A column on redistricting published in the Chicago Tribune this morning (October 28th) featured Rose Institute Fellow Douglas Johnson discussing a short history of Californian congressional elections. The article, titled “Ending the incumbent protection racket,” explains the huge advantage that incumbents have when running for re-election.
Author Steve Chapman writes:
Douglas Johnson, a fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College, reports that since the legislature created new lines in 2001, only one of the state’s 53 congressional seats has changed from one party to the other. In a total of 212 elections, only two incumbents have lost.
None of the 40 state Senate seats has switched parties. In the 1990s, by contrast, courts drew the boundaries, and 10 congressional seats and seven state Senate seats changed partisan hands.