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Bachmann Survives Sixth Closest Victory Among 2010 Republican House Incumbents

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Fellow controversial Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) at #3; Bachmann had the narrowest victory among GOP incumbents in 2008

Although Minnesota's 6th Congressional District race did not provide the drama in 2010 that many on the left had hoped and expected, Michele Bachmann did have to fight for her victory over DFLer Tarryl Clark - at least compared to most of her fellow Republican incumbents in the U.S. House.

A Smart Politics analysis of unofficial U.S. House election returns finds Michele Bachmann won with the sixth narrowest victory margin in the midterm elections among the 154 Republican incumbents who won reelection on November 2nd.

Bachmann's 12.7-point victory was 29.1 points lower than the 41.8-point nation-wide average for victorious Republican incumbents this year.

In 2008, Congresswoman Bachmann had the narrowest victory margin among successful GOP incumbents at 3.0 points, making her one of the prime targets for Democrats across the country.

In 2010, only four Republican incumbents escaped defeat by less than 10 points - compared to 15 in 2008.

Another two GOP incumbents lost their 2010 reelection bids: Charles Djou of HI-01 and Joseph Cao of LA-02.

Dave Reichert of Washington's 8th CD, who is perennially on the hot seat, survived with the narrowest victory margin among Republican incumbents, at 4.1 points.

Reichert had won his first three terms by just 4.8 points in 2004, 3.0 points in 2006, and 5.6 points in 2008, in a district that has a +3 point Democratic tilt.

Also winning by single digits in 2010 were Daniel Lungren (CA-03, by 7.0 points), Joe "You lie!" Wilson (SC-02, by 9.7 points), and Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) by 9.9 points.

Jim Gerlach (PA-06), who represents the most competitive U.S. House district in the nation since 2002, had the 7th narrowest victory for GOP incumbents at 14.0 points.

The fact that two of the most controversial Republican Representatives in the U.S. House - Bachmann and Wilson - managed only relatively narrow victories in 2010 compared to the rest of their caucus is quite telling.

What they had in common were very well-financed opponents.

Tarryl Clark raised more than $3.5 million through September 2010 while Wilson's opponent, Rob Miller, raised over $2.8 million through the third quarter of this year.

Bachmann's district has a +7 point GOP tilt while Wilson's has a +9 point tilt, according to their Partisan Voting Index scores.

Bachmann's congressional district is currently the most populated in the Gopher State and will thus shed the most residents after redistricting (and perhaps reapportionment) before the 2012 election.

Until new district lines are drawn - and Bachmann's 2012 intentions are determined - it is difficult to know whether or not she will once again be one of the Top 10 most vulnerable Republicans in the House for a third straight cycle.

Top 10 Narrowest Victories by Republican U.S. House Incumbents in 2010

District
Incumbent
Terms
2010
WA-08
Dave Reichert
3
4.1
CA-03
Daniel Lungren
8
7.0
SC-02
Joe Wilson
5
9.7
CA-45
Mary Bono Mack
7
9.9
CA-44
Ken Calvert
9
11.6
MN-06
Michele Bachmann
2
12.7
PA-06
Jim Gerlach
4
14.0
PA-15
Charles Dent
3
14.5
CA-02
Wally Herger
12
15.4
OH-12
Pat Tiberi
5
15.8
Note: Margins based on unofficial results as most states have not yet certified their election returns. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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4 Comments


  • ...but she won anyway -- regardless of how small the margin. She's turning out to be the "Teflon Congresswoman" -- nothing sticks.

  • Unfortunate for minnesota that the glad hander is back in. This just means more gladhanding of corporate patrons and selling human values out for corporate wealth (which only trickles down to things like Bachmann). It's amazing that so many fail to see the inhuman qualities embodied in her "lifestyle." She is the perfect schill for corporate values, which are clearly not human values. Her "christian" faith has clearly made a place for Mammon that is more elevated than God Himself. What a truely worthless quasi-human she is.

  • Hey Michele, how's that new 1.5 million dollar home of yours?? Feeling pretty good aren't you! I wonder how your desperate welfare dependent district is feeling now? Well they voted you in so they have nobody but themselves to blame!

  • Although Ms. Bachmann may have had a close race, it should be pointed out that she did increase her number of votes from the previous off-year election.
    In 2006, Ms. Bachmann received 151,248 votes (while her Democratic opponent received 127,144 and Independence Party candidate received 23,557 votes.)
    In 2010, Ms. Bachmann received 159,479 (while her Democratic opponent received 120,846 and Independence and Independent candidates received 23,188 votes.)
    Ms. Bachmann gained while the Democrat lost votes as the overall vote tally was roughly the same.

    Comparing the other Minnesota districts, incumbents lost votes … and in most cases, so did the challengers.
    For example, in Minnesota’s First District, Tim Walz received 141,556 in 2006 but only 122,365 in 2010 (versus his Republican incumbent opponent Gil Gutknecht who received 126,486 and Randy Demmer’s 109,241 in 2010 (with 16,296 going to other candidates.) Admittedly, the First was a contested contest in both years, but 20,417 fewer votes were cast in 2010.
    Admittedly, the candidates changed in Minnesota’s Third District, but surprisingly the Democrat tally stayed consistent. Republican Jim Ramstad pulled in 184,333 votes in 2006 while Erik Paulsen only received 161,178 in 2010 versus the Democrats who received 99,588 and 100,240 votes respectively (note there were a significant 12,508 votes for the Independence Party candidate in 2010.)

    You might find it interesting to look at the races that you highlighted to see any trend.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Small Club in St. Paul

    Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


    Respect Your Elders?

    With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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