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“It seems that there’s just something about Dakotans that makes people want to elect them to Congress,” writes Lee Sigelman in The Monkey Cage. In the current Congress there are 15 natives of the Dakotas, only six of whom currently claim the two states as home. There are more native born Dakotans in Congress than any other state, at least on a per capita basis.
That, Sigelman writes, is the “Dakota effect,” and the George Washington University political scientist has gone to some effort to figure out why the two Plains states should produce such a large crop of House and Senate members. Sigelman in a South Dakota native, so he had some fun in speculating why the “effect” might exists: Dakotans are smarter; it’s too cold for young Dakotans to go outside, so they read; the states lack sports teams for people to obsess over, so they concentrate on politics.
Some of Sigelman’s observations got him in trouble with the local press. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader quoted former Sen. George McGovern saying the article was a “manifestation of ignorance.”