A lot of people want new blood in their lawmakers….
Runniong for office as novice IS a tough job….
Ref: Oz and Walker?
Politics doesn’t have a farm system in the way that professional baseball does. But it has a hierarchy of its own for cultivating political prospects. The path usually goes something like this: First, a candidate wins some relatively minor, local office like city council or state representative. Then, they either win a seat in the U.S. House, or a statewide office like attorney general. Only then do they run for Senate or governor.
Most of the Democrats running in competitive Senate and gubernatorial races have followed a version of this course. For instance, John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, was the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania for 13 years before being elected as the state’s lieutenant governor in 2018.
But most of the Republicans haven’t. As a group, they have little experience running for office, and even less experience at actually winning general elections. Historically, such candidates have a poor track record – and in 2022 they could cost Republicans key gubernatorial races as well as control of the U.S. Senate.
FiveThirtyEight’s model evaluates candidate experience as part of our “fundamentals” calculation1. Specifically, for Senate and gubernatorial candidates, we use a four-tiered system based on the candidate’s highest elected2 office:
- Tier 3: U.S. Senator or governor
- Tier 2: U.S. representative, or statewide elected office (e.g., secretary of state), or mayor of a large city.
- Tier 1: Any other nontrivial elected office (e.g., state senator).
- Tier 0: Has never held any nontrivial elected office.
The reason that experience in winning past elections can send a valuable statistical signal isn’t necessarily that experience in elected office is valuable unto itself. (For instance, candidates who are appointed to the U.S. Senate following a vacancy have poor track records at winning a Senate term for themselves). Rather, it’s the act of winning an election that counts, since it’s a sign that a candidate is acceptable to some reasonably large group of voters….