and 32. Democrats will be assisted with Senator Tim Johnson and At-large Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin on the ballot, as well as a presidential candidate who should easily outperform John Kerry and Al Gore from four and eight years ago respectively.

Projection: Democrats +1. Republicans retain control of Senate.

Previous post: Smart Politics Projections: Wisconsin State Assembly (2008)
Next post: Smart Politics Projections: South Dakota House (2008)

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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