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All-Republican US Senate Delegation Wait Continues in Florida, Wisconsin, North Dakota

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The three states have not been represented by two Republicans in the U.S. Senate for a combined 244 years and counting

debfischer10.jpgWhen the 113th Congress convenes in early January, the State of Nebraska will have two Republicans serving in the U.S. Senate for the first time since December 1976.

Deb Fischer easily defeated former two-term Democrat Bob Kerrey last week to join Mike Johanns for the Cornhusker State's first GOP duo in the nation's upper legislative chamber since Roman Hruska and Carl Curtis 36 years ago.

Of the 50 states, Nebraska had held the 18th longest period since the last time it sent two Republicans to the U.S. Senate.

Perhaps the most surprising turn came in North Dakota, where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp edged GOP U.S. Representative Rick Berg by 0.9 points.

North Dakota had an opportunity to send two Republicans to the U.S. Senate for the first time since August 1960 when Milton Young and Clarence Brunsdale served in the chamber.

But Berg's loss means the state with the nation's 12th longest gap will be without an all-Republican delegation to the U.S. Senate for at least another six years.

The Heitkamp-Berg battle was actually only the fourth closest U.S. Senate race in state history behind Republican Milton Young's win in 1974 by 0.1 points over William Guy, Democrat Quentin Burdick's special election victory by 0.5 points in 1960 over John Davis, and Democrat Kent Conrad's win in 1986 by 0.7 points over incumbent Mark Andrews.

Wisconsin was another state where the Republican Party had high hopes, aiming to pick off seats in back-to-back cycles after Ron Johnson defeated three-term Democrat Russ Feingold in 2010.

But seven-term U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin handed former four-term Governor Tommy Thompson a 5.6-point loss to prevent the GOP from landing both seats in the chamber.

Wisconsin thus retains its hold on the seventh longest period in the nation without both of its U.S. Senate seats claimed by Republicans.

The last time two Republicans held both seats was more than 55 years ago just before Joe McCarthy's death in May 1957 when he and Alexander Wiley represented the Badger State.

Meanwhile, the Democratic hold on political power in the South has slowly faded away in federal and state elections over the last 48 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

But in Florida, the Republican Party has yet to be able to pry away both U.S. Senate seats from the Democrats during this period.

Last week two-term Democrat Bill Nelson cruised to a 12.8-point victory over congressman Connie Mack, extending the nation's second longest stretch for a state being represented by no more than one Republican.

It has been 137 years since the last time Florida had two GOP U.S. Senators when Abijah Gilbert and Simon Conover served the state in March 1875.

Florida may hold the nation's longest such streak after 2014 when Democrat Mary Landrieu is up for reelection in the deep red state of Louisiana.

One has to go back to January 1872 to find the last time Louisiana had two Republican U.S. Senators.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Arkansas at #3 (March 1885), Montana at #4 (March 1911), Rhode Island at #5 (January 1935), Massachusetts at #6 (January 1953), Michigan at #7 (January 1955), West Virginia at #9 (November 1958), and Connecticut and New Jersey tied for #10 (January 1959).

Two states that are currently represented by two Republicans in the U.S. Senate will lose that distinction in January when Democrat Joe Donnelly and Independent Angus King are seated from Indiana and Maine respectively.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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