U.S. Representative Todd Akin's 6.0-point victory over John Brunner in Tuesday's Republican U.S. Senate race in Missouri was the third narrowest GOP primary victory for the office in state history and the lowest percentage for a winning candidate in more than 80 years. Akin won with 36.0 percent of the vote and the last time a victorious Republican primary winner for a Missouri U.S. Senate contest received less than 40 percent was in 1928 when Roscoe Patterson won with 31.4 percent of the vote. The only other GOP winner who received less support on primary day was R.R. Brewster in 1922 with 33.4 percent. The only races decided more closely than Akin's 6-point win were Herbert Douglas's 2.3-point win in 1956 over Albert Shoenbeck and Patterson's 3.4-point win over Nathan Frank in 1928.
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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