Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


GOP Aims to Hold All North Dakota Seats on Capitol Hill for 1st Time in Over 50 Years

Bookmark and Share

Republicans last held all of North Dakota's U.S. Senate and House seats in January 1959

johnhoeven.jpgWhen John Hoeven (pictured) won Byron Dorgan's open U.S. Senate seat and Rick Berg defeated nine-term incumbent U.S. Representative Earl Pomeroy last November, it ended a streak of 24 consecutive years of Democratic Party control of all three North Dakota congressional seats on Capitol Hill.

And now with the upcoming retirement of senior senator Kent Conrad, the Republican Party will try to achieve a feat they haven't accomplished in over half a century.

A Smart Politics review of North Dakota electoral history finds the last time the GOP held all North Dakota U.S. Senate and U.S. House seats was January 1959 at the end of the 85th Congress.

In November 1958, Democrat Quentin Burdick won one of the state's two at-large seats after the retirement of his father, Usher, who had served in the House for 10 interrupted terms in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

Democrats held at least one seat on Capitol Hill for the next 52 years through the current 112th Congress, even as the Peace Garden State's House delegation was sliced in half to one at-large seat after reapportionment following the 1970 Census.

And while the candidates are not yet settled on either side of the ballot in the state's U.S. Senate race next year, D.C. prognosticators have universally made the GOP heavily favored in a race in which Rick Berg is expected to be the party's nominee.

If North Dakota Republicans can pick up retiring Senator Conrad's open seat and hold Berg's open U.S. House seat, they will send Democrats back to what was once a familiar position for the party through a good portion of the state's history.

Since statehood in 1889, Democrats have failed to hold a single North Dakota U.S. Senate or House seat across 61 of these 123 years, or 49.6 percent of the time.

Prior to Quentin Burdick being sworn in to the U.S. House in 1959, Republicans had held every federal legislative seat in North Dakota for all but two months of a 38-year stretch from 1921 to 1958.

(In 1944, Democratic Governor John Moses was elected to the U.S. Senate but died after serving just two months in 1945. Republican Milton Young was appointed to the seat and held it until retiring in January 1981).

In fact, only four Democrats including Moses had ever served in the House or Senate prior to Burdick in 1959 - tallying a paltry eight years collectively over these 70 years - as the state's entire D.C. delegation varied between three and five members: U.S. Senators William Roach (1893-1899), Fountain Thompson (1909-1910), and William Purcell (1910-1911).

Democrats have held one of these D.C. seats for 28 years since statehood (22.8 percent), two seats for 10 years (8.1 percent), and three seats for the 24-year stretch from 1987-2011 (19.5 percent).

The 1987-2011 period was the only time in state history in which North Dakota Republicans have not held at least one seat in D.C.

Number of North Dakota U.S. Senate and U.S. House Seats Held by Party (by number of years), 1889-present

# Seats
Republican
Democrat
Other
0
24
61
119
1
6
28
4
2
19
10
0
3
21
24
0
4
37
0
0
5
16
0
0
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Ron Paul Polling 10x Stronger in August 2011 vs August 2007
Next post: Shays to Seek Connecticut US Senate Seat Despite Narrow Historical Pathway

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting