Friday, May 12, 2006

Not so Much Turnover in the PA Leg

Here's a startling statistic, courtesty of Terry Madonna and Michael Young, of Franklin & Marshall College:

"The number one reason leaders in the Pennsylvania legislature leave office is retirement. This fact is unremarkable enough, but becomes more interesting if one looks at the number two, three and four reasons: number two is death; number three is resignation after legal problems; and number four -- and last -- is defeat at the polls."

Yikes!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is that really such a bad thing? Elections are at regular intervals, and electors have the opportunity to bring in someone new.

Friedman said...

Yes, it's a bad thing. Legislatures need some turnover; nobody should get more than 12 years...we need term limits.

ACM said...

even without term limits, I think that the fact that somebody is more likely to die than to be unseated says less about the good job that legislators are doing than it does about the barriers in the system to challengers, the apathy of voters in primaries, etc. a vital system should have people fighting to be part of it.

Anonymous said...

i think this line has been blown out of proportion - its referring to legislative leaders, not members, and most of the comments above seem to be confusing the two.

those folks in harrisburg in leadership to me should be less likely to get unseated during re-election. there's only a dozen of them, and if each two years they can get a majority of other politicians to support them, wouldn't it possibly stand to follow that they would be able to also get a majority of their constituents to continue to support them?

besides, leadership does have its advantages - for example, many people are fond of saying they want to reelect Arlen because of his seniority on the Appropriations Committee is good for PA....

look at this another way - in PA, I bet only about 75% of freshman state reps get re-elected (as I can recall over the last ten years or so). that sounds about right to me.

I'm not opposed to term limits either - altho I've seen how steep the learning curve can be for these folks... but there has to be a way to address the folks who stay on way too long too...

- jch

Anonymous said...

JCH is right; the post is about "leaders", not "regular" members of the leg.

howard said...

"in PA, I bet only about 75% of freshman state reps get re-elected"

ONLY 75%? That's not exactly stacking the deck against incumbents. In fact the estimate you're pushing there kind of makes the case about how entrenched PA lawmakers really are (and I tend to think your estimate is a little low).

cktirumalai said...

I believe that in the United States House of Representatives, until quite recently, a Representative who sought re-election was much more likely to be returned than not, such is the electoral power of incumbency: in part the result of earmarks and pork. But with the political mood of the nation now in flux, many incumbents can no longer take things for granted. There was the Republican Revolution of 1994, and there just may be a Democratic Revolution in 2006--both mid-term elections. There may or may not be correlations between state and federal elections.

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