While Barack Obama may be pulling for a Rick Santorum long-shot bid on the Republican side of the presidential ticket, it is unlikely any underdogs will make it on the president's Final Four bracket in the men's college basketball tournament. Obama has played it safe through his first three brackets as president - picking nine #1 one seeds and three #2 seeds thus far, with a #1 seed as the tourney champion each year. In 2009, Obama picked North Carolina (1) over Louisville (1) in the title game, with Pitt (1) and Memphis (2) rounding out the Final Four. In 2010, the president chose Kansas (1) to win it all over Kentucky (1) - with Kansas State (2) and Villanova (2) falling just short. In 2011, Obama once again picked Kansas (1) - this time over Ohio State (1), with Duke (1) and Pitt (1) losing in the semi-finals.
Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.
When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.
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