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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

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.


Respect Your Elders?

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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