Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Long Legislative Service Not a Prescription for Gubernatorial Electoral Success in Minnesota

Bookmark and Share

Only one Minnesota Governor since statehood has spent as much time in the legislature as 2010 DFL candidates Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Matt Entenza

This report is the 11th installment in Smart Politics' 'Pathway to the Governor's Mansion' Series. Past reports analyzed the political experience, geographic background, ethnic background, age (part 1), astrological signs, age (part 2), U.S. Senatorial experience, names, legal education, and religious beliefs of successful gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota history.

After Tim Pawlenty announced in June 2009 that he would not be seeking a third term, a barrage of current and former state legislators threw their hats into the 2010 gubernatorial ring.

As of early May, however, just three such legislators are still standing.

Three-term Republican Representative Tom Emmer and 6-term DFLer (and Speaker of the House) Margaret Anderson Kelliher each received their party's endorsement, while former 6-term Representative Matt Entenza plans to join Mark Dayton in the DFL primary with Anderson Kelliher in August.

Not only would the election of Anderson Kelliher break the Minnesota and Upper Midwestern glass ceiling, but her election, or that of Entenza, would also set another record in the Gopher State.

A Smart Politics analysis of Minnesota Legislative Reference Library data finds that only one of Minnesota's 38 governors has been elected with as much legislative experience as Anderson Kelliher and Entenza, and no governor has served as many years as they have in the Minnesota House (12).

In total, 18 Minnesotans served in the State House or Senate prior to serving as Governor of the Gopher State.

· Nine governors previously served in the State Senate: John Pillsbury, Lucius Hubbard, Knute Nelson, David Clough, John Johnson, Adolph Eberhart, Elmer Andersen, Rudy Perpich, and Al Quie.
· Eight governors previously served in the State House: Cushman Davis, William Merriam, Samuel Van Sant, J.A.A. Burnquist, Theodore Christianson, Hjalmar Petersen, Arne Carlson, and Tim Pawlenty.
· One governor served both in the State Senate and the House prior to being elected governor: Wendell Anderson.
· Two other governors were Minnesota Territorial House Representatives: the state's 1st Governor Henry Sibley (1855) and 5th Governor William Marshall (1849).
· Three governors were elected to the state legislature after serving as governor: Governor Sibley served one year in the House (1871), the state's 3rd Governor Henry Swift served in the Senate (from 1864-1865), and the state's 10th Governor Andrew McGill served in the Senate (from 1899 until his death in 1905).

To date, no Minnesota Governor has logged in as many years in the Minnesota House as Entenza (12 years) or Anderson Kelliher (finishing her 12th year).

The longest amount of time a victorious gubernatorial candidate has ever served in the House is 10 years: a record co-held by Republicans Tim Pawlenty (1993-2002) and the state's 21st Governor, Theodore Christianson (1915-1924).

In fact, only one other Minnesota governor has served more than four years in the House - Arne Carlson (eight years, from 1971 to 1978).

Additionally, just one governor from the Gopher State has served as long as Entenza and Anderson Kelliher in either legislative chamber - DFLer Wendell Anderson. Anderson served four years in the House and eight years in the Senate from 1959-1970, for 12 years in total.

Two other State Senators logged in double-digit years of service prior to being elected Governor of Minnesota: John Pillsbury (10 years, 1863-1868, 1871, 1873-1875) and Elmer Andersen (10 years, 1949-1958).

If elected, Anderson Kelliher would not be the first House Speaker to later serve in the Governor's mansion. Minnesota's 11th Governor William Merriam and 15th Governor Samuel Van Sant also served as Speaker prior to being elected Governor of Minnesota.

The longest stretch in Minnesota political history without a former legislator in the governor's mansion is 24 years, from 1937-1961, during the tenures of Elmer Benson, Harold Stassen, Edward Thye, Luther Youngdahl, C. Elmer Anderson, and Orville Freeman.

Years of Legislative Service Among Minnesota's Governors prior to Serving as Governor

#
Governor
Chamber
Years
Total
33
Wendell Anderson
House, Senate
1959-1970
12
39
Tim Pawlenty
House
1993-2002
10
30
Elmer Andersen
Senate
1949-1958
10
21
Theodore Christianson
House
1915-1924
10
8
John Pillsbury
Senate
1863-1868, 1871, 1873-1875
10
37
Arne Carlson
House
1971-1978
8
34, 36
Rudy Perpich
Senate
1963-1970
8
23
Hjalmar Petersen
House
1931-1934
4
19
J.A.A. Burnquist
House
1909-1912
4
17
Adolph Eberhart
Senate
1903-1906
4
16
John Johnson
Senate
1899-1902
4
15
Samuel Van Sant
House
1893-1896
4
13
David Clough
Senate
1887-1890
4
12
Knute Nelson
Senate
1875-1878
4
11
William Merriam
House
1883-1884, 1887-1888
4
9
Lucius Hubbard
Senate
1872-1875
4
35
Al Quie
Senate
1955-1958
3.1
7
Cushman Davis
House
1867
1
5
William Marshall
Territorial House
1849
1
1
Henry Sibley
Territorial House
1855
1
Minnesota Legislative Reference Library data compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Can Pawlenty Launch a Sam's Club Presidential Campaign from a Target State?
Next post: David Obey's Exit and the Badger State Congressmen Who Left Before Him

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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