Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Jim Abeler: Leading Off the Senate Roll Call Vote in 2015?

Bookmark and Share

Only three U.S. Senators in history had a name earlier in the alphabet than the budding 2014 Republican Senate candidate; no Minnesotan has ever topped the chamber's roll call list

jimabeler10.jpgMinnesota's 2014 U.S. Senate race got a little more interesting on Tuesday.

Eight-term Republican State Representative Jim Abeler of Anoka announced he was launching a start-up committee to challenge DFL incumbent Al Franken and became the second GOPer in the race along with businessman Mike McFadden.

Abeler may not have been on the short-lists of expected 2014 candidates to come out of the Minnesota legislature, but his center-right credentials and demonstrated ability to work with the other side of the aisle could make him an attractive statewide candidate in a light blue state.

Abeler did not shy away from his independent track record and history of bipartisanship in his press release Tuesday which included passages such as:

"Congress and the President spend too much time and effort on divisive partisan squabbles that accomplish nothing. The issues confronting us have already crossed party lines."

"I think outside the box, consider all sides of an issue, and then make a reasoned, thoughtful decision."

"In 2011, I led a strong, bipartisan effort to reform Minnesota's health and human services programs."

"During his 15-year tenure in the state legislature, Abeler has been recognized as one who works well with people and has become known as a problem solver. He has exerted his leadership over those years trying to improve the tone of the legislative process."

But the big question is how the Republican endorsement process (and potential primary) will shake out given Abeler's occasional bipartisan work and voting history (e.g. his controversial override of Governor Tim Pawlenty's 2008 gas tax increase veto) as well as his endorsement of Ron Paul for president in 2012 (Paulites have become significant players in the state GOP).

If Representative Abeler is able to secure the nomination and defeat Al Franken, a rarity in Minnesota history will occur as he would likely sit at the top of the Senate roll call vote come January 2015 - a first for the Gopher State.

Only three of the 1,947 U.S. Senators to serve in the nation's upper legislative chamber brought with them a surname that came alphabetically before Jim Abeler's.

At the very top of this all-time Senate alphabetical list is North Carolina Republican Joseph Abbott, who served after the admission of the Tar Heel State to the Union in July 1868 to March 1871.

Prior to his election to the Senate, Abbott had worked as a newspaper man, lawyer, and brigadier general in the Union Army during the Civil War.

In second comes the recently deceased James Abdnor of South Dakota.

The Republican served as lieutenant governor and then four terms in the U.S. House before defeating three-term Senate Democrat George McGovern in 1980.

Abdnor served one term in the chamber and then lost to Tom Daschle during his 1986 reelection bid. He passed away in May 2012 at the age of 89.

Directly above Abeler in third place on the U.S. Senate alphabetical list is Republican Hazel Abel of Nebraska.

Abel served for 54 days in 1954 after winning a special election caused by the death of Republican Dwight Griswold. She was not a candidate for the full term.

As for Minnesota, the Gopher State has previously sent only one Senator with an "A" surname to the chamber in state history - or rather, he sent himself.

DFL Governor Wendell Anderson appointed himself to the vacancy in December 1976 caused by the death of Hubert Humphrey.

Anderson lost his bid for a second term to Rudy Boschwitz in 1978.

No Minnesotan has ever topped the Senate's alphabetical roll call list.

When Anderson served at the tail end of the 94th Congress, Democrats James Abourezek of South Dakota and James Allen of Alabama preceded him on the list.

In the 95th Congress, Abourezek, Allen, and then Allen's widow Maryann Pittman Allen came before Anderson.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: The 40 Percent Floor
Next post: To Serve or Represent? Website Taglines of US Representatives

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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