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Missouri Democratic US House Pick-Up Drought Extends to 47

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Democrats have lost each of the last 47 Missouri U.S. House contests in Republican controlled districts dating back to 1994 - its second worst streak in the nation

jasonsmith10.jpgRepublican Jason Smith's victory over Democrat Steve Hodges and two third party candidates in Missouri's 8th Congressional District special election Tuesday may not have turned many heads, but the contest highlights a continuing, troubling pattern for the Democratic Party in the Show-Me State.

Smith defeated Hodges by approximately 40 points on Tuesday in a seat that has been held by Republicans since 1981.

(Note: For a few days at the beginning of the 105th Congress in 1997 GOPer Jo Ann Emerson held the seat as an independent - simultaneously winning the November 1996 general election as an independent and special election as a Republican).

The special election, held due to the resignation of 10-term U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson in late January, is the 47th consecutive contest in which Missouri Democrats failed to pick up a Republican-held seat.

That is good for the second longest stretch in the nation - behind only South Carolina where the Democratic pick-up drought extended to 48 with the election of Mark Sanford in its 1st CD special election in early May.

Rounding out the Top 10 longest Democratic pick-up drought streaks in the nation are Nebraska at #3 (33 straight contests), Georgia at #4 (30), Oklahoma at #5 (25), Tennessee at #6 (23), Washington at #7 (22), Alaska at #8 (20), Ohio at #9 (19), and Wyoming at #10 (18).

The last Missouri Democrat to pick off a Republican incumbent or win an open GOP seat was Pat Danner in 1992.

Danner knocked off nine-term incumbent Earl Coleman by 10.9 points with Bill Clinton also winning by double-digits at the top of the ticket statewide.

Since 1994, Democrats have failed in every race each cycle - and now in two special elections - to capture seats held by the Republican Party.

In the meantime, Republicans have recorded three pick-ups over the last 19 years to boost their delegation advantage over the Democrats to 6-2 in the state:

· In 1994, MO-09: Kenny Hulshof defeated 10-term Democratic incumbent Harold Volkmer by 2.4 points.

· In 2000, MO-06: Sam Graves defeated Steve Danner by 4.1 points in the open seat race.

· In 2010, MO-04: Vicky Hartzler defeated 17-term incumbent Ike Skelton by 5.3 points in one of the biggest victories for the GOP during that cycle's tsunami.

Even worse, the Democratic Party has been woefully uncompetitive in nearly every single one of these races in which they are facing Republican incumbents or open GOP seats.

The average victory margin by Republicans across these 47 races in which they've held serve has been a formidable 33.7 points.

Democrats have managed to come within 20 points of victory in only four of these 47 contests and in single digits only once.

In 2008's open 9th CD race, Blake Luetkemeyer edged Democrat Judy Baker by 2.5 points. Two years later, the Democratic Party couldn't even field a candidate in the race.

And while the special election Tuesday may not have been particularly competitive or interesting for political observers, there is this fun fact: Jason Smith is the 115th "Smith" to serve as a U.S. Representative since 1789.

He is the second 'Smith' to serve from the Missouri U.S. House delegation, along with Democrat Madison Smith (1907-1909).

Jason Smith will serve alongside four other Smiths in the chamber: nine-term Democrat Adam Smith of Washington's 9th CD, four-term Republican Adrian Smith of Nebraska's 3rd CD, 17-term Chris Smith of New Jersey's 4th CD, and 14-term Lamar Smith of Texas' 21st CD.

Democratic U.S. House Pick-Up Droughts by State

Rank
State
Last pick up
Drought since
# Contests
1
South Carolina
1986
1988
48
2
Missouri
1992
1994
47
3
Nebraska
1988
1990
33
4
Georgia
2004
2006
30
5
Oklahoma
2000
2002
25
6
Tennessee
2002
2004
23
7
Washington
2000
2002
22
8
Alaska
1970
1974
20
9
Ohio
2008
2010
19
10
Wyoming
1970
1980
18
11
Pennsylvania
2008
2010
17
12
Indiana
2006
2008
15
12
Montana*
1974
1978-1990; 1998
15
14
Virginia
2008
2010
13
14
Kentucky
2006
2008
13
16
Utah
2000
2002
12
17
Alabama
2008
2010
11
17
New Jersey
2008
2010
11
17
North Carolina
2008
2010
11
17
Wisconsin
2006
2008
11
21
Kansas
2006
2008
9
21
Arkansas
2000
2002
9
23
Oregon
1996
1998
8
24
West Virginia
1982
2002
7
24
Arizona
2008
2010
7
26
Colorado
2008
2010
6
27
Louisiana
2010
2012
5
27
Mississippi
2008
2008
5
27
Iowa
2006
2008
5
30
Nevada
2008
2010
4
31
Idaho
2008
2010
3
32
New Mexico
2008
2012
1
32
South Dakota
2004
2012
1
32
North Dakota
1980
2012
1
* Montana Democrats failed to pick up GOP-held seats in the state's 2nd CD seat from 1978 through 1990 and then, after reapportionment left the state with one at-large seat, from 1998 onwards. Excludes newly created seats due to reapportionment as well as interparty incumbent-on-incumbent matchups after redistricting. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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