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National Politics


Which 1-Term US Senator Will Fall in 2014?

First-term Senators account for more than half of all defeated incumbents over the last century; at least one 1-term U.S. Senator has lost reelection in all but four of the 50 election cycles in the direct election era.

Which States Are Bellwethers for Partisan Control of the US Senate?

Two states - Rhode Island and Nevada - have elected U.S. Senators into the majority party of the subsequent Congress 75+ percent of the time over the last 100 years; Virginia has done so in each of the last six elections.

West Virginia, Utah Eye All-GOP US House Delegations in 2014

It has been more than 90 years since the last time Republicans had a monopoly on every U.S. House seat in the Mountain State.

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Will 2016 GOP Convention Boost Nominee in Host City's State?

Republican presidential nominees have averaged a 1-point decline in the convention host state's adjusted margin of victory (or loss) vis-à-vis the national vote compared to the previous election cycle since the first televised convention in 1940.

12 Retiring, Ex-, or Deceased Congressmen with Active Campaign Websites

One announced his retirement last September. Another died in October. One resigned last week. A dozen members of Congress that aren't running for reelection still have active campaign websites - that accept financial donations.

Do Losing Presidential Candidates "Step Aside?"

Mitt Romney told America this weekend that he would not run for president a third time in 2016; was his rationale persuasive?

Presidents' Day Special: Post-Administration Presidential and Veep Longevity

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale have lived 30 percent longer than any other presidential and vice-presidential pairing since the end of their joint political service nearly 12,100 days.

Obama Backs Holder's Stand to Let Felons Vote

"It is very important for us, if somebody has served their time, for them to be able to participate in their democracy." - Barack Obama, August 15, 2011

The Vanishing Center: Exiting US Representatives

More than half of the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2014 are within 10 points of the ideological center of the chamber according to National Journal's new vote ratings, compared to just one of 14 members running for higher office.

Eric Holder at 5: Eying #3 All-Time AG Service Mark in 2014

With Holder currently in fifth place for attorney general service, by December only William Wirt and Janet Reno will have recorded longer tenures in U.S. history.

Obama's America: State References in SOTU Addresses

When searching for episodic examples to bolster his policies in SOTU addresses, the president turns to the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio more than any other.

A State-by-State Historical Snapshot of Michelle Obama's SOTU Guest Lists

Arizona is just the 15th most populous state, but 13 of its residents have been guests of the First Lady during President Obama's first five addresses - highest in the nation.

A Brief History of Republican SOTU Responses

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the fifth woman from the GOP to deliver a televised opposition response and the second youngest member overall in a congressional leadership position to do so.

Who Remembered MLK? (US House Edition)

Democratic U.S. Representatives honored Dr. King via press releases at more than three times the rate of Republicans over the holiday weekend

Long Live Our U.S. Senators

Two fewer U.S. Senators are dying in office per year on average over the past half-century than during the previous 60 years.

A Year in Smart Politics

A look back at which political institutions were covered the most at Smart Politics in 2013.

10 Quotes by President Obama about Nelson Mandela

The 44th president quoted or referred to the South African leader an average of once every 88 days in office before his death.

Pollsters Ignoring Rick Perry's 2016 'Campaign'

Only two of 13 GOP 2016 primary polls conducted since April have included the Texas governor's name.

Running from the Flag? Old Glory Symbolism Waning on US House Campaign Websites

Republicans incorporate the American flag on their 2014 campaign websites at a 45 percent higher rate than Democrats, but the presence of Old Glory is down 39 percent overall from the 2010 cycle.

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Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stassen in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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