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Smart Politics Projections: South Dakota House

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Republicans to flirt with 50-seat mark once again in lower chamber

Current partisan split
Republican: 46
Democrat: 24

Incumbents
Republican incumbents: 28
Open Republican seats: 18
Democratic incumbents: 21
Open Democratic seats: 3

Unchallenged seats
No Republican on the ballot: 11
No Democrat on the ballot: 20

Analysis
Just like the State Senate, Democrats are ceding nearly 30 percent of House seats to the Republican Party this cycle, with 20 slots unfilled in the 35 dual-member district races. However, opportunities for GOP pick-ups are a bit slimmer, as Republicans already control 66 percent of House seats, compared to 60 percent of Senate seats.

Still, in past decades, Republicans have reached even the 55 and 60 seat marks, so there is certainly some room for GOP gains, particularly with the Democratic struggles at the top of the ticket in 2010.

However, due to the large number of open Republican seats (largely due to term limits) and the strategic placing of one Democratic candidate on the ballot in some districts, the GOP will not be able to quite maximize the number of seats the current political environment would otherwise indicate. Instead, expect modest net GOP gains.

Projection
Partisan shift: GOP +3
Partisan control: GOP hold

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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