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Michael Steele Era on Par with Historical Tenure of RNC Chairmen

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Over 75 percent of RNC Chairmen throughout history have served less than two full terms; 61 percent have served two years or less

The election of Reince Priebus as the next Republican National Committee (RNC) Friday afternoon ended Michael Steele's quest to continue at his post for another two years.

Steele's defeat ends his Chairmanship at two years, which is on par with the average tenure for RNC Chairmen throughout history.

A Smart Politics review of past Republican National Committee chairmen finds that 77 percent (49 of 64) served less than four years, with only 15 former chairmen serving two or more full terms (23 percent).

Steele continues a recent trend for RNC chairmen, as none of his five predecessors served more than two years: Jim Gilmore (2001-2002), Marc Racicot (2002-2003), Ed Gillespie (2003-2005), Ken Mehlman (2005-2007), and Mike Duncan (2007-2009).

With Steele's defeat, 61 percent of former RNC chairmen have notched tenures of two years or less (39 of 64), including 10 of the last 13 dating back to 1981.

Thirty percent of chairmen throughout history served less than two years (19 of 64).

Overall, the average tenure of RNC chairs has been approximately two years and five months.

The longest serving chairmen in Committee history were future U.S. Senator from New York Edwin Morgan (the Party's first chairman), who held the office for eight years from 1856-1864 and Ohio Senator Marcus Hanna, who chaired the committee from 1896 to 1904.

Length of Service of Republican National Committee Chairmen, 1856-2011

Years
#
Percent
<1
4
6.3
1
15
23.4
2
20
31.3
3
10
15.6
4
12
18.8
6
1
1.6
8
2
3.1
Total
64
2.4
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

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).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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