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Smart Politics Projections: Minnesota State Senate

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Impressive GOP gains to fall short of Senate takeover

Current partisan split
DFL: 46
Republican: 21

Incumbents
DFL incumbents: 40
Open DFL seats: 6
Republican incumbents: 16
Open Republican seats: 5

Unchallenged seats
No DFL on the ballot: 2
No Republican on the ballot: 0

Analysis
Presuming Minnesota experiences a GOP tidal wave that is even half as powerful as the one about to hit the rest of the country on Tuesday, there are certainly many DFL State Senate seats ripe for the picking. The DFL won 11 Senate seats by less than 10 points in 2006, plus the special election in SD 16 in 2008. Of those 12 seats, eight were pick-ups.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is GOP gains in the Senate have always been incremental, and stunted as compared to those in the House, even in cycles with notable Republican momentum. So, while Republican pick-ups of as many as 15 seats look quite feasible on paper, history suggests the GOP will fall short of that mark.

And while Republicans will still yet to have won control of the upper chamber - a feat that has eluded them since partisan ballot elections returned in 1974 - the Party will inflict enough losses to derail a DFL veto-proof majority for not simply 2011, but also even if there is a Democratic rebound in 2012 after new district lines have been drawn.

Projection
Partisan shift: GOP +8
Partisan control: DFL hold

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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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