What Are Four Advantages Incumbents Have When Running for Office?

Four advantages incumbents have when running for office are: visibility, experience, time and money. Incumbents who run for office often win. For example, in November, 2004, 25 of the 26 incumbents running in the United States Senate election and 396 of the 401 incumbents running in U.S. House of Representatives election won their seat.

Incumbents have a distinct advantage to those who challenge them in elections:

  1. Visibility: Incumbents are more recognized in the area they serve because they have been in their role for several years.
  2. Experience: Incumbents have already ran a successful campaign and know what is needed to succeed.
  3. Time: The office of the incumbents is often their full-time job, which allows them to work on their campaign as part of their job.
  4. Money: Incumbents are often able to raise much larger amounts of campaign contributions than those running against them