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Minnesota Republicans Notch 3rd Biggest Increase in State Senate Seats Nationwide

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Only New Hampshire and South Dakota gained a larger percentage of Senate seats in 2010 than Minnesota GOPers (+23.9 percent)

The eye-opening takeover of the Minnesota Senate by Republicans last month not only marked the first time the GOP has controlled the upper chamber since partisan elections were reintroduced in 1974, but also one of the biggest gains in the nation this cycle.

A Smart Politics study of 2010 state legislative election returns finds that Republican gains in the Minnesota Senate were the third largest proportionally nationwide, with the GOP increasing their seat tally by 23.9 percent.

The only two states that saw a greater surge for Republicans in upper legislative chambers across the country were New Hampshire (+37.5 percent) and South Dakota (+25.7 percent).

A total of 42 states had some or all of their senate seats on the ballot in November, with 7 states holding none or only special elections. (Nebraska has a unicameral legislative body).

Gopher State Republicans by far picked up the most raw number of seats in 2010 at 16, with North Carolina at 11, and New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota at nine each.

Minnesota has the most Senate seats of any state in the nation at 67, followed by New York (62), Illinois (59), and Georgia (56).

When adjusting for the size of each state's legislative body, the 16-seat gain by the Minnesota GOP ranks third in the nation.

Overall, the Upper Midwest saw some of the largest Republican gains in its state senate chambers across the country, with South Dakota at #2, Minnesota at #3, North Dakota at #7, Wisconsin at #10, and Iowa at #11.

· South Dakota Republicans saw their margin increase by nine seats (+25.7 percent) from 21-14 to 30-5 - their best mark since the 1960s.

· North Dakota Republicans also gained nine seats (+19.1 percent), augmenting their 26-21 margin to 35-12.

· Wisconsin Republicans took over the Senate in the Badger State, after relinquishing control for two cycles. The Wisconsin GOP recorded a five seat gain (+12.1 percent) to transform their 18-15 seat deficit to a 19-14 advantage. The five seat gain in Wisconsin was particularly impressive as only 17 of the body's 33 seats were on the ballot - with 10 of these controlled by Democrats before Election Day.

· Iowa Republicans fell just short of making a clean sweep for the GOP in all 10 Upper Midwestern legislative chambers. A six-seat gain (+12.0 percent) cut the Party's 32-18 deficit to 26-24.

Republicans enjoyed net gains in upper legislative chambers in 33 states in November, while losing ground to Democrats in just six: two seats each in Maryland and West Virginia and one seat each in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and New Jersey.

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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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