Ballotpedia, a project of the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, recently released a study detailing the extent of this phenomenon in the 2012 election cycle. The study found that roughly half of 2012 House incumbents coasted to the general election without a primary challenger. The lack of competition in congressional primaries leaves voters with limited options.
According to Sarah Rosier, Congress Director for Ballotpedia, “Although the 2012 elections were still more competitive than previous years, the level of competitiveness does not match up to voters’ dissatisfaction with Congress.” If current trends continue, it is likely that the majority of incumbents will face relatively easy re-election in 2014.
The most competitive primary involving an incumbent in 2012 was Florida’s 3rd congressional district, which had a margin of victory of 1.4% (22,273 votes). The least competitive primary involving an incumbent was Maryland’s 7th congressional district, which had a margin of victory of 88.27% (49,625 votes). Maryland boasted 3 of the 5 least contested primaries involving an incumbent in 2012.
About Ballotpedia: Ballotpedia is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan, organization that connects people to politics. Ballotpedia is an online almanac of state elections and election law, as well as state and local ballot measures, state executives, school boards, and Congress.