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Competition for Legislative Control
Competition for legislative control

It is only natural for legislators to want to retain their jobs.1 For careerists, who devote nearly all their time to politics, defeat means the loss not only of status and equanimity but also of livelihood. “After all,” as two scholars write, “for the old breed, electoral defeat was a disappointment; for the new breed, it may be the end of a career.”2 Even noncareerists want to remain in office—at least until they themselves decide to get out.

The election is always just around the corner, particularly for members of the house in forty-six states and senators in twelve who have to run every two years. House members in four states (and as of 1998, in North Dakota as ...

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