Although he has somewhat slowed down the use of his favorite verbal tics from 10 per debate to four, Texas Governor Rick Perry is still far and away the clubhouse leader in the GOP presidential debates when it comes to using clichés. Through the nine debates since Perry first took the stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, he has uttered hackneyed phrases that attempt to bolster his points (e.g. "the bottom line," "at the end of the day," "the fact of the matter," "as a matter of fact," "the fact is") 54 times through the recent Iowa debate in Des Moines. Perry had used these phrases 31 times through just the first three debates, and 'just' 23 times over the last six. The only other candidate who reaches double digits during this span is none other than Newt Gingrich at 12, whose favorite such phrase is "The fact is." Following Gingrich is Jon Huntsman with six, Rick Santorum with five, Ron Paul with four, Mitt Romney with three, and Michele Bachmann with two. Herman Cain, often applauded for his straight talk, did not use any of these trite phrases during the eight debates under analysis in which he participated.
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.
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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