Erik Paulsen avoids Obama's coattails
The 2008 election was full of Democratic domination, particularly as some jumped on the coattails of Barack Obama. But nearly three dozen U.S. House districts split their vote between Obama and a Republican House member.
Rep. Erik Paulsen, a first-term Republican was the only Minnesotan candidate to win a district that also went for Obama. Paulsen won with 48 percent of the vote against Ashwin Madia, while the district went to Obama with 52 percent of the vote.
What does this mean now that the election is over? These districts could be some of the most competitive in 2010.
Some of the most competitive congressional races of 2010 will be in districts where voters split their ballots between Republicans for the House of Representatives and Democrat Barack Obama for the White House.Paulsen was one of three freshman GOP House members to win a district also won by Obama.
CQ Politics' analysis of presidential election returns in all 435 congressional districts shows there are 34 that split that way -- perhaps a testament to the durability of partisan voting habits in House races or maybe a further decline in the "coattails" effect.
Those split districts complement the 49 that favored Republican John McCain for president while helping the Democrats expand their congressional majority.
These "Obama-Republican" and "McCain-Democratic" districts, combined, amount to a substantial 19 percent of all House seats. In 2010, the parties will try to bring those districts back into line with their traditional partisan voting patterns.