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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

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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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