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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

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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