Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in U.S. House Elections



Research on candidate competition has focused on how much context matters in emergence decisions and election outcomes. If a candidate has previously held elected office, one additional consideration that may influence entry decisions is the relative degree of overlap between the candidate's current constituency and the “new” set of voters she is seeking to represent. Using GIS software, we derive a measure of the challenger's personal vote by focusing on constituency congruency between state legislative and congressional districts. Results suggest state legislators are more likely to run for a seat in the U.S. House if constituency congruency is relatively high.