Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Retirements from Minnesota State House in 2010 Currently Down from '06 and '08

Bookmark and Share

Republicans account for 63 percent of open seats over the last four election cycles; percentage of open GOP seats is more than twice that of DFL seats since 2004

Although the names of Minnesota Representatives who are retiring from their House seats in 2010 continue to trickle in during this election year (DFLer Larry Haws of St. Cloud, pictured, being the most recent), there has not yet been an exodus from the legislature that is out of step with previous election cycles this decade.

In fact, a Smart Politics analysis finds that the number of open seats in the state House is down in 2010 (13) from both 2006 (23) and 2008 (15), and is only slightly higher than 2004 (12).

And although Democratic incumbents are considered to be especially vulnerable nationally, the percentage of open DFL seats (pending any more retirements) is tied for its lowest level since 2004 and is lower for the Party than both the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, when Democrats were enjoying partisan momentum in their favor across the state and nation.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota GOP - both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of seats held - continues to shed House incumbents before Election Day at a much higher rate than the DFL, as it has during the past three election cycles.

Overall, Republicans have accounted for 63 percent of open House seats during the 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 election cycles, with 40 open GOP seats during this span compared to just 23 for the DFL. (Going into these elections the DFL had held 291 seats, compared to 245 for the Republicans).

In the current election cycle, eight Republicans have announced their retirement, comprising 17.0 percent of their 47-member caucus. By contrast, only five DFLers are stepping down from their seats, or just 5.7 percent of their 87-member caucus.

This trend - Republicans stepping down in greater number and proportion than DFLers - mirrors that of the previous three election cycles:

· In 2008, Republicans had 10 retirements, or more than one-fifth of their 49-member caucus (20.4 percent), compared to only five for the DFL, or just 7.1 percent of their 85-seat caucus.

(The GOP tally above excludes Neil Peterson, who ran for reelection, but failed to receive his Party's endorsement as well as Ron Ehrhart, the Republican incumbent who was likewise not endorsed and ran as an independent; the DFL tally excludes Augustine Willie Dominguez who lost both his Party's endorsement and primary).

· In 2006, there were 13 open Republican seats, or 19.1 percent of the GOP's 68 districts, compared to 10 open DFL seats, or 15.2 percent of its 66-member caucus.

· In 2004, there were three times as many open Republican districts (9 seats, or 11.1 percent of the 81 GOP seats) as open DFL districts (3 seats, or 5.7 percent of its 53-seat caucus).

Overall, the percentage of open Republican seats since 2004 (16.3 percent) has been more than twice that of open DFL seats (7.9 percent).

What accounts for this discrepancy?

On the one hand, Republicans may have decided to exit the House at a higher rate because they foresaw the DFL tsunamis coming down the chute (the DFL has netted nearly three dozen House seats since 2004).

On the other hand, it could also be argued that DFLers see legislative service in the House as more of an end in itself (i.e a career), whereas Republicans see it more as a means to an end (i.e. a stepping stone to other career paths including higher office).

To be sure, many of the Republicans retiring from their House seats during the current election cycle are some of the most prominent and rising GOP stars: Republican gubernatorial endorsee Tom Emmer, former gubernatorial candidates Marty Seifert and Paul Kohls, and once-rumored gubernatorial candidate Representative Laura Brod.

Whether the DFL can avoid significant losses in the House in 2010 by keeping 90+ percent of its Representatives on the general election ballot remains to be seen.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Unfamiliar Faces: 2010 Likely to Set Mark for Fewest U.S. House Incumbents on the Ballot this Decade
Next post: How Does Tim Pawlenty Rank in the Gubernatorial Class of 2002 on Jobs?

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