Does Keith Ellison Have a Mandate? Rep. Sets Freshman Re-election Record

If it seems as if Keith Ellison has a free hand with which to cast controversial votes in the U.S. House, such as his ‘present’ vote for the Israeli-Gaza House resolution, he probably does. The DFL Congressman registered the second largest margin of victory of all time in the 5th Congressional District last November, and posted the largest margin of victory for a 1-term incumbent in the history of the Gopher State.

It appears the 5th District has given Rep. Ellison a mandate – the question is will he continue to boldly legislate with that in mind?

Ellison’s 48.9-point defeat over Republican Barb Davis White is second only to Democrat Donald Fraser’s 49.1-point victory over Republican Phil Ratte in 1974 for the largest margin of victory in the history of the 5th Congressional District. (Note: in 1886, Republican Knute Nelson carried the 5th by 94.3 points, but without a major party challenger on the ballot).

Even Ellison’s predecessor, 14-term DFL Congressman Martin Olav Sabo, never won election to Congress by such a lofty margin – tallying a 47.0-point victory in 1988 for his best finish.

While Ellison’s overwhelming victory was no doubt aided by the district-wide mobilization for Barack Obama, Fraser too benefited from an equally unusual and historic circumstance in 1974 – the Watergate scandal and resignation of Republican President Richard Nixon just a few months before Election Day (which created a national Democratic landslide across all offices that November).

Ellison’s victory is also the biggest Congressional win in Minnesota in nearly two decades, since DFLer Tim Penny won his 1st CD race against Independent-Republican Doug Andersen by 56.2 points in 1990.

Although Ellison’s 2008 victory is not the largest in state history, what makes it so impressive is that it comes so early in his Congressional career.

In fact, in 2008 Ellison registered the single largest contested victory for a 1-term U.S. House incumbent in the history of the Gopher State – dating back over 150 years. (Note: Jim Oberstar won his second term in the 8th CD in 1976 in an uncontested race).

The 5th Congressional District is home to the third longest-running streak for the DFL in the state – with the DFL having captured the seat in every election since 1962. The DFL has carried the 4th CD dating back to 1948 and the 8th CD since 1946.

Margin of Victory in Minnesota’s 5th CD Since DFL Merger, 1944-2008

Year
Winning Candidate
Party
MoV
2008
Keith Ellison
DFL
48.9
2006
Keith Ellison
DFL
34.3
2004
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
45.3
2002
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
41.1
2000
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
46.4
1998
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
39.3
1996
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
35.8
1994
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
24.6
1992
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
35.0
1990
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
45.7
1988
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
47.0
1986
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
46.8
1984
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
43.5
1982
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
36.1
1980
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
43.4
1978
Martin Olav Sabo
DFL
24.6
1976
Donald Fraser
DFL
44.7
1974
Donald Fraser
DFL
49.1
1972
Donald Fraser
DFL
41.4
1970
Donald Fraser
DFL
14.8
1968
Donald Fraser
DFL
15.7
1966
Donald Fraser
DFL
19.4
1964
Donald Fraser
DFL
23.8
1962
Donald Fraser
DFL
3.7
1960
Walter Judd
GOP
21.8
1958
Walter Judd
GOP
14.6
1956
Walter Judd
GOP
12.0
1954
Walter Judd
GOP
11.6
1952
Walter Judd
GOP
18.4
1950
Walter Judd
GOP
18.5
1948
Walter Judd
GOP
8.0
1946
Walter Judd
GOP
16.6
1944
Walter Judd
GOP
13.2

2 Comments on "Does Keith Ellison Have a Mandate? Rep. Sets Freshman Re-election Record"

  1. Eric Ostermeier | January 20, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Reply

    > So what?

    So…….it would appear that the 5th Congressional District is trending even further towards the Democratic Party.

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