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Ryan Seeks to Become 1st GOPer to Simultaneously Win VP and Congressional Seat

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Only three previous individuals - all Democrats - have won the vice-presidency and were reelected to their seat on Capitol Hill on Election Day

paulryan10.jpgWhen Joe Biden and Paul Ryan square off in their vice-presidential debate this autumn, one thing for which the sitting vice-president cannot criticize his Republican opponent is having divided political ambitions.

In 2008, Biden hedged his bets and ran for a seventh term to his U.S. Senate seat from Delaware as well as accepting Barack Obama's invitation to be his vice-presidential running mate.

Biden won both races and, of course, resigned from his Senate seat and became the 47th Vice-President of the United States.

Four years later, Ryan will follow suit, continuing to run for reelection to an eighth term to his 1st congressional district seat in Wisconsin while running with Mitt Romney to take back the White House for the Republican Party.

And how common are dual-office victories for vice-presidential nominees?

A Smart Politics analysis finds that only three candidates have simultaneously won both the vice-presidency and another office since the introduction of the major party system almost 200 years ago, with only five individuals attempting this feat along the way - and none of them Republicans.

All five candidates have successfully retained their seat on Capitol Hill, but only three became vice-president that cycle:

· In 1932, Democrat John Nance Garner won his 16th term from Texas' 1st CD with a 76.9-point win over Republican Carlos Watson. Garner, who was House Speaker at the time, served until the end of his 15th term in March 1933.

· In 1960, Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeated future Republican U.S. Senator John Tower by 16.9 points - the narrowest of his three U.S. Senate election victories. Johnson resigned on the last day of his second term.

· In 2008, Joe Biden defeated Republican Christine O'Donnell in the Delaware U.S. Senate contest by 29.4 points. Biden served a few weeks of his eighth term before resigning a week before becoming vice-president.

Two other candidates were reelected to the U.S. Senate but were not elected vice-president:

· In 1988, Democrat Lloyd Bentsen won his fourth term as a U.S. Senator from Texas with a 19.2-point win over Beau Boulter, while losing on Michael Dukakis' ticket.

· In 2000, Al Gore's running mate Joe Lieberman won a third term to Connecticut's Class I U.S. Senate seat with a 29.0-point victory over Republican Philip Giordano.

With the exception of Garner and now Ryan, most vice-presidential candidates have not chosen (or not been able) to simultaneously run for their U.S. House seat:

· 1836: Whig Francis Granger (NY-26) lost running alongside William Henry Harrison.
· 1864: Democrat George Pendleton (OH-01) lost on George McClellan's ticket.
· 1868: Republican Schuyler Colfax (IN-09) won running with Ulysses Grant.
· 1876: Republican William Wheeler (NY-19) won as Rutherford Hayes' running mate.
· 1908: Republican James Sherman (NY-27) won on William Howard Taft's ticket.
· 1964: Republican William Miller (NY-40) lost running with Barry Goldwater.
· 1984: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro (NY-09) lost as Walter Mondale's running mate.

With his attention focused on helping Mitt Romney win the White House, Paul Ryan will also face Democrat Rob Zerban down the ballot in Wisconsin's 1st CD race.

Zerban will no doubt use the vice-presidential nominee's dual ambitions as a way to bolster his campaign.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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