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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

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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