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1 in 5 Democratic US Reps Entered House via Special Election

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Nearly 20 percent of the Democratic caucus in office today was first elected via special election compared to just 1 in 10 Republicans

vancemccallister10.jpgVance McAllister's run-off victory in Louisiana's 5th Congressional District Saturday marked the third consecutive special election contest won by the Republican Party this year.

McAllister's win comes on the heels of a high profile victory by former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford in May in the state's 1st CD and a low-key victory by Jason Smith in Missouri's heavily Republican 8th CD in June.

However, despite these Republican wins, it is the Democratic Party which has seen far more of its members in the 113th Congress originally arrive in the U.S. House via special elections.

In fact, such U.S. Representatives comprise nearly 20 percent of the Democratic caucus.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that 37 of the 200 Democratic U.S. Representatives in the 113th Congress were first elected to the chamber via special election, or 19 percent of its members - nearly twice the rate as that of Republicans (10 percent).

After Representative-elect McAllister is sworn into office, 60 of the 432 non-vacant seats will be occupied by members who won special elections to the chamber, or 14 percent.

That tally includes 37 of the 200 Democrats in the House, or 19 percent of the caucus, but just 23 of 232 Republicans, or 10 percent of the GOP caucus.

Winners of Special Elections to the U.S. House by Caucus, 113th Congress

Party
Special
Seats
% Special
Democrat
37*
200
18.5
Republican
23
232
9.9
* Includes Democrat Bill Foster (IL-11) who was originally elected to the House via special election in March 2008, lost his seat in 2010, and returned to the chamber after winning the 2012 general election. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

There are several quite famous legislators currently serving in the House of Representatives who first gained entry to the chamber via special election including each party's most senior members.

Notable members on the Democratic side include:

· Democratic Minority Leader and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12): elected on June 2, 1987, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Democrat Sala Burton.

· Democratic Minority Whip and former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05): elected to the first of his 15 terms on May 19, 1981 to replace Gladys Noon Spellman, whose seat was declared vacant due to an incapacitating illness.

· Democrat John Dingell (MI-12): elected to the first of his 30 terms and counting on December 13, 1955 to fill the vacancy after the death of his father, John Sr., who had been elected to 12 House terms in his own right. Dingell holds the record for the longest service in the U.S. House.

Dingell is one of three Democrats currently serving in the House who won a special election to fill the seat of a deceased family member.

Donald Payne, Jr. of New Jersey's 10th CD was elected to finish the term of his father last November. Donald Payne, Sr. was in his 12th term when he died in March of last year.

Andre Carson of Indiana's 7th CD was elected in March 2008 after the death of his grandmother Julia - a six-term U.S. Representative who passed away in December 2007.

Other long-serving Democrats who won their seat via special election more than 20 years ago are:

· Frank Pallone (NJ-06, November 1988)
· Jose Serrano (NY-15, March 1990)
· Rob Andrews (NJ-01, November 1990)
· Ed Pastor (AZ-07, September 1991)
· Jerrold Nadler (NY-10, November 1992)
· Bennie Thompson (MS-02, April 1993)
· Sam Farr (CA-20, June 1993)

On the Republican side, Don Young (Alaska-AL) won his first of 21 terms in a special election on March 6, 1973, several months after Democrat Nick Begich was proclaimed dead after his plane disappeared on a campaign flight in October 1972.

Young is the longest-serving GOPer in the House.

Four other GOP U.S. Representatives in the 113th Congress have turned a special election victory into 20 or more years in the chamber:

· Tom Petri (WI-06, April 1979)
· Jimmy Duncan (TN-02, November 1988)
· Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27, August 1989)
· Sam Johnson (TX-03, May 1991)

There are two more special elections to the U.S. House on the docket in December 2013 - in Massachusetts' 5th CD, to fill the seat of recently-elected Democratic U.S. Senator Ed Markey and in Alabama's 1st CD, to fill the seat of Republican Jo Bonner who left D.C. to become Vice Chancellor at the University of Alabama.

An election was also recently scheduled in March of next year in Florida's 13th CD to fill the seat of long-serving U.S. Representative Bill Young, who died last month.

Since Election Day last November, 10 Democrats have exited the House who had won special elections to the chamber: Joe Baca and Laura Richardson of California, Jerry Costello and Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, John Olver and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Gary Ackerman and Kathy Hochul of New York, and Mark Critz of Pennsylvania.

