Hagedorn vs Walz II and a Review of Minnesota’s 99 Congressional Rematch Elections

More than one in six U.S. House elections in Gopher State history have been rematches with the challenger winning 14 percent of the time

jimhagedorn10.jpgJim Hagedorn was one of three Republicans to lose by single digits to Minnesota DFL U.S. Representatives last fall, and is the first to officially announce he wants a rematch in 2016.

Hagedorn fell 8.5 points shy of denying 1st CD Congressman Tim Walz a fifth term in the chamber in a nationally GOP-friendly cycle in which Republican winds did not blow quite as strongly in the Gopher State.

The Mankato-based Republican, a former Treasury Department legislative and public affairs director and Congressional Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, will attempt to win the GOP nomination and get another round in the political ring with Walz next year.

Second chances have been plentiful for Minnesota congressional candidates over the decades – but how often do they pay off for the challenger?

Smart Politics examined the nearly 600 general election contests for U.S. Representative in Minnesota history and found 99 involved rematches between major party or notable third party candidates, with challengers winning 14 percent of the time.

Overall, there have been 581 Minnesota U.S. House elections since statehood of which this analysis studies 574. (Excluded from this analysis were seven elections: five special elections following the death or resignation of incumbents, the state’s first contest for two at-large representatives seated in 1858, and the race for nine at-large seats in 1932 after the state could not agree to a redistricting map).

A total of 99 of these 574 congressional races have featured rematches between major party or notable third party nominees, or 17.2 percent of all contests.

Rematches have been even more commonplace over the last few decades.

Since 1980, more than one in five elections for Minnesota U.S. Representative have seen rematches between major party nominees: 29 of 144, or 20.1 percent.

By contrast, from 1950 to 1978, just 17 of the 126 elections were rematches, or 13.5 percent.

Rematches were particularly frequent in the state shortly before, during, and after the ascent of the Farmer-Labor Party.

From 1920 to 1948, more than one in four congressional elections were rematches: 34 of 132 contests during this 15-cycle stretch, or 25.8 percent of races to the nation’s lower legislative chamber.

Two current delegation members, of course, eventually benefited from persistently challenging their incumbent target after losing at the ballot box.

It took DFLer Collin Peterson and Republican John Kline three tries each before they vanquished their political opponents.

Peterson first tried to unseat four-term GOPer Arlen Stangeland in the 7th CD in 1984 but lost by 14.1 points and then fell short in his first rematch two years later in 1986 by just 121 votes.

In 1990, Peterson sought a third race and second rematch against Stangeland and defeated him by 7.1 points to deny the Republican an eighth term in D.C.

Kline, meanwhile, sought back-to-back rematches with DFLer Bill Luther after losing the 6th CD race in 1998 to the two-term incumbent by 4.0 points.

Kline lost by just 1.6 points in 2000 but after redistricting in 2002 easily defeated Luther by 11.1 points in the 2nd Congressional District.

All told, challengers seeking rematches have been victorious in 15 of 104 attempts across these 99 elections, or 14.4 percent.

(Note: There are more rematch attempts than congressional elections with rematches as a handful of cycles featured more than one pair of rematches).

While those numbers do not provide a great outlook for Hagedorn in 2016 against Walz, he can take some solace in the fact that four challengers have come back from bigger losses to win a rematch race than his 8.5-point defeat in 2014:

● 1906 (2nd CD): Democrat Winfield Hammond beat seven-term Republican James McCleary after losing to McCleary by 18.1 points in 1892
● 1938 (7th CD): Republican H. Carl Anderson beat five-term Farmer-Laborite Paul Kvale after losing by 16.9 points in 1936
● 1938 (8th CD): Republican and former Congressman William Pittenger defeated freshman Farmer-Laborite John Bernard after losing by 12.8 points in 1936
● 1944 (3rd CD): DFLer William Gallagher beat two-term Republican Richard Gale after losing by 30.9 points in a distant third place in 1942

The 14-year gap in the battle between Hammond and McCleary is the longest among the 104 congressional rematches in Minnesota history.

Two others saw a gap of at least a decade.

Democrat P.J. Russell challenged 6th CD Republican incumbent Harold Knutson in 1918 as well as 12 years later in 1930 – losing by more than 40 points each time.

