A recent SurveyUSA poll of likely Minnesota voters unsurprisingly found a single-digit race on the top of November's ballot (Obama up six points over Romney) and a blow-out just below (Amy Klobchuar up 24 on GOP challenger Kurt Bills). Such has often been the result over the 17 previous election cycles in the Gopher State since 1912 in which presidential and U.S. Senate contests align in the same cycle. The presidential contest has been more narrowly decided than the U.S. Senate race in 12 races (1912, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1948, 1952, 1960, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 2000) and the senate race has been more competitive just five times (1924, 1936, 1964, 1996, 2008). These 17 presidential elections have been decided by an average of 10.6 points while the 17 U.S. Senate contests were decided by an average of 17.7 points.
A total of eight candidates will be on the ballot in New Jersey's gubernatorial election Tuesday. That is the lowest number since 1989, when voters got to choose from six candidates in the ballot access-friendly Garden State. There were 19 gubernatorial hopefuls in 1993, 10 in 1997, nine in 2001, 10 in 2005, and a dozen in 2009. Since 1901, an average of eight candidates have appeared on New Jersey's gubernatorial ballot. As a result, candidates have won with a plurality of the vote eight times during this 110+-year period: in 1907, 1913, 1919, 1934, 1981, 1993, 1997, and 2009. In addition to major party nominees Chris Christie and Barbara Buono, the other six candidates running for governor in 2013 are Kenneth Kaplan (Libertarian), Steven Welzer (Green), William Araujo (Peace and Freedom), Jeff Boss (NSA Did 911), Diane Sare (Glass-Steagall Now), and Hank Schroeder (independent).
What do Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have in common? All five women ran failed gubernatorial general election campaigns prior to winning U.S. Senate seats. Feinstein lost her gubernatorial bid in 1990 with Collins losing in 1994, Heitkamp in 2000, Hirono in 2002, and McCaskill in 2004. Heitkamp had the longest gap - getting elected to the nation's upper legislative chamber a dozen years later in 2012 with Feinstein (1992), Collins (1996), and McCaskill (2006) each waiting just two years before claiming a Senate seat and Hirono (2002) waiting ten.
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