Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will the GOP Sweep North and South Dakota's U.S. House Seats?

Bookmark and Share

Republicans have never carried both single-member at-large districts in the same election cycle; Democrats have won 25 of 29 U.S. House contests in the Dakotas since 1982

For more than a generation, the Democratic Party has dominated Congressional elections in North and South Dakota, despite the Republican Party having a stronghold over the Democrats in state politics and presidential contests.

Since 1982, Democrats have won 41 of 49 general and special election U.S. Senate and U.S. House contests in the Dakotas.

Democrats have won 16 of 20 general and special U.S. Senate contests in North Dakota (10 of 11) and South Dakota (6 of 9). Democrats have also won 25 of 29 general and special elections for each state's at-large House seats since 1982: 14 of 14 in North Dakota and 11 of 15 in South Dakota.

However, as the current election cycle inches closer toward November 2nd, the outlook is looking more and more grim for Upper Midwestern Democrats.

In the U.S. Senate, the North Dakota Democratic Non Partisan League effectively conceded their Class III seat held by Byron Dorgan once he announced his retirement in January of this year. Popular Republican Governor John Hoeven is outpolling Democratic State Senator Tracy Potter by a 2:1 margin.

Meanwhile, South Dakota Democrats literally rose the white flag, surrendering any hope of taking back Tom Daschle's Senate seat, when they failed to field a candidate against John Thune for the first time in state history.

And now, with new rounds of polling by Rasmussen released on Monday, Democrats have more reason to believe that their two at-large U.S. House seats held by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Earl Pomeroy might be in jeopardy in 2010 as well.

Rasmussen's poll of 500 likely voters in North Dakota on April 20th finds former Republican State House Majority Leader Rick Berg holding a four-point advantage over 9-term incumbent Pomeroy at 49 to 45 percent - the third consecutive month with Berg on top.

In South Dakota, a Rasmussen survey of 500 likely voters on April 21st finds Herseth Sandlin leading one of her likely GOP opponents, Secretary of State Chris Nelson, by just a 45 to 41 percent margin.

Should both of these once very popular Democratic incumbents lose this November, it would be the first time the Republican Party will have held each single-member at-large U.S. House seat from the Dakotas at the same time.

(South Dakota's U.S. House delegation was reduced to one at-large member in 1982 while North Dakota has been represented by a single at-large member since 1972).

Since 1982, Democrats have thoroughly dominated the GOP in U.S. House contests, winning 10 of 14 general election contests (plus a 2002 special election) in South Dakota. Herseth Sandlin, and her Democratic predecessors Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle, have won these 10 general election at-large contests by an average of 26.3 points.

Democrats have also won 15 consecutive at-large races in North Dakota dating back to 1980 - the last nine by Pomeroy and the preceding six by Dorgan. Pomeroy and Dorgan won these contests by an average of 23.6 points (a 12.6-point average MoV for Pomeroy and 40.1 points for Dorgan).

The good news for Dakota Democrats, however, is the fundraising advantage Pomeroy and Herseth Sandlin currently hold over their GOP hopefuls at this early stage in their respective campaigns.

Through the first quarter of 2010, Herseth Sandlin has raised $702,227 for the cycle to date and had nearly $450,000 cash on hand - over $100,000 more cash on hand than the cumulative total for her three GOP challengers: Blake Curd ($185,976), Kristi Noem ($92,322), and Chris Nelson ($43,986).

Pomeroy, meanwhile, has over $1.6 million cash on hand through March, or nearly five times the amount of GOPer Rick Berg ($344,437).

Whether or not their Blue Dog Democratic credentials will provide enough armor to protect Pomeroy and Herseth Sandlin in 2010 from the onslaught of GOP arrows targeting them as part of the liberal Democratic machine in D.C. remains to be seen.

However, a pullback toward the Republican Party in Congressional races to some degree is almost assured in this pair of conservative Upper Midwestern states.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Will Margaret Anderson Kelliher Break the Upper Midwestern Glass Ceiling?
Next post: Reapportionment Winners and Losers Through the Years

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting