As electoral map gurus put forth their latest projections, here is one tidbit to consider: the major party nominee from the most populous home state has won nearly twice as many presidential elections in U.S. history (32) as the nominee with the smaller home state population (17). (On four occasions the two major nominees came from the same state (1904, 1920, 1940, 1944), and in three elections the winner ran unopposed (1789, 1792, 1820)). Barack Obama's home state of Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the nation at 12.8 million residents whereas presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts is #14 at 6.5 million according to the 2010 Census. This "larger home state advantage" has been even more pronounced over the past 120 years with the nominee coming from the more populous home state winning 19 of 26 contests since 1892 (73 percent). Add to the fact that Romney will probably emerge as the underdog to even win the Bay State this November, and it is unlikely the former governor will be chanting "home sweet home" as he watches the Massachusetts returns on Election Night.
Of the 15 men and women that have served in the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin since popular vote elections were introduced a century ago, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin rank among the oldest upon first entering the chamber. Johnson began his tenure at the age of 55 years, 8 months, and 26 days in January 2011, which is the oldest of any elected Wisconsin Senator during this popular vote era. The next oldest, Alexander Wiley, was more than one year younger when he took his seat in 1939 (54 years, 7 months, 8 days). Tammy Baldwin comes in at #6 being 50 years, 10 months, and 23 days when she took office in January of this year. The youngest elected Senator from the Badger State was Robert La Follette, Jr. at 30 years, 7 months, and 24 days (1925) when he took the seat of his legendary deceased father.
Tim Johnson's retirement opens up an opportunity for Republicans to gain control of both U.S. Senate seats in South Dakota for the first time since the convening of the 100th Congress in January 1987 (Tom Daschle ousted incumbent GOPer James Abdnor in the 1986 election). South Dakota is currently tied with Nevada and Washington for the 22nd longest streak in the nation since Republicans held both Senate seats at 26+ years. Neighboring North Dakota has the 13th longest streak (August 1960) with three states last seeing a GOP hold on both seats in the 1800s: Louisiana (November 1872), Florida (March 1875), and Arkansas (March 1885).
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