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Debt Deal Senate Vote: The Divided Republican Caucus

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Although nearly 60 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Senate supported the deficit- and debt-reduction deal on Tuesday, there was one glaring splinter in its caucus. Of the 13 Republican Senators that began their terms this year, nine voted against the proposal and just four supported it (69 percent opposition). Meanwhile, of the 34 Republicans who were in office prior to 2011, 24 voted for its passage and just 10 voted against it (71 percent support). Newly elected (or appointed) GOP Senators voting against the measure were Dean Heller (Nevada), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), Ron Johnson (WI), Marco Rubio (FL), Pat Toomey (PA), Jerry Moran (KS), and Dan Coats (IN), who also logged in 10 years of Senate experience from 1989 to 1998. Voting for the bill were John Hoeven (ND), John Boozman (AR), Rob Portman (OH), and Roy Blunt (MO). Mark Kirk (IL) also voted for the bill, but was sworn into office in last November.

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Political Crumbs

73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


Two Dakotas, One Voice?

For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.


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