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Minnesota's 'Youthful' U.S. House Delegation

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A recent article at CQ Politics profiled the potential competitiveness of Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District race in 2010. That district's Representative, freshman GOPer Erik Paulsen, is one of several dozen new faces elected to D.C. during the past two election cycles.

Overall, 114 Representatives, or more than 25 percent of the U.S. House, are members serving in only their 1st or 2nd term. Many of these representatives hail from the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida, where Democrats have staged pick-ups in swing districts during the tsunamis of 2006 and 2008.

In Minnesota, for reasons of retirement (Jim Ramstad, Martin Olav Sabo), failed attempts at higher office (Mark Kennedy) and unsuccessful reelection bids (Gil Gutknecht), the Gopher State now has half of its districts represented in D.C. by members in the freshman or sophomore classes.

In fact, at 50 percent, no state with a population of 5 million or more has a larger percentage of 1st or 2nd year Representatives comprising their U.S. House delegation.

Percentage of Freshman and Sophomore U.S. Representatives Among the 20 Most Populous States

State
Districts
Number
Percent
Minnesota
8
4
50.0
Ohio
18
9
50.0
Indiana
9
4
44.4
Maryland
8
3
37.5
Arizona
8
3
37.5
Virginia
11
4
36.4
Florida
25
8
32.0
Pennsylvania
19
6
31.6
Illinois
19
6
31.6
New York
29
9
31.0
New Jersey
13
3
23.1
Tennessee
9
2
22.2
Georgia
12
2
16.7
North Carolina
13
2
15.4
Michigan
15
2
13.3
Wisconsin
8
1
12.5
California
52*
6
11.5
Missouri
9
1
11.1
Massachusetts
10
1
10.0
Texas
32
1
3.1
Washington
9
0
0.0
* California has 53 districts, but its 10th District is currently vacant with Rep. Ellen Tauscher resigning earlier this year.

It is, in fact, Minnesota's newer members, notably Keith Ellison and Michele Bachmann, that have generated most of the national headlines among the state's congressional delegation during the past year (for both personal and policy reasons). The two Representatives, serving the 5th and 6th districts respectively, could not be much more divergent on the ideological spectrum: National Journal rated Ellison's 2008 voting record as the 13th most liberal in the country and Bachmann's as the 31st most conservative.

The four fresh faces in the Minnesota U.S. House delegation (Paulsen, Ellison, Bachmann, and Tim Walz) serve along side two of the more experienced and powerful members of the institution, committee chairs Jim Oberstar and Collin Peterson - giving the Gopher State a potent mixture of the old and the new.

Overall, Minnesota ranks almost exactly in the middle for the average number of terms of service for its members of its U.S. House delegation. At 5.5 terms, Minnesota ranks #26 in the nation, well behind the neighboring state of Wisconsin (#6 at 8.75 terms).

Average Terms of Service by U.S. House State Delegation

Rank
State
Districts
Terms
Average
1
Alaska
1
19
19.00
2
West Virginia
3
36
12.00
3
Michigan
15
153
10.20
4
Delaware
1
9
9.00
4
North Dakota
1
9
9.00
6
Wisconsin
8
70
8.75
7
Massachusetts
10
87
8.70
8
California
52*
387
7.44
9
Washington
9
66
7.33
10
South Carolina
6
43
7.17
11
New Jersey
13
92
7.08
12
New York
29
198
6.83
13
Texas
32
215
6.72
14
Oregon
5
33
6.60
15
Tennessee
9
59
6.56
16
Virginia
11
72
6.55
17
Hawaii
2
13
6.50
17
Rhode Island
2
13
6.50
19
Indiana
9
57
6.33
20
North Carolina
13
80
6.15
21
Arkansas
4
24
6.00
22
Missouri
9
53
5.89
23
Georgia
12
69
5.75
23
Mississippi
4
23
5.75
25
Maryland
8
45
5.63
26
Kansas
4
22
5.50
26
Minnesota
8
44
5.50
28
Florida
25
137
5.48
29
Pennsylvania
19
104
5.47
30
Kentucky
6
32
5.33
31
Illinois
19
98
5.16
32
Montana
1
5
5.00
33
Iowa
5
23
4.60
33
Oklahoma
5
23
4.60
35
Arizona
8
36
4.50
36
Alabama
7
30
4.29
37
Connecticut
5
21
4.20
38
South Dakota
1
4
4.00
39
Ohio
18
69
3.83
40
Nebraska
3
11
3.67
41
Idaho
2
7
3.50
42
Utah
3
10
3.33
43
Nevada
3
9
3.00
44
Maine
2
5
2.50
45
Colorado
7
17
2.43
46
Louisiana
7
15
2.14
47
New Hampshire
2
4
2.00
47
Vermont
1
2
2.00
49
New Mexico
3
3
1.00
49
Wyoming
1
1
1.00
* California has 53 districts, but its 10th District is currently vacant with Rep. Ellen Tauscher resigning earlier this year.

As profiled yesterday at Smart Politics, Minnesota's U.S. Senate delegation has the second lowest seniority in the country.

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2 Comments


  • How much money does the U of M pay to support this blog? Specifics, please.

  • Thank you for a wonderful website for us statistical junkies to both use and visit.

    This type of "number crunching" is no where to be found in the MSM.

    I am glad that the u of m supports your efforts and the return on investment is quite apparent on these pages.

    Keep up the good work..

  • Leave a comment


    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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