While all eyes were on Wisconsin this week, Mitt Romney turned in more sluggish performances in presidential primaries held on Tuesday. Despite effectively sealing the nomination nearly two months ago, Romney failed to crack the 70 percent mark in two more states: South Dakota (66.0 percent) and Montana (68.4 percent). Through 49 contests, the former Massachusetts governor has eclipsed the 70 percent barrier just six times - in his home state, Nebraska, Oregon, California, New Jersey, and New Mexico. Romney will clean up in the nation's last primary state of Utah, which means he will tie Bob Dole for the lowest number of primary states carried with 70+ percent of the vote at seven. Romney has eclipsed the 80 percent mark in only one state, New Jersey (81.3 percent) with Utah yet to come. Contested Republican nominees since 1980 have averaged seven states with 80+ percent of the vote per cycle.
Big-name Republicans are not coming out of the woodwork yet to challenge Al Franken in Minnesota's 2014 U.S. Senate race, and there is not much chatter of the GOP picking off one of the five DFL-held U.S. House seats either. Over the last century, Minnesota Republican U.S. House candidates have not fared all that well in cycles ending in '4' - losing seats in five of these cycles (1914, 1924, 1944, 1954, 1974), holding serve in four others (1964, 1984, 1994, 2004), and gaining seats just one time (1934, after redistricting had been delayed one cycle with all nine seats voted at-large in 1932). Perhaps the Republican Party's best chance for a pick up in the Gopher State in 2014 is if 12-term Democrat Collin Peterson retires after nearly a quarter century on Capitol Hill. The 7th CD has the second largest GOP lean in the state.
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.
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