Lesson Objectives:- Winning congressional elections
- Apportionment of the House
To get a seat in the Senate, the campaign is going to cost about $10.5 million. For a seat in the House, the campaign will cost about $1.7 million. To stay in office, it becomes a continual task raising funds for the next campaign.
Candidates running for office in the same year as the president hope to get swept in by a strong presidential figure in what is known as the coattail effect. There are times when this has not happened. Furthermore, a common trend in the last 70 years is the president's party loses seats in the House during the upcoming midterms.
Most incumbents are safe in winning reelection. There are challengers who succeed in getting elected, but a huge percentage of incumbents up for reelection keep their seat.
The number of representatives allocated to each state changes regularly through Reapportionment, which is done after every census. Since House Representatives are based on a state's population, the amount of representatives a state is allowed to have rises and falls with the population.
Congressional districts also change through a process known as Redistricting, the redrawing of the boundaries of the congressional districts within each state. Districts are supposed to have the same population, so population shifts call for redistricting. Unfortunately, it has been used as a tool to distribute populations unequally and render certain district votes less effective.
When it comes to redistricting, Gerrymandering is the drawing of legislative district boundary lines for the purpose of obtaining partisan advantage. A district is said to be gerrymandered when its shape is altered substantially to determine which party will win it.
To combat gerrymandering, redistricting was placed in the hands of a commission that is independent or non-partisan. It was challenged, but the Supreme Court upheld the practice.
There are two tactics to gerrymandering. The first is Packing, which is packing as many voters as possible of the opposing party into a single district.
The other is Cracking, which is splitting the opposing party’s voters into many different districts.