Unformatted text preview: of which is soft money—unregulated money given to political parties and advocacy groups). Federal law regulates donations, limiting how much an individual and a PAC can donate in a given election cycle. In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as McCain-Feingold), which banned soft money. Incumbent Advantage An incumbent is a person who currently holds an office. Incumbents running for reelection have an incumbent advantage, which makes them extremely difficult to defeat. Incumbency gives a candidate significant benefits: better name recognition, a track record of pork and casework, and privileges of congressional membership, such as franking, which is the ability to mail letters to constituents for free. More than 90 percent of all incumbents win reelection in House races, although that number is a bit lower in the Senate. Challenging an incumbent, particularly one who has been in office for a while, is an uphill fight....
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- Winter '09
- Government, United States Congress, United States House of Representatives, Congressional Research Service, Senate Minimum Age, incumbent advantage, Senate campaign cost