Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In a special election in Minnesota's 26th Senate District yesterday, a Republican blowout would have suggested that the G.O.P. is in line to make major gains in November in this bluish state. On the other hand, a Democratic win would have suggested that the party's prospects are better than commonly acknowledged and perhaps that the party is newly enlivened.
So what did we get? A narrow (but comfortable) Republican victory. Republican Mike Parry won with 43% of the vote, to 37% for Democrat Jason Engbrecht and 20% for the Independence Party's Roy Srp.
In this Republican-leaning district, Parry's margin of victory is about the same as Norm Coleman's margin of victory in his 2008 U.S. Senate bid. His performance was a little bit better than John McCain's in 2008, but a little worse than President Bush's in 2004 and considerably worse than the performances of the Republican state senator who previously held the 26th.
What do we learn from all that? Only that, despite my love for legislative special elections, I probably shouldn't make too big of a deal out of irregular January elections that occur right after a blizzard, that have unusually strong third-party candidates, and that takes place in one sixty-seventh of the state of Minnesota.
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