The DFL is eying Minnesota Erik Paulsen’s 3rd CD seat in November, but the Republican U.S. Representative has a lot of electoral history on his side. The western suburban district has voted GOP in each of the last 28 cycles since 1960 – the longest Republican congressional winning streak ever in Minnesota. The party previously tallied a 26-cycle streak in the 2nd CD (1940-1990) and 25 wins in a row in the 1st CD (1934-1980). The 1st CD mark would likely have been longer but the state could not agree on a congressional district map in 1932 resulting in all nine seats being elected in at-large races. [The 1st CD had previously voted GOP for 20 straight cycles from 1892-1930]. The only two instances in which the DFL has come within single digits of taking back the 3rd CD since Clark MacGregor picked up the seat for the Republicans in 1960 were during open seat races – losing by 1.3 points in 1970 to Bill Frenzel when MacGregor chose to run for the U.S. Senate and by 7.6 points to Paulsen in 2008 when Jim Ramstad retired from public office.


  1. Nikoli Orr on September 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Referring to House districts by their numerical designations is not necessarily informative (confusing, misleading), at least in many cases. For example, the UP and northernmost swath of Lower Peninsula constituency of MI (currently CD-01) was in fact CD-11 prior to the 1992 post-redrawing House elections. As for MN, CD-01 supposedly has been the (non-metro) Southeast Quadrant constituency for ages. However, due to sharp intrastate population shifts, new constituencies have been drawn up, and existing ones have been assigned different numbers during the aforementioned period.

    • Eric Ostermeier on September 21, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      What you suggest can be the case, but with Minnesota holding steady at 8 U.S. House seats since the 1962 reapportionment, the state’s 3rd CD has been located in the western suburbs throughout this entire stretch. And while it is also true that population shifts can change the constituency of a district, in theory so too can political views change, even without such a shift. Therefore, the fact that a district – reflecting the same basic geographic area – has held Republican for 50+ years has some meaning.

  2. Nikoli Orr on September 22, 2016 at 6:39 am

    “…26-cycle streak…(1940-1990)…” The CD-02 prior to 1982 election cycle had been one based in the South Central swath of the state, whereas from ’82 through 2000 cycles, it had been one comprising the South West quadrant of the Gopher State (this tidbit within the latest “…Crumbs” is what prompted my initial comment).

    • Dr. Eric Ostermeier on September 22, 2016 at 8:05 am

      Ah – good point, thanks for clarifying. There was a lot of incumbent CD reshuffling after the new 1982 maps w/the 1st, 2nd, and 6th districts.

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