Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Pure Trivia: Two Specials In One Congress?

I may have hit a new low in political trivia.

That's not as low as Vance McAllister has gone, though. The newly minted congressman, winner of a November special election with a big boost from a Duck Dynasty endorsement - you can't make this stuff up - has just been caught smoochin' a staff member not his wife.

McAllister took over from Rod Alexander, most famous for a filing deadline switch from Democrat to Republican. (He may have stole the idea from Doug Struyck.) Alexander quit to take a better paying job from the governor (he definitely stole the idea from Swati Dandekar).

This may break the land speed record, though, breaking the old record set seemingly yesterday by Trey Radel (Congressman Busted For Coke his likely obit headline) In the social media age, these scandals move fast, from revelation to resignation within days.

Which begs the question: had a congressional district ever gone through a SECOND special election cycle in the same term?

Greg Giroux keeps a comprehensive list of House specials, dating back to 1961, and it hasn't happened in that time frame. The most recent case I can find is in a hard copy of Congressional Quarterly's Guide to US Elections - why yes, I own one - that lists House races back to the 1820s.

Luckily I only had to go back to 1930-31. Congressman John Quayle of New York's 7th District died three weeks after being re-elected in 1930. Matthew O'Malley won a Feb. 17, 1931 special election. But the hapless O'Malley expired himself on May 26, without ever attending a session (before the 20th Amendment, the new congress convened in December of the year after the election. Which was screwy. Which was why the amendment.)

This meant a second special election in November 1931, won by John Delaney. He died in office, too, but not till 1948. All three winners were Democrats, all were by similar 2 to 1 margins and the Republicans nominated three different losers.

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