Home » Opinion » Editorials
Safe seats, frequent flyers
No wonder nothing gets done in Washington. They're all in New Hampshire!
We're always happy to host prominent guests from out of town, but there's a reason these congressmen have the time to visit: They represent safe seats back in their home states.
Chaffetz won his last re-election campaign with 76 percent of the vote despite having spent much of the year traveling the country on behalf of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Issa averages about 60 percent of the vote in his reelection campaigns. Ryan's district is theoretically more competitive but he used to win reelection by two-to-one margins before he was the vice presidential nominee. Wasserman Schultz's district is so lopsided that she is either effectively unopposed or literally unopposed in her re-election campaigns.
Members who represent safe seats don't have to work very hard to stay in office. That frees up plenty of time for overtly political travel. If constituents back home resent any lack of attention or the political purposes of the travel, there's not much they can do about it.
Another consequence of safe seats is that members who represent those districts are only accountable to voters in their own party. Keep the base happy, avoid a primary, and coast to re-election. This contributes to the polarization we see in Washington.
One imagines New Hampshire voters would not tolerate political gallivanting were our own representatives to start barnstorming the country to headline Lincoln or Jefferson-Jackson dinners in distant counties.
Both of New Hampshire's congressional districts are competitively drawn. Incumbents have been defeated frequently in recent years, and both districts have been represented by members of both parties. This tends to keep our own representatives working hard and close to home, which is the way we like it.
READER COMMENTS: 6
- Who scares Shaheen? She wants to stop Scott Brown - 1
- Taxpayer rights: Left, right should restore them - 8
- Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test - 1
- Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you - 74
- Portman's good point: A leadership deficit all around - 3
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 4
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
- Obama's indecision: In NH, only Ayotte urges action - 58
- Concealed controversy: Our 'Mother, may I' gun policy - 73
READER COMMENTS: 0
- NH police on lookout for drunken drivers - 0
- Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Bob Smith gets A+ from NH Firearms Coalition - 3
- Marine Patrol called to multiple crashes - 0
- Hiker rescued on Mount Monadnock - 0
- Laconia accident results in minor injuries for motorcyclist - 0
- Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Time for Market Basket to get back to business - 0
- Playing for a purpose Field Hockey Jamboree at Manchester Memorial - 0
- Franklin Pierce's Kirsh to retire as AD - 0
- UNH Wildcat gridders can't stop Toledo, 54-20 - 2
Amnesty? Garcia is against it
Amnesty? Garcia is against it
NH's teen pregnancy still lowest nationwide