Partisan differences in candidate quality in open seat House races, 1976-1994

Jon R. Bond, Richard Fleisher, Jeffery C. Talbert

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46 Scopus citations


This article builds on previous research with an analysis of partisan differences in the emergence of politically experienced candidates in open seat House races from 1976 to 1994. Consistent with previous research, we find that local partisan forces - the normal vote in the district and the party holding the seat - are the most important determinants of whether experienced candidates emerge in open seat races. But we find that Republicans are more sensitive to local partisan forces than Democrats, indicating that experienced Republicans run mainly in districts favorable to Republicans, whereas Democrats run for open seats in a wider range of districts. And contrary to previous research, we discover that a national condition - presidential popularity - is significantly related to the emergence of experienced Republicans in open seats. These results reveal that we need to look for different relationships across the parties. Because we suspected that the relationships might have changed in recent elections, we compared relationships in 1976-90 and 1992-94. This analysis indicates that the relationships found in previous elections may have changed. In 1992-94, the emergence of experienced Democrats was significantly affected only by the party holding the seat, whereas the emergence of experienced Republicans was not significantly influenced by either local partisan condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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