Accordingto Ginsberg,Lowi, & Weir (2013),in the US, statistics show that the incumbents (current officeholders) have higher chances of getting reelected during electionscompared to other candidates. It has been observed that they tend towin almost 90% of the times they vie for the seats. There are variousreasons which give the incumbents who are in the representatives’house advantage over other candidates.
First,incumbents have a lot of money which they can use for campaigns. Thesitting members have the ability to raise large campaigncontributions from different sources. For example, during the 2012elections incumbents in the US House used approximately $456,859,509while their challengers used $112,498,172. In the US Senate, theIncumbents used $223,954,295 while challengers used $79,852,117(Ginsberg,Lowi, & Weir, 2013).These large amounts of money used by incumbents gives them a greatadvantage over their opponents. They outspent their opponents withgreat margins.
Thesecond reason is campaign organization. Every incumbent in theCongress has run at least one election campaign successfully for theseat they hold. This is an indication that any sitting member has agood experience in planning and managing the campaign strategies. Italso means that they have their own people who are able to campaignwell for them to ensure success (Ginsberg,Lowi, & Weir, 2013).This gives them advantage over some opponents who have never held anyelective post.
Anotherreason is time. This occurs because Congress sitting members have alot of time to campaign. Their full time job and which they are paidfor is to move around and interact with people. It is their work toattend special events, talk to people, appear in radio talks andtelevision shows. During these times, they interact with voters andask for their support. They do not have to incur any cost duringthese events since it is part of their jobs (Ginsberg,Lowi, & Weir, 2013).In contrast, the opponents have to strive to pay their bills so as toappear in television shows and radio talks and also in other eventswhere they can meet voters.
Thevisibility of sitting members gives them a great advantage over theiropponents. The incumbents are well known in their districts. Havingrun at least one successful campaign and being in Congress for sixyears (Senators) or two years (House members), almost all the peoplein their areas know them. The members of Congress also have ready andeasy access to news media. They are regularly mentioned in the mediamaking them famous over their opponents (Ginsberg,Lowi, & Weir, 2013).
Theincumbents have the commonly known as “Perks” of Office whoassist them in campaigns. Every congress member has a budgetallotment for their office and which issues sufficient amounts ofmoney to hire enough staff both at the home districts or states andin Washington D.C. The hired staff help the incumbents to bewell-liked by people and to be effective in their work. The congressmembers also have travel allowances which enable them to travelbetween Washington and their districts or states and also move withinthe states. During these travels, they are able to send announcementsand informational letters postage-free to their constituentsregularly (Ginsberg,Lowi, & Weir, 2013). This gives them a great advantage over their opponents who have topay to have information send and also who do not have staff to helpthem in campaigns.
Fromall the five reasons, it is very clear that incumbents have greatadvantages over their opponents. They are highly favored in differentareas. They have more funds, more supporting staff and even their jobdescription plays to their advantage. This makes them to be easilyreelected than their opponents.
Ginsberg,B., Lowi, T. J., & Weir, M. (2013). We the people: Anintroduction to American politics.