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Cravaack Bolsters Military Record of Minnesota's U.S. House Delegation

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With Chip Cravaack's election to Congress, half of Minnesota's 2011 U.S. House delegation has a military background, compared to 36 percent of the 134 U.S. Representatives elected since statehood

With Republican Chip Cravaak's victory over Jim Oberstar in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District last month, the Gopher State's eight-member U.S. House delegation will now send four members to D.C. in 2011 with a military service record.

That marks only the second time since the Election of 1978 that half of Minnesota's U.S. Representatives will have military service in their biographies, which is notably higher than the state's historical average.

A Smart Politics study of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress finds that just shy of 36 percent of Minnesota's 134 current and former members of the U.S. House have a record of military service (48 representatives).

The election of Cravaack (U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve), along with Collin Peterson (North Dakota Army National Guard), John Kline (U.S. Marines), and Tim Walz (Nebraska and Minnesota National Guards) in 2010 also means that Minnesota has sent at least one member to the U.S. House with military service for 100 consecutive years.

Minnesota has sent former military personnel to Congress with experience dating all the way back to the U.S.-Mexican War.

Democrat Edmund Rice - elected to the state's 4th CD in 1886 - served in the Mexican War in 1847 in the First Regiment of the Michigan Volunteers.

Another 13 U.S. Representatives from Minnesota previously served in the Civil War including:

· Four from the Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry: Republicans Knute Nelson and Darwin Hall, Democrat Melvin Baldwin, and Democrat-Farmer's Alliance candidate William Harries.
· One from the Wisconsin Heavy Artillery Regiment: Farmers Alliance Prohibition candidate Kittel Halvorson.
· One from the Maine Volunteer Infantry: Republican Mark Dunnell.
· One from the Ohio Volunteer Infantry: Republican Samuel Snider.
· Three from the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry: Republicans John Averill, Horace Strait, and Andrew Kiefer.
· One from the Minnesota Mountain Rangers: Democrat Eugene Nelson.
· Union Army members Republican Jacob Stewart and Democrat John MacDonald.

In between wars, one future member of Minnesota's U.S. House delegation saw military service - Republican William Nolan was a member of the Minnesota National Guard from 1891-1896.

At the close of the century, another six future U.S. House members from the Gopher State served in the Spanish-American War - all from the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry: Republicans Carl Van Dyke, Franklin Ellsworth, Sydney Anderson, Conrad Selvig, Ernest Lundeen, and Democrat John Lind.

(Note: Lind previously served in Congress as a Republican prior to his military service; Lundeen later served as a Farmer-Laborite).

About twenty years later, several soon to be U.S. Representatives from Minnesota served their country in the First World War:

· Seven joined the U.S. Army: Republicans Allen Furlow, Victor Christgau, Walter Judd, and John Alexander, Farmer-Laborites John Bernard and Paul Kvale, and DFLer Roy Wier.
· One served in the U.S. Navy: Republican Oscar Youngdahl.
· One served in the U.S Marines: Republican Melvin Maas.
· One served in the Officers' Reserve Corps: Republican Joseph O'Hara

GOPer H. Carl Andersen was a graduate of the Naval Academy during this period and served briefly in the U.S. Navy until his ears were injured by a gun blast while aboard the battleship "Wyoming" in 1917, ending his service.

Republican August Andresen was a member of the Minnesota Home Guard from 1918-1919.

One generation later, another seven future Minnesota U.S. Representatives served their country in World War II:

· Four served in the U.S. Navy: Republicans Edward Devitt, George MacKinnon, and Al Quie and DFLer Don Fraser.
· Two served in the U.S. Army: Republican Clark MacGregor and DFLer Joseph Karth.
· One served in the U.S. Army Air Corps: DFLer John Blatnik.

One Minnesota U.S. Representative, Democrat Elmer Ryan, served in World War II after his congressional tenure (1935-1940) - joining the U.S. Army in 1942.

During the post-WWII era, the percentage of Minnesota Representatives with military service was at an all-time high - with Minnesotans electing a majority of their delegation with a military background from the 1946 through the 1974 election cycles (including a peak of 7 out of 9 members in 1946).

