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The Redistricting Cycle and Strategic Candidate Decisions in U.S. House Races

Marc J. Hetherington, Bruce Larson and Suzanne Globetti
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 65, No. 4 (Nov., 2003), pp. 1221-1234
DOI: 10.1111/1468-2508.t01-1-00134
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1111/1468-2508.t01-1-00134
Page Count: 14
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The Redistricting Cycle and Strategic Candidate Decisions in U.S. House Races
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Abstract

We examine the impact of the ten-year redistricting cycle on strategic candidate behavior. First, we provide evidence that strategic candidate behavior is a function of an election's temporal proximity to a redistricting year, finding that quality challengers are less likely to emerge as the redistricting cycle progresses. Next, we show that strategic candidates interpret national and local political conditions through the lens of time. Specifically, national political conditions greatly encourage quality challengers early in the redistricting cycle but play a much reduced role later. In addition, incumbents who demonstrate moderate electoral vulnerability in the prior election are more likely to face quality challengers toward the beginning of the redistricting cycle than the end.

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