NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Effects Of Term Limits

November 11, 1998

Of 435 U.S. House members, 402 ran for re-election and 396 -- or 98.5 percent -- won. But in some state houses the turnover was dramatic because of term limits. Some critics believe that turnover could lead to bad legislation and increase the power of lobbyists and career bureaucrats.

  • Sixty-seven of Michigan's 110 representatives and 50 of Arkansas' 100 House members were forced out.
  • Elsewhere, Oregon lost 22 of 60, Colorado 18 of 65 and California 16 of 80.
  • Six other states lost House or Senate members to term limits.

But proponents of term limits argue the goals of terms limits have been achieved: more open seats, more competitive races and in some cases the emergence of more two-party systems as the power of incumbency is reduced. There has also been a wider variety of people running for office, especially an increase in small business owners.

Source: Aaron Steelman, "The Limits Rattle Politicians," Investor's Business Daily, November 11, 1998.


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