Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in Primary Elections for the U.S. House

35 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 5 Apr 2010

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

Abstract

Previous research on congressional elections has largely concluded that House elections have become much less competitive in the modern era. Our research investigates one area where we should theoretically expect to observe more competition ヨ namely, primary elections. In this paper, we examine when and where a state legislator will emerge to run in a congressional primary. All else equal, we expect that state legislators who can carry a large portion of their old state reelection constituency to the 'geographic' congressional constituency will be more likely to emerge and receive a higher vote share in the election. Using GIS software, we are able to derive a measure of constituency overlap by focusing on the degree of congruency between state legislative and congressional districts. Our results indicate that state legislators are more likely to emerge in a primary if constituency congruency is relatively high, especially in open seat contests. When state legislative candidates start with a strong voter base, we also find that they do better in the primary election.

Keywords: Congress, primary elections, representation

Suggested Citation

Carson, Jamie L. and Crespin, Michael and Eaves, Carrie and Wanless, Emily, Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in Primary Elections for the U.S. House. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580567

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 )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
87
Abstract Views
781
Rank
544,479
PlumX Metrics