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National Politics


Slam Dunk: Will 36 Record Presidential Winning Streaks Continue in 2016?

Three-dozen states are currently in the midst of their longest Democratic or Republican presidential winning streaks.

Presidents' Day Special: It's A Good Time to Be An Ex-President

The nation has had four living ex-presidents for the last six-plus years for just the second time in history; the current gap of eight-plus years in presidential deaths is the ninth longest on record.

Which States Are Likely to Split Their Presidential-US Senate Vote in 2016?

States have split their ballot only 29 percent of the time in presidential and U.S. Senate elections over the last century; 6% in NC, 11% in WI and 16% in IL (key 2016 battlegrounds).

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Mitt Romney's Rocky Historical Pathway to the Presidency

Only a handful of failed presidential nominees ran again and won the presidency - all in their second bid.

Home Sweet Home: How Many US Senators Serve Their Birth State?

Over the last 100 years, more U.S. Senators were born in Ohio than any other state; over 96 percent of Ohio U.S. Senators were born in the Buckeye State.

A Year in Smart Politics

A look back at some of the reports that made headlines from Smart Politics in 2014.

The Short Half-Life of a First-Term US Senator

Three fell in 2014 and more than half of all defeated U.S. Senators over the last 100 years have been in their first term; at least one first-term incumbent has lost reelection in 47 of the 51 election cycles during the direct election era.

Did Jeb Bush Wait Too Long to Run for President?

It has been 150+ years since the last time there was a 14-year gap between a presidential candidate's last legislative or executive office electoral victory and a successful White House campaign.

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.

Two Female US Senators Lose Seats in 2014 for First Time in History

Despite losses by Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan this cycle, female U.S. Senators have been reelected to the chamber at nearly the same rate (84 percent) as males (87 percent) over the last quarter-century.

Senate Will Have Historic Number of Ex-US Reps in 114th Congress

With a Cassidy victory in Louisiana, the 114th Congress will convene with more U.S. Senators who previously served in the U.S. House than in any Congress dating back to at least 1899.

The Day After: How the Dow Jones 'Reacts' to Election Day Results

Gains in the stock market last Wednesday after the GOP wave were only slightly above the historical average; the biggest day-after drops in the market have occurred after the election of Democratic presidents.

Rock Bottom: Democrats Hit Multiple Low Water Marks in US Senate Elections

Ten of the 34 states with U.S. Senate races in 2014 found the Democratic Party endure one of its three worst performances in the direct election era.

Senators Greg, Bruce, and Michelle? The Names They Are a-Changin'

The Senate will likely add another James, Mike, and Steve to its ranks after the 2014 election, but could also welcome new Senators with names never previously seen among its membership.

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.

No Wiggle Room: The 2014 Gubernatorial Elections Are Lousy with Toss-ups

The eight tightest gubernatorial races in the country all involve incumbents and the 2014 cycle could yield the most gubernatorial races decided by less than a point since at least 1900.

The Revolution Continues: 3rd Party and Independent US Senate Candidacies in 2 Charts

The rate of third party and independent U.S. Senate candidacies over the last two decades has increased 60+ percent compared to the first 75 years of the direct election era; 2014 may make the biggest splash yet.

Blowout: More Than 1 in 6 US House Races Have Just One Major Party Nominee

Regional differences are stark: major parties were unable to recruit candidates in 27 percent of Southern contests compared to just one percent in the Midwest.

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

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Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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