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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

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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