Open seat elections are elections in which: A. voters don't know the party affiliation of the candidates B. voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party C. an incumbent faces a...

Open seat elections are elections in which:

A. voters don't know the party affiliation of the candidates

B. voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party

C. an incumbent faces a serious, well-funded challenger

D. an incumbent runs unopposed

E. no incumbent is running for reelection

 

Expert Answers
teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Open seat elections are those in which no incumbent (current officeholder) is running for reelection, so E is the correct answer. These are important elections because an incumbent normally has a huge advantage. This person has name recognition, the full financial support of their party (because they have already proven they can win), and the ability to bring "pork" to their district. The word "pork" means benefits that can directly improve the life of constituents, such as arranging for an army base to be located in the area or ensuing that the senior ride program be better funded. 

Once a seat is contested by two newcomers, the playing field levels dramatically, even if one or both of the candidates have name recognition. At this point, the rival party begins to hope it can win back the seat and tip the balance of power in its own direction. Open seats are also seen as a bellwether or indicator of the mood of the country, as voters are, to some extent, more likely to vote on issues than personality when both candidates are "new." 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you think about the meaning of the words in the term for this sort of election, you will be able to figure out the right answer.

When we talk about the “seat” in this phrase, we are talking about a position in government, usually in Congress or a state legislature.  If we say that the seat is “open,” it implies that there is no one “sitting” in that seat at the moment.  If there is no one sitting in the seat at the moment, that means that there is no incumbent in the race.  This means that Option E is the correct answer.  The only other option that is even close is Option B.  However, that is referring to something called an “open primary,” not an open seat.

An open seat election is an election where there is no incumbent running.