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Election Profile: Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District

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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 sixteenth profile in the series is Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.

Candidates:
Republican: John Kline (4-term incumbent)
DFL: Shelley Madore

District Geography:
Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District comprises the south central counties of Carver, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Rice, Scott, most of Dakota County, the southern part of Washington County, and one district in Hennepin County.

History:
Kline had the narrowest margin of victory in Gopher State U.S. House races in the 2002 election when he shocked the state by defeating DFL incumbent Bill Luther by 11.1 points in the newly drawn 2nd District. Luther had served the 6th District prior to redistricting and had defeated Kline in 2000 by 1.6 points - with conservative Constitution Party candidate Ralph A. Hubbard winning 2.4 percent of the vote.

Kline cruised to a 16.1-point victory over DFL-er Teresa Daly in 2004, a 16.2-point win over Colleen Rowley in 2006, and a 14.7-point vitory over Steve Sarvi in 2008.

Kline, a retired Marine colonel, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Education and Labor Committee, where he is the ranking member.

Kline will be opposed by former one-term DFL State Representative Shelley Madore (HD 37A, 2007-2008). Madore pulled a mild upset over Dan Powers in the 2nd CD DFL primary last August.

Through mid-October, Kline enjoyed a 20 to 1 advantage over Madore in funds raised this election cycle and a 35 to 1 advantage for cash on hand to spend during the last few weeks of the campaign.

Outlook:
Although Kline has notched double-digit victories during all four election cycles since redistricting in 2002, the Gopher State's 2nd CD has been one of the most competitive in the nation overall. Its 14.5-point average margin of victory sine 2002 is the 36th smallest in the country.

Additionally, the difference between Kline's ideological voting record and the district's partisan makeup is one of the biggest in the country (the 2nd CD is just the 197th most Republican in the nation).

In 2010, however, these are simply points of trivia rather than indications that the Congressman will be at all vulnerable during this election cycle. The 2nd CD has a +4 Republican Partisan Voting Index tilt and both John McCain and George W. Bush carried the district in 2008 (1 point) and 2004 (4 points) respectively.

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Previous post: Election Profile: Minnesota's 1st Congressional District
Next post: Election Profile: Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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