Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers is among a handful of lawmakers without a re-election website ahead of next year’s election.
The overwhelming majority of those in Congress have a campaign up and running online, but a report by Smart Politics shows nine House members—mostly Democrats—haven’t bothered to do so.
Part of the reason is lawmakers such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi represent safe districts and have won by comfortable margins for years.
Last year, Rogers, who is a Republican, won re-election by 56 points. He’s been in Congress since 1981.
From Smart Politics:
If these representatives have been a bit lackadaisical in creating the digital building blocks for their 2014 reelection campaigns so far this year, it may be for the simple reason that they face virtually no threat of losing.
These nine incumbents have logged in an average 11.4 terms in the House and enjoyed an average victory margin of 65.3 points in the 2012 cycle.
The complaint about the House is lawmakers have to immediately turn their attention to re-election bids given the cost of running, their 2-year term and shorter election cycle.
But in these nine cases demonstrate the other end of the spectrum, which is a Congress of heavily gerrymandered districts where mini-emperors are elected indefinitely.
“Hal Rogers has won by an average victory margin of 63 points across his career. Five times he’s been unchallenged by any candidate. Six times without a Democrat opposing him and only three times has he won by less than 40 points,” says Minnesota political science professor Eric Ostermeier, a research associate at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs who conducted the study.
He says this could also be a reflection that voters don’t have a viable choice in eastern Kentucky or that constituents are overwhelmingly pleased with Rogers’s leadership.
Rogers has been scrutinized over his career but barring retirement or death it’s understood the 32-year incumbent isn’t going anywhere. The lack of a campaign site is a reflection of that electoral security.
“You hate to say anyone is unbeatable but in the case of Hal Rogers when you’ve only had one candidate out of 17 (election) cycles whose got within single digits of him all appearances are they are in for life or as long as they want to be,” says Ostermeier.