Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Keeping Up with Erik Paulsen

Bookmark and Share

His words say 'no' but his campaign manager floats a 'maybe.' Does the three-term congressman still have one toe in Minnesota's 2014 Senate pool?

erikpaulsen10.jpgA tweet on Wednesday by the University of Minnesota's Larry Jacobs, Director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, highlights the ongoing saga and mystery as to whether 3rd CD U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen will vie for one-term DFLer Al Franken's U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

Conflicting campaign messaging surfaced in January about the 2014 plans of Paulsen, one of a small handful of well-known GOPers in Minnesota who could be competitive given the state's left-leaning electorate.

That episode resulted in a statement by Paulsen's office leaving open the possibility of a Franken challenge.

Fast-forward one month when today, at a Humphrey Policy Fellows event in Washington, D.C., Representative Paulsen twice stated he would not challenge Franken.

According to Dr. Jacobs, he asked Paulsen before the event if he was going to run against Franken, to which Paulsen laughed and said he was not.

Later, in a question and answer session, one of the three-dozen Humphrey Policy Fellows asked Paulsen about his 2014 Senate plans, to which he once again stated he would not run.

After Jacobs' tweet and the subsequent media coverage, Paulsen's campaign manager attempted to clarifiy the congressman's future plans:

"Representative Paulsen is solely focused on representing the Third District, but has not ruled anything out related to 2014."

That statement, in direct contradiction to what Representative Paulsen told the Humphrey Policy Fellows, did not sway Dr. Jacobs' assessment of what Paulsen will do in two years.

Jacobs told Smart Politics that he suspects Paulsen won't run for two reasons:

1) The risk of losing is too high. The congressman is a rising star in the Republican Party and, in Jacbos' assessment, has a real chance at a House leadership position down the road.

2) With the Ron Paul faction of the GOP now a significant force in the Gopher State, the moderate Paulsen would likely face a "brutal nomination battle" at best in any attempt to get on the Senate general election ballot.

If that is the case, and Paulsen one day officially and definitively bows out of the race and runs for what would likely be a safe fourth term from the 3rd CD, he would not be adding his name to what is a fairly short list of Minnesotans who served in the House and sought an upgrade to the nation's upper legislative chamber.

Since direct elections of U.S. Senators began in Minnesota 101 years ago, only seven ex- or sitting U.S. Representatives have won their party's nomination for a U.S. Senate seat across 38 election cycles:

1924: Republican Thomas Schall (5 terms: 1915-1923).
1930: Farmer Laborite Ernest Lundeen (1 term: 1917-1919).
1934: Democrat Einar Hoidale (1 term: 1933-1935).
1936: Republican Theodore Christianson (2 terms (1933-1937).
1936: Farmer Laborite Ernest Lundeen (3 terms: 1917-1919; 1933-1937).
1958: DFLer Eugene McCarthy (5 terms: 1949-1959).
1970: Republican Clark MacGregor (5 terms, 1961-1971).
2006: Republican Mark Kennedy (3 terms, 2001-2007).

Only three of these Representatives were successful and captured a Senate seat: Schall defeated Farmer-Laborite incumbent Magnus Johnson in 1924, Lundeen, on his second attempt, won an open seat in 1936, and McCarthy defeated Republican incumbent Edward Thye in 1958.

And so, Paulsen's probable hesitation to take the plunge - particularly with an incumbent on the ballot - is understandable considering only two House members have won their party's U.S. Senate nomination over the last 19 contests since 1960.

Both were Republicans. And both lost.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Duckworth, Castro Lead House Freshman Class in Early Media Buzz
Next post: America Held Hostage: The Political Rhetoric of Barack Obama

Leave a comment


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

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting