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U.S. Senate


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.

Will Kathleen Sebelius Seek a Rare Political Trifecta?

Sebelius could become the first woman to serve as governor, U.S. Senator, and cabinet head, and just the ninth individual to do so during the last 100+ years.

Will Montana Split Its Congressional Ballot Again in 2014?

Only two of 27 states have split their vote for U.S. Senate and at-large U.S. House seats in a majority of elections over the last century: Montana (78 percent of the time) and South Dakota (60 percent).

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.

Cornyn Records Weakest Ever Primary Win for Texas GOP US Senator

He may have cruised to a 40-point win, but the two-term Republican incumbent was still less than 10 points from a runoff while recording the worst ever primary performance by a Texas Republican Senator.

Do Montanans Care Where Their Senators Are Born?

Democrats are stirring the pot after statements by 2014 hopeful Steve Daines raise questions about the depth of his connections to the Treasure State.

Georgia's Republican US Senate Primary: A Race for the Ages?

The 2014 field has a record number of GOP U.S. Senate candidates in the Peach State; one out of four Georgia U.S. Senate races have resulted in run-offs since 1968.

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.

David Vitter Launches Historic Gubernatorial Bid in Louisiana

No U.S. Senator from Louisiana has appeared on a gubernatorial primary or general election ballot over the last 110 years.

How Often Do Special Elections Flip US Senate Seats?

The partisan hold of nearly one-third of U.S. Senate seats have flipped in special elections over the last 100 years.

Meet the 4 Senators Who Don't Use a Home State Address in FEC Filings

While four Senators file from addresses inside the beltway, one Midwesterner files from his hometown, population 373.

Landslides Ahead: Major Parties Still Lack 2014 US Senate Candidates in 8 States

It has been 96 years since the last time a major party did not field a candidate in eight or more U.S. Senate races.

Mitch McConnell: Not So Easy Target?

Only one of 14 U.S. Senate Minority Leaders in history have been defeated at the ballot box while no Senate party floor leader has ever lost when his party has netted seats in the chamber.

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.

Pressler's In: Can the Political Rip Van Winkle Win?

A Pressler victory in 2014 would give him the record for the longest gap in U.S. Senate service in the direct election era.

Advantage Walsh in Montana US Senate Race? Not So Fast

Appointed U.S. Senators who subsequently run for their seat have been elected only a shade above 50 percent of the time.

Steve Stockman's 12 Percent Solution

Only 4 of 31 Texas U.S. Senate candidacies by sitting or ex-U.S. Representatives have been successful in the direct election era.

Bob Smith and the 12-Year Itch

With a successful challenge of Jeanne Shaheen in 2014, Smith would tie Dan Coats' modern mark for the longest gap in U.S. Senate service in the direct election era.

Buyer's Remorse? Franken Loss Would Make History in Minnesota

Minnesotans have never flipped a U.S. Senate seat in back-to-back-to-back elections.

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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 Stasson 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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