Sept. 18, 2007
After 17 years in Congress, Republican Jim Ramstad of Minnesota says he is not going to run again. He won his last election by a huge margin. You might think that means the Republicans have the edge in this district for 2008. I have been crunching the numbers and that might not be so. Watch the video for more details (Cross posted from The Uptake)
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It’s been 17 years since anyone other than Jim Ramstad has represented Minnesota’s Third Congressional District. Now that he’s decided not to run in 2008, the question is which party is more likely to win the seat.
Ramstad has won his seat by huge margins. So on the surface it seems like a safe bet that any other Republican would have the same advantage in the third district. But a look at voting trends from the last several elections indicates it may not be that easy.
Let’s look at how the Third District has voted in recent races that Jim Ramstad was not in.
First there’s last year’s US Senate race. DFLer Amy Klobuchar won the third district by 15 percentage points. Hardly a close race.
But those same voters also backed Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty by a larger margin than he got statewide.
In the other statewide races, which tend to be less partisan the Republican Attorney General candidate was just 311 votes better than the statewide winner DFLer Lori Swanson.
The DFL won the State Auditor’s race in Ramstad’s district, but lost the Secretary of State’s race.
So the Third District has a lot of ticket-splitters. It’s not a shoe-in for a Republican candidate.
But trends indicate this may be a Congressional seat the DFL could take in 2008. The DFL has picked up a total of seven state legislative seats in Ramstad’s district since 2004, indicating the area may be trending Blue.