Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Election Profile: Minnesota's 1st Congressional District

Bookmark and Share

Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of Upper Midwestern congressional races leading up to the November 2nd elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The fifteenth profile in the series is Minnesota's 1st Congressional District.

Candidates:
DFL: Tim Walz (2-term incumbent)
Republican: Randy Demmer
Independence: Steven Wilson
Party Free: Lars Johnson

District Geography:
Minnesota's 1st Congressional District comprises counties in the southern rim of the state: Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Jackson, Martin, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmstead, Pipestone, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, and Winona.

History:
Tim Walz's 5.6-point victory over six-term Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht was one of the biggest U.S. House upsets across the country in 2006 (though predicted by Smart Politics). Gutknecht had won his three previous reelection campaigns by an average of 21.9 points.

With the exception of then moderate Democrat Tim Penny's six-term service from 1984-1992, the GOP had won every 1st District contest from 1892 through 2004.

Representative Walz followed that up with a 29.6-point victory over Republican Brian Davis during the Democratic wave of 2008 to return for a second term in D.C.

Walz, an Army National Guard and Iraq War veteran and former teacher, serves on the House Committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Veterans' Affairs.

In 2010, Walz faces a much tougher political environment, and a much stronger opponent in GOP State Representative Randy Demmer (HD 29A).

Also on the ballot are Independence Party candidate Steven Wilson and Lars Johnson, who is running under the Party Free banner. During the last three election cycles, Independence Party candidates received 4.5 percent of the vote in 2008 (Gregory Mikkelson), 3.7 percent in 2006 (Douglas Williams), and 4.8 percent in 2004 (Mikkelson).

Outlook:
Although only one of its contests has been decided by less than 24 points since redistricting in 2002, the Gopher State's 1st CD has been the 81st most competitive district in the nation during this four-cycle span. The district is the 228th most Republican in the country, with a slight +1 GOP Partisan Voting Index tilt over the last two presidential elections. Barack Obama carried the district by 4 points in 2008 and George W. Bush won it by 4 points in 2004.

One difference between Walz's defense of his seat during the GOP wave of 2010 and Gutknecht's defense during the 2006 Democratic wave is that Gutknecht had made several gaffes during the year leading up to Election Day.

Although the 1st CD race has made national waves, Congressman Walz has outraised Demmer by a 2.8 to 1 margin through mid-October and had more than seven times the amount of cash on hand.

Add to that, only 8 of 203 Minnesota U.S. House incumbents have been defeated in the general election after receiving at least 60 percent of the vote during the previous election cycle, as Walz did in 2008.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Election Profile: Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District
Next post: Election Profile: Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District

Leave a comment


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.


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