Meanwhile, Democrat James Robertson lost to 5th CD Republican Walter Newton by 15 points in 1918 and then 35 points ten years later in 1928.

Five other rematches saw gaps of eight years, with the challenger losing each time:

● Republican Horace Strait over Greenback/Democrat Ignatius Donnelly (1876, 1884)
● Republican Frederick Stevens over Democrat John Gieske (1902, 1910)
● Republican Melvin Maas over Farmer-Laborite Howard Williams (1928, 1936)
● DFLer Jim Oberstar over Republican Jerry Shuster between their second and third matchups (1990, 1998)
● DFLer Collin Peterson over Republican Glen Menze (2000, 2008)

As mentioned above, both Representatives Peterson and Kline did not unseat their opponents until their third attempt (i.e. second rematch).

The record for the largest number of congressional candidate-on-candidate battles in the Gopher State belongs to the pairing of Republican Harold Knutson and John Knutsen, who ran under various labels in four matchups across a 14-year span to represent the state’s 6th CD.

Knutson won an open seat race in 1916 with Knutsen placing third with 7.5 percent as the Prohibition Party nominee.

In 1922, Knutsen was one of two independent challengers against the GOP incumbent in a three-candidate race and received 7.4 percent.

In 1928 and 1930, Knutsen was the Farmer-Labor nominee and lost by north of 30 points each cycle.

Fourteen other notable candidate pairs have matched up three times:

● 1892, 1906, 1908 (2nd CD): Democrat Winfield Hammond vs. Republican James McCleary
● 1920, 1922, 1926 (8th CD): Republican Oscar Larson vs. Democrat/Farmer-Laborite William Carss
● 1926, 1928, 1930 (9th CD): Republican Conrad Selvig vs. Farmer-Laborite Knud Wefald
● 1928, 1936, 1938 (4th CD): Republican Melvin Maas vs. Farmer-Laborite Howard Williams
● 1934, 1936, 1938 (9th CD): Farmer-Laborite Richard Buckler vs. Democrat Martin Brandon
● 1936, 1938, 1940 (8th CD): Republican William Pittenger vs. Farmer-Laborite John Bernard
● 1936, 1938, 1940 (3rd CD): Farmer-Laborite Henry Teigan vs. Democrat Martin Hogan
● 1964, 1966, 1968 (1st CD): Republican Al Quie vs. DFLer George Daley
● 1978, 1980, 1982 (7th CD): Republican Arlan Stangeland vs. DFLer Gene Wenstrom
● 1984, 1986, 1990 (7th CD): Republican Arlan Stangeland vs. DFLer Collin Peterson
● 1988, 1990, 1998 (8th CD): DFLer Jim Oberstar vs. Republican Jerry Shuster
● 1988, 1990, 1992 (4th CD): DFLer Bruce Vento vs. Republican Ian Maitland
● 1994, 1996, 1998 (4th CD): DFLer Bruce Vento vs. Republican Dennis Newinski
● 1998, 2000, 2002 (6th, 2nd CDs): DFLer Bill Luther vs. Republican John Kline

