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How Many Republicans Will Run for Minnesota's 6th CD in 2014?

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Less than 5 percent of the 208 Minnesota Republican U.S. House primaries over the last 50 years have fielded three or more candidates on the ballot (and only 7 percent of races without a GOP incumbent)

johnpederson10.jpgThe addition of Republican State Senator John Pederson to the Republican field to replace Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District now makes three candidates who have entered the race during the three weeks since the four-term Congresswoman announced her retirement at the end of the term.

Pederson's announcement that he was exploring a congressional bid follows those made by former State Representative and 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah.

With more candidates potentially poised to enter the field in the coming months, one wonders if the Republican 6th CD primary will end up being a congested free-for-all come August 2014.

Not likely.

Some candidates may drop out even before the party endorsement is handed out in the 6th CD next year as winners and losers emerge in the competitive fundraising battle.

Others will likely abide by the endorsement process and subsequently drop out after the endorsed candidate is selected. (Emmer has already made that pledge; Sivarajah has made no such commitment).

In fact, very few Republican primary contests in the last half-century have featured more than two candidates.

A Smart Politics review of the last 208 Republican U.S. House primary races conducted since 1962 finds that four candidates appeared on the ballot only twice and three candidates just eight times.

Nine of these primaries were races held in districts, like the 6th CD in 2014, without a Republican incumbent on the ballot, but the victor captured a win in the general election only two times.

· 1974, 8th CD (4 candidates): Primary won by Jerome Arnold, lost general.
· 1978, 1st CD (4 candidates): Arlen Erdahl, won general.
· 1980, 5th CD (3 candidates): John Doherty, lost general.
· 1984, 4th CD (3 candidates): Mary Jane Rachner, lost general.
· 1988, 1st CD (3 candidates): Curt Schrimpf, lost general.
· 1992, 1st CD (3 candidates): Timothy Droogsma, lost general.
· 1992, 4th CD (3 candidates): Ian Maitland, lost general.
· 1994, 1st CD (3 candidates): Gil Gutknecht, won general.
· 1994, 6th CD (3 candidates): Tad Jude, lost general.

The 10th primary with three or more candidates during this 50-year span was last year's 6th CD contest with incumbent Michele Bachmann.

Over these last 50 years, the Republican Party has fielded an average of 1.3 candidates per district during the primaries.

In the 127 primaries without a Republican incumbent on the ballot during this span the GOP has fielded an average of 1.4 candidates per district.

In the 81 primaries with an incumbent on the ballot Republicans have fielded an average of 1.2 candidates per district.

This dearth of competition in GOP congressional primaries from 1962 to 2012 lies in stark contrast to the previous 20 years.

During the 99 primaries from 1940 through 1960, Republicans averaged 2.1 candidates on the primary ballot.

Across these 11 cycles there were 25 GOP congressional primaries with at least three candidates on the ballot including the high water marks of:

· Nine candidates in the 9th CD race of 1940.
· Eight candidates in the 3rd CD race of 1944.
· Seven candidates in the 3rd CD race of 1956.
· Five candidates in the 9th CD race of 1942.
· Five candidates in the 3rd CD race of 1950.

The battered Republican primary winner emerged from each of these five contests only to lose the general election.

However, with 2012 6th CD DFL nominee Jim Graves abandoning his 2014 campaign shortly after Bachmann's retirement announcement at the end of May, Democrats have little hope of winning the Republican-tilted district, even if the GOP undergoes a bruising primary battle along the way.

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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