Local and National Forces in Congressional Elections

Barry C. Burden and Amber Wichowsky

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Local and National Forces in Congressional Elections

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  • US Politics
  • Comparative Politics



This article provides a discussion on local and national forces in congressional elections. The tension between local and national forces is the most compelling feature of congressional elections. The wavering of congressional elections between local and national matters is a direct result of the institution's wavering between a national body of policy makers and a collection of local representatives. The central unit of analysis in the study of congressional elections has been the candidate. If challenger decisions are indeed the keys to understanding congressional elections, clearly more research is needed to understand how deterrence and strategic decisions operate. The growing sources of data on voters, candidates, and the campaign environment provide rich opportunities to develop middle-range theories examining systematic variations in the national-local divide.

Keywords: congressional elections; local forces; national forces; candidate; voters; campaign

Article.  7451 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Comparative Politics

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