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Two-Candidate Race a Rarity in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District

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The Minneapolis area congressional district had fielded 16 third party and independent U.S. House candidates over the last eight cycles, averaging 9 percent of the vote

keithellison10.jpgFor the first time in 18 years, voters in Minneapolis will only have two choices on their ballot for U.S. Representative.

Three-term DFL incumbent Keith Ellison is being challenged by Republican and Marine Corps veteran Chris Fields, without any third party or independent candidates filing this cycle.

The state's 5th CD had been Minnesota's hub for third party candidacies over the last two decades.

In 2010, three alternative party candidates combined to win 8.1 percent in the district - the largest number of candidates and highest cumulative percentage of non-DFL/GOP vote received throughout Minnesota's eight congressional districts.

From 1996 through 2010, 16 third party and independent candidates ran in the 5th CD averaging 8.9 percent of the vote, beginning with 7.0 percent in 1996, 5.4 percent in 1998, 8.0 percent in 2000, 7.0 percent in 2002, 5.7 percent in 2004, 23.0 percent in 2006, 6.9 percent in 2008, and 8.1 percent in 2010.

Only one other district in the state has reached double-digits in the number of independent and third party candidates during this span: the 4th CD with 13 such candidates.

The state's 8th CD is next with nine candidates from 1996-2010 followed by the 2nd CD with eight, the 6th CD with seven, the 1st CD with six, and the 3rd and 7th CDs with five each.

Only two candidates from outside the DFL and Republican parties will be on the ballot across the Gopher State's eight U.S. House contests this November - down from 13 two years ago.

Independence Party nominee Steve Carlson is running for a second consecutive cycle in the 4th Congressional District race against DFL incumbent Betty McCollum, while IPer Adam Steele is running in the 7th CD challenging DFLer Collin Peterson.

Minnesota's 5th CD has been under DFL control since the Election of 1962, when future Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser narrowly defeated 10-term Republican Congressman Walter Judd by 3.7 points.

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Remains of the Data

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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 Stassen 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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