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Tim Kaine: Another Minnesota Export?

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Two Minnesota-born U.S. Senators have been elected to seats outside of the Gopher State over the last two cycles

timkaine10.jpgAmy Klobuchar technically wasn't the only Minnesotan elected to the U.S. Senate last month.

At least, not the only Minnesota-born candidate.

For the second consecutive cycle, a Senate candidate born in Minnesota was elected to represent a state beyond the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

In 2010, that candidate was Wisconsin's Ron Johnson.

In 2012, it was former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

In January, Kaine (born in St. Paul, though raised in Kansas) will join Johnson (Mankato) and Klobuchar (Plymouth) as the three current Minnesota-born members of the nation's upper legislative chamber.

The newly elected junior Senator from Virginia is one of several Gopher State "exports," who found their way to the U.S. Senate from outside their birth state.

Over the last 100 years, a total of seven individuals who were born in Minnesota have been elected to U.S. Senate seats elsewhere.

Medford-born Republican Lynn Frazier did not spend his entire childhood in Minnesota - moving to the Dakota Territory when he was seven.

Shortly after serving four years as governor, Frazier was elected to the U.S. Senate from North Dakota in 1922 by 4.6 points over Democrat J.F.T. O'Connor.

Frazier was reelected by 60.3 points in 1928 and 18.0 points in 1934 before failing to win the GOP nomination in 1940.

Moorhead-born Democrat Warren Magnuson grew up in Minnesota before leaving for college in North Dakota in the early 1920s, and then traveled even further West - graduating from the University of Washington in 1926.

Magnuson won his first of six terms to the U.S. Senate from the Evergreen State in 1944 in an open seat race, though was appointed to the seat that December as outgoing incumbent Homer Bone resigned shortly after Election Day.

Magnuson was reelected in 1950, 1956, 1962, 1968, and 1974 before his defeat to Republican Slade Gorton in 1980 by 8.3 points with Ronald Reagan at the top of the ticket.

Duluth-born Republican Henry Dworkshak spent his youth and early adulthood in northeastern Minnesota, save for his service in World War I.

After moving to Idaho to continue his work in the newspaper business for several years, Dworkshak handily won a special election in 1946 by 17.1 points over George Donart after the death of Republican John Thomas.

Dworkshak then narrowly lost the 1948 election for the full term to Democrat Bert Miller by 1.5 points; however, he was appointed back to the seat less than a year later in October 1949 after Miller died.

Dworkshak then won another special election in 1950 (by 3.7 points) and was reelected in 1954 (by 25.7 points) and 1960 (by 4.5 points) before dying in office in 1962.

Minneapolis-born Democrat William Benton grew up in Minnesota before heading to Yale for school.

Benton served for just over two years in Connecticut's Class I seat after winning a special election in 1950 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Republican Raymond Baldwin.

Benton defeated Prescott Bush by just 1,102 votes, winning 49.2 to 49.1 percent.

He lost his reelection bid for a full term in 1952 with Republican William Purtell defeating Benton by 8.1 points.

Rochester-born Democrat John Culver - father of former Iowa Governor Chet Culver - was barely elected to the U.S. Senate in an open seat race during the Democrat tsunami of 1974, defeating Republican David Stanley by just 0.7 points.

Six years later Culver would be ousted in an 8.0-point win by current Iowa senior Senator Charles Grassley.

Mankato-born and University of Minnesota graduate Ron Johnson was a political newcomer when he burst on the scene as a Tea Party-backed candidate in 2010.

Johnson defeated three-term Democratic Senator Russ Feingold by 4.8-points that November and will be the state's senior senator once the 113th Congress convenes in January.

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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 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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