Minnesotans like younger governor candidates, study says

When it comes to electing governors, Minnesota tends to go with youth.

More than 70 percent of the time, going back 64 elections, the younger candidate has won more than 70 percent of the time, says the study by Smart Politics blog of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

In the past 100 years, the trend is even more pronounced:

Since 1904, the younger candidate has won 33 of 41 contests, or an 80 percent rate of victory.

Since 1926, the younger gubernatorial candidate has won 23 of 30 gubernatorial contests in Minnesota, or a success rate of 77 percent.

And it holds true in “modern” times:

Tim Pawlenty was born 12 years later than Mike Hatch and 11 years later than Peter Hutchinson.

Pawlenty was born 16 years after Roger Moe and 9 years after Tim Penny.

Jesse Ventura was born 9 years after Skip Humphrey and 2 years after Norm Coleman.

And while Arne Carlson was 22 years older than his 1994 challenger John Marty, he was 6 years younger than his 1990 opponent, incumbent Rudy Perpich.

So what does it mean in 2020? The study notes:

[Republican candidate Marty] Seifert, at age 37, is the youngest major party candidate in the 2010 gubernatorial field thus far. The other youngest candidates in the race are DFLers Margaret Anderson Kelliher (41) and Paul Thissen (43) and Republican Pat Anderson (43).

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