If Norm Coleman is able to hold onto his narrow lead against Al Franken in the 2008 U.S. Senate recount that began on Wednesday, he would accomplish a feat that has not been seen in Minnesota since before World War II: no Republican since 1940 has been elected Senator from the Gopher State in a presidential election year in which a Democrat was sent to the White House.

In that year, 3-term GOP incumbent Henrik Shipstead cruised to a 27.3-point win while FDR won his third straight national victory. It has not happened since.

However, the battleground state of Minnesota is no stranger to split-ticket voting, and a Coleman victory would mark the 5th instance out of the last 6 times a Republican was elected Senator from Minnesota since 1936 in which the Gopher State cast its electoral ballots for a Democrat:

· In 1988, Minnesota elected Republican Dave Durenberger to the Senate for the third time, while Michael Dukakis carried the state by 7 points.
· In 1984, Republican Rudy Boschwitz was re-elected to a second term as Walter Mondale carried Minnesota by less than 4,000 votes.
· In 1940, GOPer Henrik Shipstead won a fourth term as FDR won the Gopher State by 3.8 points.
· In 1936’s special election, Republican Guy Howard won a competitive field of four candidates with a 42.9 percent plurality as FDR cruised to a 30.8-point re-election victory in Minnesota.

In 1952, the Republicans ran the table, with Dwight D. Eisenhower winning the state of Minnesota (by 11.2 points) and GOP Senator Edward Thye winning re-election (by 14.1 points). Republicans have carried both offices in Minnesota in only two other instances: 1924 (Thomas D. Schall and Calvin Coolidge) and 1916 (Frank B. Kellogg and Charles E. Hughes).

Democrats, however, have swept the U.S. Senate and presidential tickets within the state several times: in 1948 (Hubert Humphrey and Harry Truman), 1960 (Humphrey and John F. Kennedy), 1964 (Eugene McCarthy and Lyndon Johnson), 1976 (Humphrey and Jimmy Carter), 1996 (Paul Wellstone and Bill Clinton), and 2000 (Mark Dayton and Al Gore).

MN U.S. Senate and Presidential Elections, 1912-2008

Year
MN Senate
MN President
National President
2008
Republican (?)
Democrat
Democrat
2000
DFL
Democrat
Republican
1996
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1988
Republican
Democrat
Republican
1984
Republican
Democrat
Republican
1976
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1972
DFL
Republican
Republican
1964
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1960
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1952
Republican
Republican
Republican
1948
DFL
Democrat
Democrat
1940
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
1936 (special)
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
1936
Farmer-Labor
Democrat
Democrat
1928
Farmer-Labor
Republican
Republican
1924
Republican
Republican
Republican
1916
Republican
Republican
Democrat
1912
Republican
Progressive
Democrat