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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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