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November 30, 2015

Posts in "Minnesota"

October 13, 2015

Ratings Change in Two Minnesota House Districts

Mills as he appeared in 2014. (File Photo by Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

Mills narrowly lost to Nolan in 2014. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wealthy GOP businessman Stewart Mills officially announced his challenge to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan, setting up a rematch of their close race last cycle. In 2014, Nolan won 49 percent to 47 percent in an expensive contest.

Nolan should benefit from presidential turnout in a district that President Barack Obama carried with 52 percent in 2012 and 53 percent in 2008. But Mills should be taken seriously if he spends more of his personal money, runs a better campaign, and gets more support from national Republicans — or some combination of all three factors.

Full story

September 11, 2015

More House Retirements Likely to Come


Minnesota’s Kline is the sixth House member to announce his retirement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After spending five weeks at home in their districts with their families, how many members got homesick and are set to retire?

If history is a guide, at least a handful or more House members will announce their departure in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Full story

July 17, 2015

Less Hair Could Mean More Votes in Minnesota


After losing in 2002, Davis shaved his mustache and won in 2004

It’s no secret that hair was the source of Samson’s strength. But unlike the Old Testament Nazirite, one potential congressional challenger is hoping less could mean more at the ballot box.

Republican Stewart Mills might have the most talked about hair in politics, second only to Donald Trump. Last cycle, Mills challenged Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District. But the race received national attention after I included a blind quote from a local DFL source who said the Republican had “Brad Pitt kind of appeal” to help describe his potential physical draw to some voters.

Full story

May 5, 2015

Senate Races, Pro Salaries and Perspective on Spending

Reid, pictured here with fellow Las Vegas native Bryce Harper, has railed against the influence of money in politics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid, pictured here with fellow Las Vegas native and Washington National Bryce Harper, has railed against the influence of money in politics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Complaining about campaign spending is a time-honored tradition, along with the Kentucky Derby and Major League Baseball. But a closer look reveals the dollars spent on controlling government pales in comparison to spending in other areas of life. Full story

November 10, 2014

Review: 6 Races Both Parties Viewed Completely Differently

Collin C. Peterson

Peterson will continue to represent Minnesota’s 7th District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A month ago, I wrote about “6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently.” These were a half-dozen contests where strategists generally disagreed on the shape and trajectory of the race.

Instead of averaging out the differing opinions and declaring the races too close to call, it was more likely that one party would be very right and the other very wrong. Now, with results in hand, we can see who had the better analysis. Unfortunately, the parties split the races on Election Night.

Democrats were victorious in three races. Full story

October 24, 2014

Ratings Changes in Seven House Races, All Toward GOP

Steve Southerland

Gibson looks an even safer bet in New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, we’re changing the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings in seven House races.

You can read more explanation in the Oct. 24 update for Rothenberg Political Report subscribers ($).

Here are the races:

Full story

October 8, 2014

6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently

Mary Landrieu

Peterson was targeted from the beginning. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Democratic and Republican operatives have their own analysis on each race, they often agree on how close a race is and which candidate has the edge.

Sometimes, however, they have wildly different views on where races stand.

In California’s 52nd and Florida’s 2nd, for example, both parties agree the race is close and they have resigned themselves to slogging it out until the end with expensive television ad campaigns. In West Virginia’s 3rd District, the parties disagreed for months which candidate is better-positioned to win — and now they agree Rep. Nick J. Rahall II’s re-election will be a close contest.

But when the parties disagree, their views can be fundamentally different. In at least six contests this cycle, party operatives disagree on where the races stand and where they are headed.

Here is a look at a half-dozen seats where strategists aren’t on the same page — and sometimes seem to be reading out of totally different books. Full story

September 23, 2014

Fight for Senate Control Down to Five States

With six weeks to go, the fight for control of the Senate is down to five states, four of them currently held by Democrats.

Republicans must win only two of those contests to guarantee the 51 seats they need to control the Senate for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. And they need to win only one of the Democratic states if they hold the only GOP seat at serious risk.

While things could still change — and national polls continue to show an environment that may produce a substantial GOP wave in the House and Senate — the Senate battle has boiled down to two reliably red states and three swing states.

Full story

August 22, 2014

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Midwest

Rick Nolan

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Midwest continues to be the land of competitive House races.

The open-seat Senate race in Michigan and Republicans’ challenge to Sen. Al Franken continue to be third-tier GOP opportunities. But a quartet of House races provide a glimpse into the broader political landscape in 2014.

