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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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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

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The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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