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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

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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