In less than two weeks, Nevada will hold its first special election to the U.S. House in state history, with 2nd Congressional District residents voting to fill the seat vacated by Republican Dean Heller who was appointed to the U.S. Senate after the resignation of scandal-plagued GOPer John Ensign. Over the last 50 years, there have been 220 special elections for the House of Representatives heading into the September 13th contests in Nevada and New York's 9th CD (to fill Democrat Anthony Weiner's seat). Nearly one out of two such elections during this span were caused by the death of the U.S. House member - with 102 such cases dating back to 1961 (46.3 percent). However, with the inclusion of NV-02 and NY-09, there have now been eight consecutive special elections conducted for seats vacated due to reasons other than death - the longest such streak during this five-decade long stretch. Well-known members of Congress to die in office during this span include Democrat Claude Pepper (FL-18), Republican Sonny Bono of California (CA-44), and Democrat John Murtha (PA-12).
A total of eight candidates will be on the ballot in New Jersey's gubernatorial election Tuesday. That is the lowest number since 1989, when voters got to choose from six candidates in the ballot access-friendly Garden State. There were 19 gubernatorial hopefuls in 1993, 10 in 1997, nine in 2001, 10 in 2005, and a dozen in 2009. Since 1901, an average of eight candidates have appeared on New Jersey's gubernatorial ballot. As a result, candidates have won with a plurality of the vote eight times during this 110+-year period: in 1907, 1913, 1919, 1934, 1981, 1993, 1997, and 2009. In addition to major party nominees Chris Christie and Barbara Buono, the other six candidates running for governor in 2013 are Kenneth Kaplan (Libertarian), Steven Welzer (Green), William Araujo (Peace and Freedom), Jeff Boss (NSA Did 911), Diane Sare (Glass-Steagall Now), and Hank Schroeder (independent).
What do Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have in common? All five women ran failed gubernatorial general election campaigns prior to winning U.S. Senate seats. Feinstein lost her gubernatorial bid in 1990 with Collins losing in 1994, Heitkamp in 2000, Hirono in 2002, and McCaskill in 2004. Heitkamp had the longest gap - getting elected to the nation's upper legislative chamber a dozen years later in 2012 with Feinstein (1992), Collins (1996), and McCaskill (2006) each waiting just two years before claiming a Senate seat and Hirono (2002) waiting ten.
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