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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


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