Past service in Congress no indicator of future success

As former Rep. Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson prepare to face off in a crowded Democratic primary in Florida’s 10th Circuit, they better hope they do better than a string of other former members who have failed in their comeback attempts are.

More than a handful of former members of the House of Representatives and US Senators are running for Congress or state office again. But almost halfway through the main calendar, the vast majority have lost and most haven’t even come close.

Perhaps the best-known failed comeback was in Georgia, where former Senator David Perdue was beaten 74 percent to 22 percent by Governor Brain Kemp in the GOP primary for governor. Perdue’s beating even happened with the approval of former President Donald Trump.

Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer started as the first frontrunner in the Democratic race to challenge GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley in Iowa. She eventually relinquished her early lead after being dramatically outbid on television, losing the nomination by 15 points, 55 percent to 40 percent, to retired Vice Admiral Mike Franken.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has received much criticism for his handling of COVID-19, but former Rep. Jim Renacci hasn’t come close to defeating him in the primary. DeWine prevailed with 20 points. Across the border in Pennsylvania, former Rep. Lou Barletta finished second in the GOP primary for governor, but that was more than 20 points behind state Senator Doug Mastriano.

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