99 Minnesota U.S. House Rematch Elections

Year
Dist
Winner
Party
Loser
Party
Previous
1859
AL
Cyrus Aldrich
REP
James Cavanaugh (I)
DEM
1857
1880
2
Horace Strait
REP
Henry Poehler (I)
DEM
1878
1884
1
Milo White (I)
REP
Adolph Biermann
DEM
1882
1884
3
Horace Strait (I)
REP
Ignatious Donnelly
DEM
1876
1894
2
James McCleary (I)
REP
Lionel Long
PEOP
1892
1894
3
Joel Heatwole
REP
Osee Hall (I)
DEM
1892
1898
5
Loren Fletcher (I)
REP
Thomas Caton
DEM
1892
1898
6
R. Page Morris (I)
REP
Charles Towne
DEM-PEOP
1896
1900
7
Frank Eddy (I)
REP
Haldor Boen (I)
REFER
1894
1906
2
Winfield Hammond
DEM
James McCleary (I)
REP
1892
1908
1
James Tawney (I)
REP
Andrew French
DEM
1906
1908
2
Winfield Hammond (I)
DEM
James McCleary
REP
1892, 1906
1910
4
Frederick Stevens (I)
REP
John Gieske
DEM
1902
1910
5
Frank Nye (I)
REP
Thomas Dwyer
DEM
1908
1912
2
Winfield Hammond (I)
DEM
Franklin Ellsworth
REP
1910
1912
6
Charles Lindbergh (I)
REP
Andrew Gilkinson
DEM
1908
1914
9
Halvor Steenerson (I)
REP
M.A. Brattland
SOC
1912
1916
10
Thomas Schall (I)
PROG
Lowell Jepson
REP
1914
1918
7
Andrew Volstead (I)
REP
Engebret Lobeck
NAT’L
1916
1920
4
Oscar Keller (I)
REP
Carl Cummins
IND
1919
1920
10
Thomas Schall (I)
REP
John Soltis
F-L
1916
1920
10
Thomas Schall (I)
REP
Henry Finlayson
DEM
1918
1922
6
Harold Knutson (I)
REP
John Knutsen
IND
1916
1922
7
Ole Kvale
IND
Andrew Volstead (I)
REP
1920
1922
8
Oscar Larson (I)
REP
William Carss
DEM
1920
1926
1
Allen Furlow (I)
REP
L.B. Hanna
DEM
1924
1926
5
Walter Newton (I)
REP
Albert Bastis
F-L
1924
1926
8
William Carss
F-L
Oscar Larson (I)
REP
1920, 1922
1928
3
August Andresen (I)
REP
Charles Kolars
DEM
1926
1928
5
Walter Newton (I)
REP
James Robertson
DEM
1918
1928
6
Harold Knutson (I)
REP
John Knutsen
F-L
1916, 1922
1928
9
Conrad Selvig (I)
REP
Knud Wefald
F-L
1926
1930
6
Harold Knutson (I)
REP
P.J. Russell
DEM
1918
1930
6
Harold Knutson (I)
REP
John Knutsen
F-L
1916, 1922, 1928
1930
8
William Pittenger (I)
REP
William Carss
F-L
1928
1930
9
Conrad Selvig (I)
REP
Knud Wefald
F-L
1926, 1928
1936
4
Melvin Maas (I)
REP
Howard Williams
F-L
1928
1936
9
Richard Buckler (I)
F-L
Martin Brandon
DEM
1934
1938
3
Henry Teigan (I)
F-L
Martin Hogan
DEM
1936
1938
4
Melvin Maas (I)
REP
Arthur Doherty
DEM
1936
1938
4
Melvin Maas (I)
REP
Howard Williams
F-L
1928, 1936
1938
7
H. Carl Andersen
REP
Paul Kvale (I)
F-L
1936
1938
8
William Pittenger
REP
John Bernard (I)
F-L
1936
1938
9
Richard Buckler (I)
F-L
Ole Sageng
REP
1934
1938
9
Richard Buckler (I)
F-L
Martin Brandon
DEM
1934, 1936
1940
2
Joseph O’Hara
REP
Elmer Ryan (I)
DEM
1938
1940
3
John Alexander (I)
REP
Henry Teigan
F-L
1938
1940
3
John Alexander (I)
REP
Martin Hogan
DEM
1938
1940
3
Henry Teigan
F-L
Martin Hogan
DEM
1936, 1938
1940
5
Oscar Youngdahl (I)
REP
Dewey Johnson
F-L
1938
1940
7
H. Carl Andersen (I)
REP
Jennings O’Connor
DEM
1938
1940
8
William Pittenger (I)
REP
John Bernard
F-L
1936, 1938
1942
6
Harold Knutson (I)
REP
E. Thomas O’Brien
DEM
1940
1944
3
William Gallagher
DEM
Richard Gale (I)
REP
1942
1944
6
Harold Knutson (I)
REP
Harry O’Brien
DFL
1942
1946
2
Joseph O’Hara (I)
REP
L.J. Kilbride
DFL
1944
1948
1
August Andresen (I)
