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The incoming moderate Republican congressmembers

Boris writes:

By nearly all accounts, the Republicans looks set to take over the US House of Representatives in next week’s November 2010 general election. . . . Republicans, in this wave election that recalls 1994, look set to win not just swing districts, but also those districts that have been traditionally Democratic, or those with strong or longtime Democratic incumbents. Naturally, just as in 2008, this has led to overclaiming by jubilant conservatives and distraught liberals-though the adjectives were then reversed-that this portends a realignment in American politics. . . .

Republican moderates in Congress are often associated with two factors: 1) a liberal voting record earlier in their career, and 2) a liberal district. Of course, both are related, in the sense that ambitious moderates choose liberal districts to run in, and liberal districts weed out conservative candidates. . . . Given how competitive Republicans are in 2010, even in otherwise unfriendly territory, we should then expect a crop of moderates to emerge in the 112th Congress that will vote on the left side of the party. . . .

Boris follows up by listing ten Republican congressional candidates (from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Illinois, and Wisconsin) who are likely to win and likely to have moderate voting records in the national legislature.

Boris was right about Scott Brown–in their model of legislators’ positions, he and Nolan McCarty followed the Bill James principle that stats from the minor leagues predict major-league performance–so I’d recommend listening to him here as well.

There’s only one thing I wonder about. Even if everything Boris writes is correct–and I have no reason to doubt him–he’s still only coming up with 10 moderate Republicans, out of a total of 200 or so. That’s not a lot.


  1. bshor says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I'll have a longer response in a blog post. But, it's simultaneously true that the 112th Congress will be the most polarized in postwar history–and hence have super conservative Republicans–AND that there will be a bunch of liberal and moderate Republicans. This is a function of the heterogeneity of congressional districts and a wave election making moderates competitive who otherwise wouldn't be.

  2. bshor says:

    Here's my blog post elaborating my response to your question.