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Pawlenty Faces 4th Largest Democratic-Dominated Legislature Among GOP Governors Nationwide

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With the release of the DFL's budget earlier this month, the war of words (and policies) in the budget battle between the DFL leadership and Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has seemingly intensified.

During her media availability last Friday, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher described her recent meeting with the Governor on the budget as "tense" and "a little rocky." The Speaker laced her stated desire to have more budget meetings with Pawlenty with occasional admonishments of the Governor:

"The time for putting the political slogans aside has long passed...Come on - put aside your pledges and sloganeering and get down to work."

As the DFL caucus lacks a veto-proof 90 votes in the House, both sides will more than likely need to make some compromises to see a budget through by mid-May.

Compromise, however, will not come easy.

A Smart Politics analysis of the partisan composition of state legislatures nationwide finds Governor Pawlenty facing the 4th largest Democratic-dominated legislature among the 22 Republican governors currently serving across the United States. Only the deep blue states of Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Connecticut elected Republican governors alongside a larger percentage of Senate and House legislators.

Pawlenty faces the 4th largest Democratic-led Senate among GOP governors, at 68.7 percent (46 of 67 legislators), behind Hawaii (92.0 percent), Rhode Island (86.8 percent), and Vermont (76.7 percent).

Pawlenty must also do battle with the 5th largest Democratic-dominated House among the nation's 22 Republican governors, at 64.9 percent (87 of 134 legislators), behind Rhode Island (92.0 percent), Hawaii (88.2 percent), Connecticut (75.5 percent), and Nevada (66.7 percent).

Republican Governors by Percentage of Democrats Serving in State Legislatures, 2009

Rank
State
Governor
% Senate
% House
% Total
1
Rhode Island
Donald Carcieri
86.8
92.0
90.3
2
Hawaii
Linda Lingle
92.0
88.2
89.5
3
Connecticut
Jodi Rell
66.7
75.5
73.8
4
Minnesota
Tim Pawlenty
68.7
64.9
66.2
5
Vermont
Jim Douglas
76.7
63.3
65.6
6
California
Arnold Schwarzenegger
65.0
63.8
64.2
7
Nevada
Jim Gibbons
57.1
66.7
63.5
8
Alabama
Bob Riley
59.4
59.0
59.1
9
Mississippi
Haley Barbour
51.9
60.7
58.0
10
Louisiana
Bobby Jindal
59.5
49.5
52.1
11
Texas
Rick Perry
38.7
49.3
47.5
12
Alaska
Sarah Palin
50.0
45.0
46.7
13
Indiana
Mitch Daniels
34.0
52.0
46.0
14
South Carolina
Mark Sanford
41.3
42.7
42.4
15
Arizona
Jan Brewer
40.0
41.7
41.1
16
Georgia
Sonny Perdue
39.3
41.7
41.1
17
North Dakota
John Hoeven
44.7
38.3
40.4
18
Florida
Charlie Crist
35.0
36.7
36.3
19
South Dakota
Mike Rounds
40.0
34.3
36.2
20
Nebraska*
Jay Heineman
34.7
---
34.7
21
Utah
John Huntsman
27.6
29.3
28.8
22
Idaho
Butch Otter
20.0
25.7
23.8
* Nebraska has a unicameral, non-partisan legislature. Legislators identify as Republicans or Democrats for informational purposes only. Data from National Conference of State Legislatures compiled by Smart Politics.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

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).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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