Power of incumbency boosts Sen. Scott Brown and Rep. Richard Neal in 2012 …
While politicians and political hopefuls have been branding themselves as “outsiders” in several of the contentious elections across the country this year, there still is no substitute for the power of incumbency.
Incumbents running for re-election have several factors playing into their favor. They typically have more money, a trained staff and lessons learned from their previous advances on public office.
They have experience, name recognition and easier access to the media, which helps explain the statistic that in 2010, 84 percent of incumbent U.S. senators and 85 percent of congressman were re-elected.
“You’re working to give the voters a reason to vote for you instead of your opponent, and for a challenger, it is three times as much work,” said Tony Cignoli, a political strategist not associated with any of the candidates mentioned in this article. “Incumbents have seasoned political troops and can raise money from established sources, whether it is an individual or a PAC, because their voting record is known. With a challenger, all you have to go off is their word.”
In the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown started out with $7 million cash left over from his 2010 special election win over Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Elizabeth Warren, the chief Democratic opponent in Brown’s re-election bid, has amassed approximately $13 million since jumping into the race, an impressive haul, although at this time she is still $2 million behind Brown in what is being billed as potentially the most expensive Senate race in history.
Still, the high-profile, high-stakes nature of
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