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No GOP Challenger Yet For Amy Klobuchar? No Problem

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No eventual major party nominee over the last four Minnesota U.S. Senate elections had announced their candidacy at this point in the election cycle

Although Minnesota Republicans are not exactly flocking in droves to take on 1-term Minnesota DFL U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar in 2012, it is a bit premature to read into the dearth of candidacies as a sign the GOP believes it has little chance to take the seat.

There are 642 days until Election Day, and recent Minnesota history suggests it could take a while longer for official candidacies to be announced.

· Senator Klobuchar herself did not announce her candidacy until April 18, 2005 - some 568 days before the 2006 election.

· Klobchar's 2006 GOP opponent for Mark Dayton's open seat - Mark Kennedy - announced his candidacy on February 11, 2005 (634 days in advance of the election).

· Minnesota's junior Senator, Al Franken, had not yet announced his intention to run against Norm Coleman at this point in the 2008 cycle either - waiting until Valentine's Day in 2007, or 629 days before Election Day.

· Dean Barkley of the Independence Party did not file his FEC paperwork in the 2008 election until July 25 of that year, a mere 102 days before voters went to the polls.

· Republican Norm Coleman waited until February 11, 2002 before deciding to challenge Paul Wellstone, or just 267 days before the election.

· Mark Dayton played his cards close to the vest for a long stretch as well - not announcing his candidacy against Republican incumbent Rod Grams until April 3, 2000, or just 218 days before that contest.

Minnesota's other two Senators during the last 16 years - Rod Grams and Paul Wellstone - had also not announced their intention to run for U.S. Senate at this stage in the election cycle.

Grams - a newly-minted Freshman U.S. Representative at the time - announced on December 2, 1993 he would be a candidate for Dave Durenberger's open seat, or 11 months before his eventual 1994 victory.

Wellstone gave himself a little more time: announcing his 1990 bid against Rudy Boschwitz in April of 1989, or 19 months before Election Day.

For the record, Minnesota electoral history gives Senator Klobuchar a two in three chance of retaining her seat next year.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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