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Fun Facts about Minnesota's Gubernatorial Race

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Many Gopher State records could be set or tied during another barn burner of a gubernatorial election in 2010

While Minnesota will simply be one of many states across the nation hosting must-watch gubernatorial contests on November 2nd, Gopher State history buffs will have much to look for beyond the final margin as the results come in.

Here are but some historical nuggets on the line in 2010, depending on which of the three main candidates in the race is elected.

If DFLer Mark Dayton is elected governor:

· Dayton would be the oldest Minnesotan ever elected governor (at age 63). Arne Carlson holds the record, elected at the age of 60 years and 38 days for his second term in 1994.

· It would be the first time Minnesotans elected a governor who had previously been elected to the U.S. Senate.

· Dayton would become just the third Minnesotan to be elected to three different statewide offices (joining Republicans J.A.A. Burnquist and Edward Thye).

If Republican Tom Emmer is elected governor:

· It would mark the first time a political party has won three consecutive four-year terms in Minnesota gubernatorial contests.

· Emmer would become the first Indiana-born governor of the Gopher State. That would mean every Midwestern state has produced a Minnesota governor except for North Dakota and Kansas. In addition to 14 home-grown governors, other Midwestern states giving birth to Minnesota governors are Illinois (Elmer Anderson, Samuel Van Sant), Iowa (J.A.A. Burnquist), Michigan (Henry Sibley), Missouri (William Marshall), Nebraska (Harold LeVander), Ohio (Henry Swift), South Dakota (Edward Thye), and Wisconsin (J.A.O. Preus).

· Minnesota will have elected the youngest major candidate on the ballot in four consecutive election cycles for the first time since the Great Depression (when the younger candidate won the governor's race in nine consecutive races from 1926-1942).

If Independence Party candidate Tom Horner is elected governor:

· Horner would also become the oldest Minnesotan ever elected governor to a first term (barely besting Arne Carlson by 64 days, at 60 years and 102 days of age).

· It will mark the sixth time a third party candidate has won the governorship in the Gopher State since 1900 - tops for third parties across the nation.

· Horner would become just the third Minnesotan elected governor without having previously held an executive, legislative, or judicial governmental post (joining Republicans Harold LeVander and Stephen Miller).

· Horner would become the sixth governor born under the sign of Cancer - the most of any other astrological sign in Minnesota history (joining Adolph Eberhart, J.A.A. Burnquist, Karl Rolvaag, Rudy Perpich, and Jesse Ventura).

If either Tom Emmer or Tom Horner is elected governor:

· It would mark the first time in DFL history that the Party has failed to reach the 50 percent mark in six straight gubernatorial elections. The DFL also failed to notch 50 percent in the five consecutive gubernatorial elections starting from the year of the Party's birth, 1944, through 1952. Even if Dayton is elected, however, it is likely he will not reach the 50 percent threshold and thus set the record anyway.

· Minnesota would have its first non-Democratic Catholic governor in state history, and just the second Catholic overall (joining DFLer Rudy Perpich).

· Democrats in Minnesota would see their third longest gubernatorial drought in the nation continued for another election cycle (24 years to date).

Regardless of which candidate is elected governor:

· The state will almost certainly elect a plurality-winning governor for the fourth consecutive election cycle - the longest current streak in the nation. It would mark the first time Minnesotans would have a plurality-elected governor in four consecutive cycles in over 110 years (1890, 1892, 1894, 1896).

· The state will elect a governor without any military experience for the third straight cycle for the first time since the 1930s.

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Previous post: The Still Very Long Odds of an Oberstar (or Walz) Defeat in November
Next post: Emmer Defeat During GOP Wave Would End Nearly 100-Year Trend in Minnesota Gubernatorial Elections

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Remains of the Data

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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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