Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of all the Upper Midwestern U.S. Senate and U.S. House races leading up to the November 4th elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics’ official projections. The seventeenth profile in the series is Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District race.

Candidates:
DFL: Tim Walz (1-term incumbent)
Republican: Brian J. Davis
Independence: Gregory Mikkelson

District Geography:
Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District comprises counties in the southern rim of the state: Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Jackson, Martin, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmstead, Pipestone, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, and Winona.

History:
Tim Walz’s 5.6-point victory over six-term Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht was one of the biggest U.S. House upsets across the country in 2006 (note: though predicted by Smart Politics). Gutknecht had won his three previous election campaigns by an average of 21.9 points. With the exception of moderate Democrat Tim Penny’s 6-term service from 1984-1992, the GOP had won every 1st District contest from 1892 through 2004.

Walz, an Army National Guard and Iraq War veteran and former teacher, serves on the Committee on Agriculture, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Brian Davis, a Mayo Clinic physician, defeated his Republican opponent in September’s primary, State Senator Dick Day, by a 67 to 33 percent margin. He is running on a platform of lowering taxes, eliminating earmarks, building a fence along the southern border, protecting the traditional definition of marriage and life, and remaining on the offensive against radical Islamists.

Independence Party candidate and farmer Gregory Mikkelson ran in 2004 for the 1st District seat, receiving 4.8 percent of the vote. In 2002 he ran on the Green Party ticket winning 3.7 percent of the vote.

Outlook:
George W. Bush carried the 1st District in both 2004 (51.1 percent to 47.4 percent over John Kerry) and 2000 (47.7 percent to 46.0 percent over Al Gore). Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty also carried the district decisively in his successful re-election bid in 2006 (49.3 percent to 43.8 percent). The fact that Walz outperformed the top of his ticket by 11.1 points in 2006 indicates he resonates with members of his district as more than a ‘typical Democrat.’ Were it not for Republican Jim Ramstad’s (MN-03) retirement and the need for Republicans to defend that seat in a tight race, the GOP would likely be more focused on recapturing this slightly Republican-leaning district from the Freshman Congressman.

1 Comment

  1. Tim Bischof on November 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I surprised that this healthcare bill continues to move forward. There are two major things that need to be done. The first is Tort Reform, this would bring down the costs of all portions of Health care. IT direct affects the cost of Insurance, equipment, doctors fees etc. The second item is make all insurance companies remove the pre existing condition item from their plans. Which by the way its my understanding that the insurance companies are open to that if all companies are on the same playing field.

    Plus understand as a small business owner your plan as I’ve been informed it is written. IT will cause me and others like me to either reduce the number of employees to pay for it of at min reduce their pay structure to pay for this. I currently down have a formal health care plan, because of the way the insurance works and for me to cover employees in multiple states. So I reimburse them for their own insurance monthly up to a fixed amount. But my understanding is that this doesn’t qualify as a formal health care plan and I would be subject to a penalty of a portion of my company income.

    So by thinking you are fixing a problem, you are creating more problems and possibly putting people on the street. There are a lot of small business out there like us that I have talked to that feel the same way.

    If you want to help the situation fix the Tort issue and pre existing condition and vote no to the current proposal.

    Thanks