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Reelection Rates of Incumbents
in the U. S. House

By Congress and by State
First through 108th Congress

(December 7, 2006)

Quantitative Historical Analysis #8

For the first through to the 108th Congresses this report evaluates the available data in order to calculate the following three measures:
  • Data Adequacy: for each Congress, what percentage of the data clearly indicates whether or not the incumbent sought reelection?
  • Sought-Reelection: for each Congress, what percentage of the Representatives attempted to be reelected to the subsequent Congress?
  • Reelection Rate: for each Congress, what percentage of incumbent Representatives who sought reelection succeeded?


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Further, this report shows the extent to which inadequate data precludes reliably drawing conclusions. An estimation is provided in order to resolve, if only hypothetically, the ambiguity that results from the inadequacy of the data. 


Additional Resources

“Historical Prevalence of Reelected Representatives in the U. S. House”, published by, describes the extent to which reelected incumbents have comprised the U. S. House of Representatives from 1791 to 2005. Specifically, for each Congress (from the second to the 109th Congresses), the percentage of Representatives who were reelected (from the preceding Congress) is provided by state and in total.

“Reelection Rates of Incumbents: 1790 – 1994”, by David C. Huckabee, published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on March 8, 1995.
(1,220 KB Adobe PDF)
(Right button click on the link above to download the report.)

“Summary and Comparison of the Data Used by the TTO and CRS Reelection Analyses”, published by, provides the relevant data from the CRS report along with the corresponding TTO data so as to facilitate a comparison of the two. (492 KB Adobe PDF)
(Right button click on the link above to download the report.)
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