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Deciding to Quit: A Duration Model of Retirement in Congress
Unformatted Document Text:  Social Research and updated by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal for recent Congress. For each Congress in which a retirement decision was available to a member they were included with their covariates. 6 Also, there has been a modification to the coding of the retirement variable. Retirement is coded as the decision to remove oneself from the pursuit of electoral office. The hazard of this particular event is what this study is trying to predict. Losing a reelection bid in a primary election, losing a reelection bid in general election, death, 7 expulsion, 8 running for a different office, and of course being reelected are not retirements. If one quits the House to be appointed to a non-elected government office then this does count as a retirement. Also, if one has run for an office during their term, failed to be elected to the new office, the decision to run or not run for reelection to the House was still open after the other candidacy terminated and the person does not run for reelection then this is a retirement. 9 The only change this represents from the coding scheme of Theriault is the inclusion of those running for higher office. Theriault excludes these people from the study all together. I do not think this is necessary or correct. The goal of the study is to determine the correlates of retirement from elected life for House 6 Occasionally a special election is held after the regular election day to fill a vacancy. A recent example is that occurred after the data used in this study is the special election to fill the vacancy in the 109th Congress caused by the resignation of Tom Delay (R-TX). A special election to fill the seat for any lame duck session was held at the same time as the regular election for that seat for the 110 th Congress. These two elections were won by two different people. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who won the special election, would not have been included in this study had it examined the 109 th Congress since from the time she became a member, within the 109 th Congress, she did not have an opportunity make the decision to retire or not. The deadline for that decision had already passed. However, occasionally special elections occur at the same time as primary elections. These winners are included since the winner could in theory still be free to make a decision about retirement. They could pull out of an election even after winning the concurrent primary or they could perhaps run as an independent if they had not contested or won the primary on the day that it took place. The option is still open even if constrained. Therefore the risk of retirement still exists. Of the 2634 member-congress pairings included in this study 35 represented winners of special elections. Nearly all of the special election winners took office before final decisions had to be made on these issues. 7 If retirement was not announced before death occurred. 10 such deaths are included in this study 8 James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled during the period of this study. 9 For example, Dick Gephardt (D-MO) ran for president, did not get the nomination and was still in the House and could have run for reelection. He did not and is coded as a retirement.

Authors: Sempolinski, Joseph.
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Social Research and updated by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal for recent Congress.
For each Congress in which a retirement decision was available to a member they were
included with their covariates.
Also, there has been a modification to the coding of the
retirement variable. Retirement is coded as the decision to remove oneself from the
pursuit of electoral office. The hazard of this particular event is what this study is trying
to predict. Losing a reelection bid in a primary election, losing a reelection bid in general
election, death,
expulsion,
running for a different office, and of course being reelected
are not retirements. If one quits the House to be appointed to a non-elected government
office then this does count as a retirement. Also, if one has run for an office during their
term, failed to be elected to the new office, the decision to run or not run for reelection to
the House was still open after the other candidacy terminated and the person does not run
for reelection then this is a retirement.
The only change this represents from the coding
scheme of Theriault is the inclusion of those running for higher office. Theriault excludes
these people from the study all together. I do not think this is necessary or correct. The
goal of the study is to determine the correlates of retirement from elected life for House
6
Occasionally a special election is held after the regular election day to fill a vacancy. A recent example is
that occurred after the data used in this study is the special election to fill the vacancy in the 109th
Congress caused by the resignation of Tom Delay (R-TX). A special election to fill the seat for any lame
duck session was held at the same time as the regular election for that seat for the 110
th
Congress. These
two elections were won by two different people. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who won the special election,
would not have been included in this study had it examined the 109
th
Congress since from the time she
became a member, within the 109
th
Congress, she did not have an opportunity make the decision to retire or
not. The deadline for that decision had already passed. However, occasionally special elections occur at the
same time as primary elections. These winners are included since the winner could in theory still be free to
make a decision about retirement. They could pull out of an election even after winning the concurrent
primary or they could perhaps run as an independent if they had not contested or won the primary on the
day that it took place. The option is still open even if constrained. Therefore the risk of retirement still
exists. Of the 2634 member-congress pairings included in this study 35 represented winners of special
elections. Nearly all of the special election winners took office before final decisions had to be made on
these issues.
7
If retirement was not announced before death occurred. 10 such deaths are included in this study
8
James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled during the period of this study.
9
For example, Dick Gephardt (D-MO) ran for president, did not get the nomination and was still in the
House and could have run for reelection. He did not and is coded as a retirement.


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