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Off to the (Congressional) Races

- February 4, 2008

While most political junkies sit on the edge of their seats awaiting Super Tuesday, Congress junkies have their eyes on the first congressional primaries of 2008– occurring this Tuesday in Illinois. House primaries can be pretty sleeper affairs, but not so this year in the 3rd Congressional District west of Chicago. There, Rep. Daniel Lipinski, who is seeking his third term, is running in the year’s first seriously contested Democratic primary.

The strongest challenge to Lipinski comes on his left from a Cook County prosecutor who has the backing of the liberal netroots. Lipinski is being challenged for his votes and views on issues of abortion, funding for stem cell research, and troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Why focus on Lipinski for a political science blog? Because he is a card carrying member of the American Political Science Association, a well-known face at annual meetings of APSA’s Legislative Studies Section, and author of Congressional Communication (University of Michigan Press, 2004). Lipinski’s book explores the content of House members’ communications (mainly newsletters) with constituents, and assesses the electoral consequences of such communication. Dan is one of a small breed of political scientists turned member of Congress, and we wish him well.

Can you name other political scientists who are serving or have served in the House or Senate? No fair googling.

Finally, can you name a political scientist who ran for Congress, but didn’t make it? Here’s a hint (ungated) .