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

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


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