A couple of races dropped off the regional top five watch list since last summer. Democrat Mike Obermueller’s second race against GOP Rep. John Kline just isn’t coming together in Minnesota’s 2nd District. And Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski starts the general-election sprint in surprisingly solid position against Democrat Joe Bock.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Midwest this fall: Full story

July 14, 2014

Minnesota Senate: Still Very Unlikely, But Not Impossible

Franken remains favored for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Franken remains favored for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We are moving the Minnesota Senate race from Safe Democrat to Democrat Favored, but readers should not make too much of the changed rating.

The change reflects the broad national environment and Minnesota’s generally competitive nature. A national anti-President Barack Obama wave certainly could threaten incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken, and Franken’s 2008 victory — in a good political environment for Democrats — was razor-close.

The new rating says little about Republican challenger Mike McFadden’s candidacy, other than the fact that the wealthy businessman appears to have considerable personal resources that he can sink into the race if he wishes.

McFadden continues to run cutesy videos (and now a TV ad) that focus on his coaching to introduce himself to voters, while Franken raises money and generally acts as if he has no opponent. Instead, the freshman Democrat has run TV spots focusing on issues and his performance in D.C.

Franken showed  $5 million in the bank at the end of June, while McFadden had about $2 million. But the Republican had not put in personal money at that point.

Polling in the race is spotty and not particularly helpful for McFadden. Franken almost certainly starts with a very comfortable lead.

At this point, I see little reason to believe that McFadden will beat Franken — and I’m skeptical about the prediction made by anonymous observers in a July 7 Roll Call piece that the contest is likely to be “a 2-point race by Labor Day.”  (The race will close, of course, as McFadden spends money.)

But it’s also true that, based entirely on fundamentals, McFadden’s long-shot prospects seem closer to Ed Gillespie’s in Virginia and Scott Brown’s in New Hampshire than to GOP chances in Illinois against Richard J. Durbin or in New Jersey against Cory Booker (both of which we have as Safe for Democrats).

For that reason, and for only that reason, we are moving Minnesota to Democrat Favored.

July 11, 2014

Imperfect People Get Elected to the Senate

Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Warren is a Democrat from Massachusetts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the heat of the campaign, it can be easy to disqualify or dismiss candidates based on unsettling, or sometimes unseemly, revelations. But all you have to do is look at the current lineup of senators to realize that imperfect people win elections.

Connecticut is a great place to start.

In 2010, The New York Times pointed out inconsistencies between Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s rhetoric and his military service during the Vietnam era. It became a major issue in the campaign, but Blumenthal prevailed, 55 percent to 43 percent, over former wrestling executive Linda McMahon. Full story

July 1, 2014

Senate GOP Bets on Jeff Larson to Help Ride to Majority in 2014

Senate 2014

Jeff Larson is the executive director of the NRSC’s independent expenditures in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One of the times Jeff Larson offered to help the Republican Party, he ended up with a $130,000 credit card bill for Sarah Palin’s wardrobe.

This year, Larson will be writing the checks for the Republican effort to retake the majority in the Senate.

Larson, who has been chosen to be the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Independent Expenditure operation this cycle, has nearly three decades of experience helping Republicans get elected to office, from volunteering for his hometown mayor in Grand Forks, N.D., to being part of the largest telemarketing firm on the Republican side.

But Larson certainly isn’t a creature of the Beltway. Full story

April 18, 2014

8 House Race Ratings Changes Boost GOP, Democrats

Dold is waging a comeback bid in Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dold is waging a comeback bid in Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This week Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call made ratings changes in eight congressional districts and confirmed our rating in a ninth — Wisconsin’s 6th District — after GOP Rep. Tom Petri announced his retirement.

Here is a link to the Ratings map and a quick rundown of the moves we made, with links to the corresponding analysis. Full story

April 15, 2014

Ratings Change: Minnesota’s 2nd District

Kline is less politically vulnerable than anticipated earlier this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kline is a Republican from Minnesota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., was re-elected in 2012 with less than 55 percent in a district that Barack Obama won twice, making him an initial Democratic target.

But it’s safe to say that the race in Minnesota’s 2nd District hasn’t developed as quickly as some Democratic strategists would have liked. Full story

January 23, 2014

Ratings Change: Minnesota’s 7th District

Collin C. Peterson’s friends aren’t doing him any favors. When Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., announced their retirements, it put two vulnerable Democratic seats into the GOP column. It also gives Republicans more time to focus on the DFL congressman from Minnesota.

The question is whether GOP pressure is discouraging Peterson or inspiring him to run again.

Full story

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