Utah’s Congressional Races not Expected to Be Competitive

Don’t count on much drama as we head toward November. A new election forecast gives all four Republican candidates a whopping 99% chance of winning.

The Washington Post’s “Election Lab” says there are just a handful of seats in Congress where the frontrunner has less than a 90% of chance of winning. Their model doesn’t give much (if any) chance to the four Utah Democratic candidates this year, each of them getting less than a 1% chance of pulling off the win. That means Mia Love, Jason Chaffetz, Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop should make up the Congressional delegation next year.

What’s the reason for the incredible advantages held by incumbents — particularly given the “throw the bums out” sentiment voters regularly express? Alan Abramowitz, Brad Alexander and Matthew Gunning wrote in 2006 that the changing partisan makeup of districts and incumbency advantages go a long way toward explaining why there are so few competitive races. Once a candidate wins a House race, he or she almost always has fundraising and name ID advantages over any person who decides to run against them. This advantage compounds as reelection victories pile up. Some academics argue that redistricting is to blame, and that safe districts are being purposefully drawn up by both parties, erasing competitiveness from most races. Others find that redistricting is an ineffective explanation for why House races can be such a snooze.