Republicans who exited the House over the last year who were once special election victors are Mary Bono Mack and Brian Bilbray from California, Jo Ann Emerson from Missouri, Bob Turner from New York, Jean Schmidt from Ohio, John Sullivan from Oklahoma, and Ron Paul of Texas.

U.S. Representatives Originally Elected to U.S. House by Special Election (113th Congress)

Representative
Current District
Party
Took office
John Dingell
MI-12
Democrat
December 13, 1955
Don Young
AK-AL
Republican
March 6, 1973
Tom Petri
WI-06
Republican
April 3, 1979
Steny Hoyer
MD-05
Democrat
May 19, 1981
Nancy Pelosi
CA-12
Democrat
June 2, 1987
Frank Pallone
NJ-06
Democrat
November 8, 1988
Jimmy Duncan
TN-02
Republican
November 8, 1988
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
FL-27
Republican
August 29, 1989
Jose Serrano
NY-15
Democrat
March 20, 1990
Rob Andrews
NJ-01
Democrat
November 6, 1990
Sam Johnson
TX-03
Republican
May 8, 1991
Ed Pastor
AZ-07
Democrat
September 24, 1991
Jerrold Nadler
NY-10
Democrat
November 3, 1992
Bennie Thompson
MS-02
Democrat
April 13, 1993
Sam Farr
CA-20
Democrat
June 8, 1993
Frank Lucas
OK-03
Republican
May 10, 1994
Elijah Cummings
MD-07
Democrat
April 16, 1996
Earl Blumenauer
OR-03
Democrat
May 21, 1996
Gregory Meeks
NY-05
Democrat
February 3, 1998
Lois Capps
CA-24
Democrat
March 10, 1998
Barbara Lee
CA-13
Democrat
April 7, 1998
Bob Brady
PA-01
Democrat
May 19, 1998
Bill Shuster
PA-09
Republican
May 15, 2001
Randy Forbes
VA-04
Republican
June 19, 2001
Stephen Lynch
MA-08
Democrat
October 16, 2001
Jeff Miller
FL-01
Republican
October 16, 2001
Joe Wilson
SC-02
Republican
December 18, 2001
G.K. Butterfield
NC-01
Democrat
July 20, 2004
Doris Matsui
CA-06
Democrat
March 8, 2005
John Campbell
CA-45
Republican
December 6, 2005
Albio Sires
NJ-08
Democrat
November 7, 2006
Paul Broun
GA-10
Republican
July 17, 2007
Niki Tsongas
MA-03
Democrat
October 16, 2007
Bob Latta
OH-05
Republican
December 11, 2007
Robert Wittman
VA-01
Republican
December 11, 2007
Bill Foster*
IL-11
Democrat
March 8, 2008
Andre Carson
IN-07
Democrat
March 11, 2008
Jackie Speier
CA-14
Democrat
April 8, 2008
Steve Scalise
LA-01
Republican
May 3, 2008
Donna Edwards
MD-04
Democrat
June 17, 2008
Marcia Fudge
OH-11
Democrat
November 18, 2008
Mike Quigley
IL-05
Democrat
April 7, 2009
Judy Chu
CA-27
Democrat
July 14, 2009
John Garamendi
CA-03
Democrat
November 3, 2009
Bill Owens
NY-21
Democrat
November 3, 2009
Ted Deutch
FL-21
Democrat
April 13, 2010
Tom Graves
GA-14
Republican
June 8, 2010
Marlin Stutzman
IN-03
Republican
November 2, 2010
Tom Reed
NY-23
Republican
November 2, 2010
Janice Hahn
CA-44
Democrat
July 12, 2011
Mark Amodei
NV-02
Republican
September 13, 2011
Suzanne Bonamici
OR-01
Democrat
January 31, 2012
Ron Barber
AZ-02
Democrat
June 12, 2012
Donald Payne, Jr.
NJ-10
Democrat
November 6, 2012
Suzan DelBene
WA-01
Democrat
November 6, 2012
Thomas Massie
KY-04
Republican
November 6, 2012
Robin Kelly
IL-02
Democrat
April 9, 2013
Mark Sanford
SC-01
Republican
May 7, 2013
Jason Smith
MO-08
Republican
June 4, 2013
Vance McAllister
LA-05
Republican
TBD
* Bill Foster was originally elected to the House via special election in March 2008, lost his seat in 2010, and returned to the chamber after winning the 2012 general election. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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