High Reelection Rates

As the electoral districts become larger, candidates must raise greater sums of money in order to market themselves to hundreds of thousands of prospective voters. In congressional districts containing an average of 700,000 people, this is very expensive. For example, incumbent federal Representatives who sought reelection in 2008 raised, on average, over $1.4 million each.

Given all of the incumbents’ numerous advantages with respect to seeking reelection, it stands to reason that a challenger would generally need to raise as much, if not more, in order to have a chance of defeating an incumbent. Therefore, in larger districts, the incumbents’ ability to thwart challengers improves due to the simple fact that the challengers must raise an extraordinary amount of money merely to have a possibility of victory. However, because it is nearly impossible for most citizens to raise the funds necessary to mount a credible challenge, it is not surprising that, in 2008, 95% of incumbent Representatives who sought reelection won.

The significant reelection advantage provided to incumbents by huge electoral districts is borne out by analyzing the correlation between district population size and the incumbents’ average number of years in office. The analysis shows that there is a nearly perfect correlation between the district population size and the Representatives’ years in office. To learn more about this, read section 4 of “Taking Back Our Republic”.

© 2011
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