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Roxanne Conlin Poised to Hold Iowa U.S. Senate, Gubernatorial Records

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Conlin is only the second female major party candidate to appear on a U.S. Senate general election ballot in Iowa and the 9th woman overall

Roxanne Conlin breezed as expected Tuesday night in Iowa's U.S. Senate Democratic primary - winning nearly 80 percent of the vote against two other Democratic hopefuls.

Conlin will now square off in November's general election against five-term Republican incumbent Charles Grassley, who, despite a few high profile gaffes during the 111th Congress, will remain a strong favorite to win another six-year term in D.C.

Despite her underdog status, Conlin will almost assuredly make history in Iowa politics this November, by setting a new high water mark for women in Iowa U.S. Senate election contests.

Conlin already holds the state record for the highest percentage of the vote received by a female gubernatorial candidate in Iowa (as well as the Upper Midwest generally) - notching 46.5 percent of the vote against Republican victor Terry Branstad back in 1982.

With Conlin already polling around 40 percent against Grassley in the 2010 Senate contest, she is almost certain to best 1992 Democratic nominee Jean Lloyd-Jones' current mark of 27.2 percent in a Senate race.

In fact, Conlin will likely receive a higher percentage of the vote than all female candidates who have appeared on an Iowa U.S. Senate general election ballot combined (31.3 percent).

After Jones, the next best performance by a female in an Iowa U.S. Senate race is just 1.0 percent, when Libertarian Christy Anny Welty finished third out of five candidates during Grassley's last victory in 2004.

Only eight women have previously appeared on the general election ballot in a U.S. Senate race since the Hawkeye State's first popular vote contest in 1914, with all but one candidacy taking place during the last two decades.

And Conlin will also be just the second female candidate (along with Lloyd-Jones) to appear in an Iowa U.S. Senate race on a major party ticket.

· Two other female candidates have been nominated by petition (Sue Atkinson, in 1992 & 1996; Roseann Freeburg, 1992)

· Two candidates have come from the Socialist Workers party (Shirley Pena, 1996; Margaret Trowe, 1998)

· One candidate ran on the Natural Law party ticket (Susan Marcus, 1998)

· One candidate was a Libertarian (Christy Ann Welty, 2004)

· And Laetitia Conrad was the very first, appearing on the Socialist Party ticket in 1936.

Iowa is one of just four states that have never elected a women to the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives, along with Delaware, Mississippi, and Vermont.

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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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