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79 Days: Minnesota Sets State Record for Longest Period With Only One U.S. Senator

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At 12:00 am Monday morning, the State of Minnesota set a new record for operating at half-strength in Capitol Hill's upper chamber.

At 79 days and counting, Minnesota's current stint with only one U.S. Senator has now eclipsed the previous mark set in the summer of 1923, when it took 78 days to schedule a July 16, 1923 special election for the unexpired term ending March 3, 1925 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Republican Knute Nelson on April 28, 1923. Farmer-Laborite Magnus Johnson won that election.

Norm Coleman's first (and perhaps only) term expired on January 3, 2009. Since then, the State Canvassing Board ended their recount, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Governor Tim Pawlenty both agreed that Franken should not be certified the winner until any legal challenge was resolved, and Coleman rested his case in state court challenging the Canvassing Board results.

All the while, DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar continues to work double-duty in Washington, not knowing when the Gopher State will enjoy its full complement of senators, or whether that senator will ultimately be her fellow DFLer, Al Franken, or her former colleague, Coleman.

Should Franken indeed emerge the winner from the 3-judge panel, it is unclear whether or not the U.S. Senate will try to seat him even with Coleman not yet having exhausted all of his legal appeals.

While Coleman's lawsuit is currently in the hands of the 3-judge panel, his Attorney Joe Friedberg has said his legal team is already planning an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Coleman's legal team also tipped their hand during the trial suggesting they are angling for a 'redo' election, based on the argument that the true winner of the November 4th election cannot be known due to inconsistencies in vote-counting in different counties around the state, particularly regarding absentee ballots.

With all these legal maneuverings still on the horizon, the odds are quite good Minnesota will still be at half-strength in the U.S. Senate at the 100-day mark next month.

Periods with Only One U.S. Senator in Minnesota State History

Outgoing
Date
Reason
Incoming
Date
Days
Norm Coleman
01/03/2009
Contested election
???
???
79+
Knute Nelson
04/28/1923
Death
Magnus Johnson
07/16/1923
78
Ernest Lundeen
08/31/1940
Death
Joseph H. Ball
10/14/1940
43
Alonzo J. Edgerton
10/30/1881
End of appt.
William Windom
11/15/1881
15
Hubert H. Humphrey
01/13/1978
Death
Muriel Humphrey
01/25/1978
11
Paul Wellstone
10/25/2002
Death
Dean Barkley
11/05/2002
10
Cushman K. Davis
11/27/1900
Death
Charles A. Towne
12/05/1900
7
Thomas D. Schall
12/22/1935
Death
Elmer A. Benson
12/27/1935
4
William Windom
03/07/1881
Resigned
Alonzo J. Edgerton
03/12/1881
4
Daniel S. Norton
07/13/1870
Death
William Windom
07/15/1870
1
Note: Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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1 Comment


  • I wonder what they will do about the health care bill?

  • Leave a comment


    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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