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Veterans Represented in Minnesota US House Delegation for 102 Straight Years

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Minnesota has elected at least one candidate with military service to the U.S. House since 1910

johnkline10.jpgAs the nation acknowledges and honors the service of its veterans on Monday while still engaged in conflicts overseas, the frequently documented general decline of the number of members of Congress who served in the military in recent years becomes more and more striking.

Minnesota's U.S. House delegation to the 113th Congress, however, continues to be well represented by those with a record of military service.

Despite the defeat of Republican freshman Chip Cravaack - a U.S. Naval Reservist - in the state's 8th CD in 2012, Minnesota still maintains a significant contingent of veterans in its U.S. House delegation.

DFLer Collin Peterson served in the North Dakota Army National Guard (1963-1969), Republican John Kline served in the Marine Corps (1969-1994), and DFLer Tim Walz served in the Nebraska and Minnesota National Guards (1981-2005).

The election of Peterson, Kline, and Walz in 2012 continues a Gopher State tradition that has now lasted over a century.

A Smart Politics review finds that the Gopher State has been represented by at least one veteran in the nation's lower legislative chamber for the last 102 years and 52 Congresses dating back to the 62nd Congress in 1911.

During the Election of 1910, Republican Sydney Anderson was elected to the state's 1st Congressional District, ending a three-cycle drought without any veterans in Minnesota's U.S. House delegation.

Anderson served as a private in Company D of the Fourteenth Regiment in Minnesota's Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War.

During the Elections of 1896 through 1908, only one of the 57 U.S. House seats on the ballot was won by a veteran: former governor and Republican-turned- Democrat John Lind - elected to the state's 5th CD in 1906 - also served in the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War.

The only other period in which no U.S. Representatives with military service were elected to the House from Minnesota took place from statehood in 1858 through the Election of 1866 (12 seats collectively).

Since the 20th Century, the cycle with the largest percentage of veterans elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota occurred in 1946 when veterans won seven of the state's nine seats (77.8 percent): Democrat John Blatnik and Republicans Herman Anderson, August Andresen, Edward Devitt, Walter Judd, George MacKinnon, and Joseph O'Hara.

At least 60 percent of state's U.S. House seats were won by veterans from 1948 through the Election of 1974.

For three cycles during the state's early years, 100 percent of its delegation was comprised of veterans: after the elections of 1870 (Republicans Mark Dunnell and John Averill), 1872 (Republicans Dunnell, Averill, and Horace Strait), and 1876 (Republicans Dunnell, Strait, and Jacob Stewart).

Minnesota has sent former military personnel to Congress with experience dating all the way back to the U.S.-Mexican War.

Democrat Edmund Rice - elected to the state's 4th CD in 1886 - served in the Mexican War in 1847 in the First Regiment of the Michigan Volunteers.

Another 13 U.S. Representatives from Minnesota previously served in the Civil War including:

· Four from the Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry: Republicans Knute Nelson and Darwin Hall, Democrat Melvin Baldwin, and Democrat-Farmer's Alliance candidate William Harries.
· One from the Wisconsin Heavy Artillery Regiment: Farmers Alliance Prohibition candidate Kittel Halvorson.
· One from the Maine Volunteer Infantry: Republican Mark Dunnell.
· One from the Ohio Volunteer Infantry: Republican Samuel Snider.
· Three from the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry: Republicans John Averill, Horace Strait, and Andrew Kiefer.
· One from the Minnesota Mountain Rangers: Democrat Eugene Nelson.
· Union Army members Republican Jacob Stewart and Democrat John MacDonald.

In between wars, one future member of Minnesota's U.S. House delegation saw military service - Republican William Nolan was a member of the Minnesota National Guard from 1891-1896.

At the close of the century, another six future U.S. House members from the Gopher State served in the Spanish-American War - all from the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry: Republicans Carl Van Dyke, Franklin Ellsworth, Sydney Anderson, Conrad Selvig, Ernest Lundeen, and Democrat John Lind.

(Note: Lind previously served in Congress as a Republican prior to his military service; Lundeen later served as a Farmer-Laborite).

About twenty years later, several soon to be U.S. Representatives from Minnesota served their country in the First World War:

· Seven joined the U.S. Army: Republicans Allen Furlow, Victor Christgau, Walter Judd, and John Alexander, Farmer-Laborites John Bernard and Paul Kvale, and DFLer Roy Wier.
· One served in the U.S. Navy: Republican Oscar Youngdahl.
· One served in the U.S Marines: Republican Melvin Maas.
· One served in the Officers' Reserve Corps: Republican Joseph O'Hara

GOPer H. Carl Andersen was a graduate of the Naval Academy during this period and served briefly in the U.S. Navy until his ears were injured by a gun blast while aboard the battleship "Wyoming" in 1917, ending his service.

Republican August Andresen was a member of the Minnesota Home Guard from 1918-1919.

