Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in U.S. House Elections

32 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2008

See all articles by Jamie L. Carson

Jamie L. Carson

University of Georgia

Michael Crespin

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Carrie Eaves

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Emily Wanless

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2008

Abstract

Previous research on candidate competition in congressional elections has focused largely on the question of how much context matters in emergence decisions and election outcomes. If a candidate has previously held elected office, one additional consideration that may factor into entry decisions is the relative degree of overlap between the candidate's current constituency and the "new" set of voters that she is seeking to represent in the new position. Using GIS software, we are able to derive a measure of the challenger's personal vote by focusing on the degree of constituency congruency between state legislative and congressional districts. This new measure enables us to evaluate electioneering independent of name recognition. Our results indicate that state legislators are more likely to run for a seat in the U.S. House if constituency congruency is relatively high. When they start with a strong voter base, they also do better in the election since they do not have to convince an entirely new set of voters to support them.

Keywords: congressional elections, representation, candidate competition

Suggested Citation

Carson, Jamie L. and Crespin, Michael and Eaves, Carrie and Wanless, Emily, Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in U.S. House Elections (April 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1124602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1124602

Jamie L. Carson (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Michael Crespin

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Carrie Eaves

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Emily Wanless

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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