This article provides a theoretical framework for analyzing the recruitment and selection of legislative candidates in Latin America. It argues that political recruitment and candidate selection are undertheorized for Latin America yet have determinative impacts on political systems, often overriding the influence of more commonly studied institutional variables. The article elucidates a typology of legislative candidates based on the legal and party variables that lead to the emergence of particular selection methods, as well as the patterns of loyalty generated by those methods. It analyzes the recruitment and selection processes as independent and dependent variables, underscoring the significant effect these procedures have on the incentive structure and subsequent behavior of legislators. Those factors, in turn, have important consequences for democratic governability and the performance of presidentialism.