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Smart Politics Projections: Minnesota U.S. House

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Republican storm may leave all trees standing in U.S. House contests

Current delegation partisan split
DFL: 5
Republicans: 3

Incumbents
DFL incumbents: 5
Republican incumbents: 3
Open seats: 0

Analysis
Despite a flurry of national attention early in the election cycle centered around the potential defeat of a Republican U.S. Representative from Minnesota (Michele Bachmann, MN-06), and late in the cycle on the defeat of two DFL incumbents (Tim Walz, MN-01 and Jim Oberstar, MN-08), all eight members of the Gopher State U.S. House delegation are still positioned to win their contests on Tuesday.

While history is full of exceptions, its patterns should give comfort to Representatives Bachmann and Walz - both from the Class of 2006. Two-term incumbents have won 88 percent of their reelection bids in Minnesota history (75 of 85 races), with six of these 10 incumbents defeated after redistricting (election years ending in '2').

Bachmann's advantages this election cycle are well-known (e.g. fundraising, partisan tilt of district). But while Walz is certain to face a much more competitive race than his previous reelection defense, it is worth knowing that history also says only 8 out 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.

That factoid also applies to Oberstar, who may be hoping for particularly high turnout among his district's seniors - those who have voted for him in many past election cycles and may not be as swept away by the surging campaign of Republican Chip Cravaack.

Projections
MN-01. Tim Walz (DFL hold)
MN-02. John Kline (GOP hold)
MN-03. Erik Paulsen (GOP hold)
MN-04. Betty McCollum (DFL hold)
MN-05. Keith Ellison (DFL hold)
MN-06. Michele Bachmann (GOP hold)
MN-07. Collin Peterson (DFL hold)
MN-08. Jim Oberstar (DFL hold)

Partisan shift: No change

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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.


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