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Minnesota GOP Scores 4th Biggest Increase in State House Seats Nationwide

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Only New Hampshire, Alabama, and Michigan gained a larger percentage of House seats in 2010 than Minnesota Republicans (+18.7 percent)

In addition to notching the third largest increase in State Senate seats across the country in the 2010 election, Minnesota Republicans can also lay claim to a Top 5 finish for the largest increase in State House seats nationwide.

A Smart Politics study of 2010 election returns finds that Republican gains in the Minnesota House of Representatives were the fourth largest across the U.S. in November's elections, with the GOP increasing their seat tally by +18.7 percent (25 districts).

New Hampshire saw the largest Republican increase in the percentage of lower (as well as upper) chamber legislative seats - transforming their 173-216 deficit on Election Day to a gaudy 298-102 advantage thereafter.

The 31.3 percent increase in Republican seats in New Hampshire (125 districts) was by far the largest in the nation, with Alabama second (+20.0 percent, 21 seats), Michigan third (+19.1 percent, 21 seats), and Minnesota fourth (+18.7 percent, 25 seats).

Montana (+18.0 percent, 18 seats) rounds out the Top 5.

Minnesota Republicans took back the House after ceding control to the DFL for two cycles. The 25 seat gain gives the GOP a 72-62 seat advantage.

This marks the GOP's second largest margin to start a session in the Gopher State since partisan elections were reintroduced in 1974.

Only the 2002 election saw a bigger advantage for House Republicans in Minnesota - entering January 2003 with a 81-52 seat margin.

Aside from 2002, the last election from which the political right in Minnesota emerged with at least 72 seats was 1968, when 'conservatives' won 85 seats.

In the Upper Midwest, Republicans in Iowa had the sixth largest gain in the nation at 16.0 percent (16 seats), reaching 60 seats for the first time since the Republican Revolution of 1994. The GOP turned a 44-56 deficit into a 60-40 advantage, reclaiming the House after two cycles under Democratic control.

The GOP in Wisconsin had the 11th largest increase in seats in the nation at 14.1 percent (14 seats), returning to power after just one cycle with Democrats in control. Republicans, winning 60 of the chamber's 99 seats, had previously held the Assembly from 1995 through 2008.

In North Dakota, Republicans gained 11 seats (+11.7 percent) - good for 16th best in the country. The GOP increased their hold on the state's lower chamber from 58-36 to 69-25.

South Dakota Republicans gained four seats (+5.7 percent), or the 32nd biggest increase in the country. The GOP now holds 50 of 70 House seats in a chamber in which they have held a majority of seats since the Election of 1974.

Overall, 46 states held general elections for lower chamber seats in November, with Republicans gaining ground in 44 states in total.

Only in Delaware did Democrats strengthen their position (by two seats).

The Republican Parties of Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Alabama each recorded increases in both their respective state senates and houses that were among the Top 4 largest in the country.

Interestingly, Democrats still won the governorships in both New Hampshire and Minnesota.

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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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