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Uncontested Seats and Electoral Competition for the U.S. House of Representatives Over Time

We examine how changes in the incidence of uncontested seats for the US House of Representatives over time reflect responses to partisan change, changes in electoral rules, and long-term secular changes in the American political system We use a multiple interrupted times series model to test the relationship between the number of uncontested House seats from 1912 to 1994 and the 1932 realignment, midterm elections, the rise of the Republican South, redistricting, the abolition of crossfiling laws in California, and the pronounced rise of the incumbency advantage since 1966 We test models explaining the number of uncontested House seats occupied by each party and the difference between the parties in the number of those seats. We find that the rise of the Republican South started in 1964 and the incidence of midterm elections contributed strongly to changes in the overall rate of uncontested House races.