Little or no Sunday morning TV for region’s senators

The New York Times published a neat analysis recently: Which U.S. senators have appeared most frequently on the major Sunday morning news-talk shows since 2010?

Through June 3, five were on at least 35 times, led by John McCain, R-Arizona, at 61. Next is Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, with 58, followed by Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, 52; Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky 43; and Charles Schumer, D-New York, 35. The programs include “Face the Nation”, “Meet the Press”, “This Week”, “State of the Union”, “Fox News Sunday”, and “Al Punto” (a Univision program).

To put those numbers in perspective, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada made the shows nine times. And that leads to further perspective regarding our region’s current and recent U.S. senators. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, led the group with nine appearances, followed by John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, at seven and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, with five.

John Thune, R-South Dakota, was next with four. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, was on twice.

That leaves a big bunch with zero appearances. They are Tim Johnson, D-South Dakota; Max Baucus, D-Montana; Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota; Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming; Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska; Al Franken, D-Minnesota; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; John Hoeven, R-North Dakota; Mike Johanns, R-Nebraska; Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska; and Jon Tester, D-Montana. (Conrad, Dorgan and Nelson no longer are senators.)


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About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

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