One generation later, another seven future Minnesota U.S. Representatives served their country in World War II:

· Four served in the U.S. Navy: Republicans Edward Devitt, George MacKinnon, and Al Quie and DFLer Don Fraser.
· Two served in the U.S. Army: Republican Clark MacGregor and DFLer Joseph Karth.
· One served in the U.S. Army Air Corps: DFLer John Blatnik.

One Minnesota U.S. Representative, Democrat Elmer Ryan, served in World War II after his congressional tenure (1935-1940) - joining the U.S. Army in 1942.

Over the last 50 to 60 years, eight future Minnesota U.S. House members had military service on their resumes including Republican Bill Frenzel in the Korean War with the Naval Reserve and Republicans Arlen Erdahl in the U.S. Army (1954-1956) and Tom Hagedorn in the U.S. Navy (1961).

Former Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad also served for seven years in the U.S. Army Reserves (1968-1975).

Overall, nearly 40 percent of Minnesota's Republican U.S. House members have had some form of military service (33 of 83 members, 39.8 percent), compared to 31.6 percent of Democrats and DFLers (12 of 38 representatives).

Only 18.2 percent of the state's Farmer-Laborite U.S. Representatives had military experience (2 of 11).

Veterans Elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota by Cycle

Cycle
U.S. Representatives
#
Seats
%
2012
Walz, Kline, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2010
Cravaack, Walz, Kline, Peterson
4
8
50.0
2008
Walz, Kline, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2006
Walz, Kline, Ramstad, Peterson
4
8
50.0
2004
Kline, Ramstad, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2002
Kline, Ramstad, Peterson
3
8
37.5
2000
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1998
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1996
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1994
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1992
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1990
Ramstad, Peterson
2
8
25.0
1988
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1986
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1984
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1982
Frenzel
1
8
12.5
1980
Erdahl, Hagedorn, Frenzel
3
8
37.5
1978
Erdahl, Hagedorn, Frenzel
3
8
37.5
1976
Quie, Hagedorn, Frenzel, Fraser
4
8
50.0
1974
Quie, Hagedorn, Frenzel, Karth, Fraser
5
8
62.5
1972
Quie, Frenzel, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1970
Quie, Frenzel, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1968
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1966
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1964
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1962
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Fraser, Blatnik
5
8
62.5
1960
Quie, MacGregor, Karth, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1958
Quie, Wier, Karth, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1956
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1954
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1952
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1950
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1948
Andresen, O'Hara, Wier, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
6
9
66.7
1946
Andresen, O'Hara, MacKinnon, Devitt, Judd, Andersen, Blatnik
7
9
77.8
1944
Andresen, O'Hara, Judd, Andersen
4
9
44.4
1942
Andresen, O'Hara, Maas, Judd, Andersen
5
9
55.6
1940
Andresen, O'Hara, Maas, Youngdahl, Andersen
5
9
55.6
1938
Andresen, Alexander, Maas, Youngdahl, Andersen
5
9
55.6
1936
Andresen, Maas, P. Kvale, Bernard
4
9
44.4
1934
Andresen, Lundeen, Maas, P. Kvale
4
9
44.4
1932
P. Kvale, Lundeen
2
9
22.2
1930
Christgau, Andresen, Maas, Nolan, P. Kvale, Selvig
6
10
60.0
1928
Christgau, Andresen, Maas, Selvig
4
10
40.0
1926
Furlow, Andresen, Maas, Selvig
4
10
40.0
1924
Furlow, Andresen
2
10
20.0
1922
S. Anderson
1
10
10.0
1920
S. Anderson
1
10
10.0
1918
S. Anderson, Ellsworth, Van Dyke
3
10
30.0
1916
S. Anderson, Ellsworth, Van Dyke, Lundeen
4
10
40.0
1914
S. Anderson, Ellsworth, Van Dyke
3
10
30.0
1912
S. Anderson
1
10
10.0
1910
S. Anderson
1
9
11.1
1908
(none)
0
9
0.0
1906
(none)
0
9
0.0
1904
(none)
0
9
0.0
1902
Lind
1
9
11.1
1900
(none)
0
7
0.0
1898
(none)
0
7
0.0
1896
(none)
0
7
0.0
1894
Kiefer
1
7
14.3
1892
Kiefer, Baldwin
2
7
28.6
1890
Harries, Halvorson
2
5
40.0
1888
Dunnell, D. Hall, Snider
3
5
60.0
1886
MacDonald, Rice, Nelson
3
5
60.0
1884
Strait, Nelson
2
5
40.0
1882
Strait, Nelson
2
5
40.0
1880
Dunnell, Strait
2
3
66.7
1878
Dunnell
1
3
33.3
1876
Dunnell, Strait, Stewart
3
3
100.0
1874
Dunnell, Strait
2
3
66.7
1872
Dunnell, Strait, Averill
3
3
100.0
1870
Dunnell, Averill
2
2
100.0
1868
E. Wilson
1
2
50.0
1866
(none)
0
2
0.0
1864
(none)
0
2
0.0
1862
(none)
0
2
0.0
1860
(none)
0
2
0.0
1859
(none)
0
2
0.0
1857
(none)
0
2
0.0
Table compiled by Smart Politics with data compiled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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