Over the last 50 to 60 years, eight future Minnesota U.S. House members had military service on their resumes including Republican Bill Frenzel in the Korean War with the Naval Reserve and Republicans Arlen Erdahl in the U.S. Army (1954-1956) and Tom Hagedorn in the U.S. Navy (1961).

Former Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad also served for seven years in the U.S. Army Reserves (1968-1975).

Overall, nearly 40 percent of Minnesota's Republican U.S. House members have had some form of military service (33 of 83 members, 39.8 percent), compared to 31.6 percent of Democrats and DFLers (12 of 38 representatives).

Only 18.2 percent of the state's Farmer-Laborite U.S. Representatives had military experience (2 of 11).

Military Service by Minnesota Congressional Delegation by Election Year, 1857-present

Year
U.S. Representatives
#
Seats
%
2010
Walz, Kline, Peterson, Cravaack
4
8
50.0
2008
Walz, Kline, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2006
Walz, Kline, Ramstad, Peterson
4
8
50.0
2004
Kline, Ramstad, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2002
Kline, Ramstad, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2000
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1998
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1996
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1994
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1992
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1990
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1988
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1986
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1984
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1982
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1980
Erdahl, Hagedorn, Frenzel
3
8
37.5
1978
Erdahl, Hagedorn, Frenzel
3
8
37.5
1976
Quie, Hagedorn, Frenzel, Fraser
4
8
50.0
1974
Quie, Hagedorn, Frenzel, Karth, Fraser
5
8
62.5
1972
Quie, Frenzel, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1970
Quie, Frenzel, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1968
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1966
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1964
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1962
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1960
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1958
Quie, Wier, Karth, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1956
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1954
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1952
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1950
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1948
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1946
Andresen, O'Hara, MacKinnon, Devitt, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
7
9
77.8
1944
Andresen, O'Hara, Judd, Andersen
4
9
44.4
1942
Andresen, O'Hara, Maas, Judd, Andersen
5
9
55.6
1940
Andresen, O'Hara, Maas, Youngdahl, Andersen
5
9
55.6
1938
Andresen, Alexander, Maas, Youngdahl, Andersen
5
9
55.6
1936
Andresen, Maas, P. Kvale, Bernard
4
9
44.4
1934
Andresen, Lundeen, Maas, P. Kvale
4
9
44.4
1932
P. Kvale, Lundeen
2
9
22.2
1930
Christgau, Andresen, Maas, Nolan, P. Kvale, Selvig
6
10
60.0
1928
Christgau, Andresen, Maas, Selvig
4
10
40.0
1926
Furlow, Andresen, Maas, Selvig
4
10
40.0
1924
Furlow, Andresen
2
10
20.0
1922
S. Anderson
1
10
10.0
1920
S. Anderson
1
10
10.0
1918
S. Anderson, Ellsworth, Van Dyke
3
10
30.0
1916
S. Anderson, Ellsworth, Van Dyke, Lundeen
4
10
40.0
1914
S. Anderson, Ellsworth, Van Dyke
3
10
30.0
1912
S. Anderson
1
10
10.0
1910
S. Anderson
1
9
11.1
1908
(none)
0
9
0.0
1906
(none)
0
9
0.0
1904
(none)
0
9
0.0
1902
Lind
1
9
11.1
1900
(none)
0
7
0.0
1898
(none)
0
7
0.0
1896
(none)
0
7
0.0
1894
Kiefer
1
7
14.3
1892
Kiefer, Baldwin
2
7
28.6
1890
Harries, Halvorson
2
5
40.0
1888
Dunnell, D. Hall, Snider
3
5
60.0
1886
MacDonald, Rice, Nelson
3
5
60.0
1884
Strait, Nelson
2
5
40.0
1882
Strait, Nelson
2
5
40.0
1880
Dunnell, Strait
2
3
66.7
1878
Dunnell
1
3
33.3
1876
Dunnell, Strait, Stewart
3
3
100.0
1874
Dunnell, Strait
2
3
66.7
1872
Dunnell, Strait, Averill
3
3
100.0
1870
Dunnell, Averill
2
2
100.0
1868
E. Wilson
1
2
50.0
1866
(none)
0
2
0.0
1864
(none)
0
2
0.0
1862
(none)
0
2
0.0
1860
(none)
0
2
0.0
1859
(none)
0
2
0.0
1857
(none)
0
2
0.0
Data compiled by Smart Politics from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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