REP
Karl Rolvaag
DFL
1946
1948
3
Roy Wier
DFL
George MacKinnon (I)
REP
1946
1950
5
Walter Judd (I)
REP
Marcella Killen
DFL
1948
1950
8
John Blatnik (I)
DFL
William Pittenger
REP
1946
1952
7
H. Carl Andersen (I)
REP
James Youngdale
DFL
1948
1952
9
Harold Hagen (I)
REP
Curtiss Olson
DFL
1950
1954
2
Joseph O’Hara (I)
REP
Harry Sieben
DFL
1950
1954
3
Roy Wier (I)
DFL
Edward Willow
REP
1952
1954
8
John Blatnik (I)
DFL
Ernie Orchard
REP
1952
1956
9
Coya Knutson (I)
DFL
Harold Hagen
REP
1954
1958
1
Al Quie (I)
REP
Eugene Foley
DFL
1958 (s)
1958
5
Walter Judd (I)
REP
Joseph Robbie
DFL
1956
1960
9
Odin Langen (I)
REP
Coya Knutson
DFL
1958
1962
2
Ancher Nelson (I)
REP
Conrad Hammar
DFL
1958
1962
8
John Blatnik (I)
DFL
Jerry Ketola
REP
1960
1964
7
Alec Olson (I)
DFL
Robert Odegard
REP
1962
1966
1
Al Quie (I)
REP
George Daley
DFL
1964
1968
1
Al Quie (I)
REP
George Daley
DFL
1964, 1966
1970
7
Bob Bergland
DFL
Odin Langen (I)
REP
1968
1980
4
Bruce Vento (I)
DFL
John Berg
REP
1978
1980
7
Arlan Stangeland (I)
REP
Gene Wenstrom
DFL
1978
1982
3
Bill Frenzel (I)
REP
Joel Saliterman
DFL
1980
1982
6
Gerry Sikorski
DFL
Arlen Erdahl (I)
REP
1978
1982
7
Arlan Stangeland (I)
REP
Gene Wenstrom
DFL
1978, 1980
1986
7
Arlan Stangeland (I)
REP
Collin Peterson
DFL
1984
1986
8
James Obsertar (I)
DFL
Dave Rued
REP
1984
1990
4
Bruce Vento (I)
DFL
Ian Maitland
REP
1988
1990
5
Martin Sabo (I)
DFL
Raymond Gilbertson
REP
1988
1990
7
Collin Peterson
DFL
Arlan Stangeland (I)
REP
1984, 1986
1990
8
James Obsertar (I)
DFL
Jerry Shuster
REP
1988
1992
4
Bruce Vento (I)
DFL
Ian Maitland
REP
1988, 1990
1994
7
Collin Peterson (I)
DFL
Bernie Omann
REP
1992
1994
8
James Obsertar (I)
DFL
Phil Herwig
REP
1992
1996
2
David Minge (I)
DFL
Gary Revier
REP
1994
1996
4
Bruce Vento (I)
DFL
Dennis Newinski
REP
1994
1996
6
Bill Luther (I)
DFL
Tad Jude
REP
1994
1998
3
Jim Ramstad (I)
REP
Stan Leino
DFL
1996
1998
4
Bruce Vento (I)
DFL
Dennis Newinski
REP
1994, 1996
1998
8
James Obsertar (I)
DFL
Jerry Shuster
REP
1988, 1990
2000
1
Gil Gutknecht (I)
REP
Mary Rieder
DFL
1996
2000
5
Martin Sabo (I)
DFL
Frank Taylor
REP
1998
2000
6
Bill Luther (I)
DFL
John Kline
REP
1998
2002
2
John Kline
REP
Bill Luther (I)
DFL
1998, 2000
2002
8
James Obsertar (I)
DFL
Bob Lemen
REP
2000
2004
5
Martin Sabo (I)
DFL
Daniel Mathias
REP
2002
2008
7
Collin Peterson (I)
DFL
Glen Menze
REP
2000
2012
7
Collin Peterson (I)
DFL
Lee Byberg
REP
2010
2014
2
John Kline (I)
REP
Mike Obermueller
DFL
2012

Party codes: REP = Republican, DEM = Democrat, DFL = Democratic-Farmer-Labor, F-L = Farmer-Labor, PEOP = People’s, IND = Independent, PROB = Prohibition, NAT’L = National, SOC = Socialist, REFER = Referendum. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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2 Comments on "Hagedorn vs Walz II and a Review of Minnesota’s 99 Congressional Rematch Elections"

  1. Yeah, rough for both our teams, huh? I thought when the Packers won the coin toss in OT, they might just have it… The Packers desnfee only forced one punt.

  2. I’m impressed you should think of something like that

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