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Minnesota Caucuses: Paul Reaches Record High, Romney Nears Record Low

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Minnesotans deliver the Texas Congressman his best performance in a GOP primary or caucus over the last two cycles...and Romney one of his worst

ronpaul11.jpgAlthough no delegates were awarded in the Republican presidential contests Tuesday evening, several interesting developments emerged below the headlines, particularly in Minnesota.

First, by winning the Minnesota caucuses (and the Missouri primary and Colorado caucuses), Rick Santorum avoided becoming the only winner of the Iowa caucuses to fail to carry any other state.

Prior to the 2012 cycle, Democratic and Republican Iowa caucus victors won an average of 26 primaries and caucuses (excluding incumbents who did not face a primary opponent and ran the table unchallenged).

Ron Paul, meanwhile, set a personal best performance as a presidential candidate by winning 27.1 percent of the vote in the Minnesota caucuses.

Paul's previous best mark in a GOP presidential primary or caucus was the 24.5 percent he recorded in the Montana caucuses during his 2008 presidential run.

In 2008, Paul eclipsed the 20 percent mark a total of five times: in the Washington caucuses (21.6 percent), Idaho primary (23.7 percent), Montana caucuses (24.5 percent), Montana primary (21.5 percent), and the North Dakota caucuses (21.3 percent).

Through just eight contests thus far in 2012, Paul has already eclipsed 20 percent in three states: Iowa (21.4 percent), New Hampshire (22.9 percent), and Minnesota (27 percent ).

As for Romney, his numbers took a different turn in Minnesota Tuesday evening.

After turning in a victory in the Gopher State four years ago with 41 percent of the vote, the former Massachusetts governor won only 16.9 percent this time around.

This marks the third worst Romney showing out of 37 presidential primary and caucus contests in which he has competed since 2008.

The only two contests in which Romney fared more poorly as a presidential candidate came in 2008 when he recorded 13.5 percent of the vote in the Arkansas primary and 15.3 percent in the South Carolina primary.

Politics in Minnesota never disappoints.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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