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Meet the 'Other Bachmann'

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All about Michele's long forgotten namesake in the U.S. House

carlbachmann02.jpgWhile some might say they broke the mold when they made Michele Bachmann, the conservative congresswoman and 2012 presidential hopeful from Minnesota is not the first Republican named Bachmann to be elected to the U.S. House.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Carl Bachmann.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1890, Carl Bachmann was a four-term Republican U.S. Representative from the Mountain State who served its 1st Congressional District during the mid-1920s and early 1930s.

Carl, like Michele, had a background in law, and was elected prosecuting attorney for Ohio County and served in that position for four years through 1924.

Carl Bachmann then ran as a Republican for the U.S. House in 1924 when two-term GOPer Benjamin Rosenbloom decided to run for U.S. Senate (and failed).

Eighty-two years later, in an almost identical fashion, Michele ran for an open House seat when three-term Republican Mark Kennedy decided to leave his 6th CD seat for a U.S. Senate run in the Gopher State (which Kennedy also lost).

In the 1924 general election, Carl Bachmann defeated his Democratic opponent George Oldham by 10.4 points, while Michele won her 2006 race against Patty Wetterling by a similar 8.0 points.

Carl Bachamann won his second term in 1926 by a much closer margin in a rematch against Oldham - seeing his 1924 margin sliced by more than half to 4.5 points.

Meanwhile, Michele also won her second term in 2008 by less than half of her 2006 spread, defeating DFLer Elwin Tinklenberg by 3.0 points.

Carl and Michele then each won their third terms by four times the margin of their sophomore reelection victories: Carl by 21.3 points over Democrat Paul Wellman in 1928 and Michele by 12.7 points over Tarryl Clark in 2010.

But after three terms in the House, neither Bachmann could lay claim as the author of any significant legislation that eventually became law.

But that is where the similarities seem to end between the two Bachmanns.

In 1930, Carl was elected to a fourth term when he defeated Democrat Robert Ramsey by 12.2 points.

He then joined the party leadership by becoming the Republican Minority Whip for the 72nd Congress after Indiana's Albert Vestal, GOP whip since 1923, died in April of 1931.

Michele Bachmann, by contrast, has been famously at odds with today's Republican House leadership as her star has risen over the last few years.

Carl Bachmann's tenure as whip in the House is the highest leadership post a West Virginian has held in the chamber in state history.

However, his stint in the caucus leadership would be short, as the Democratic landslide of 1932 found the congressman losing the general election to his 1930 opponent Robert Ramsey by 2.7 points, and then falling short again in 1934 by 7.4 points as the challenger.

Michele, meanwhile, has suspended fundraising for what would be her fourth term in the U.S. House in order to focus on her 2012 presidential quest.

Carl Bachmann also dabbled in presidential politics - except from behind the scenes, as the campaign manager for Idaho Republican U.S. Senator William Borah in 1936.

Borah won a handful of primaries, but ended up a very distant second in convention balloting for the nomination that went to Kansas Governor Alf Landon in a landslide.

Carl Bachmann then returned to West Virginia and served on the Wheeling City Council from 1939 to 1941, lost his bid for West Virginia's GOP U.S. Senate nomination in 1940, and was later elected mayor of his home town in 1947.

The elder Bachmann lived out his days in Wheeling where he died in 1980.

Carl and Michele are the only two Bachmanns to serve in the U.S. House over the institution's 222-year history, although there was one "Bachman" (Reuben Bachman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who was elected to the 46th Congress).

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The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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