Theodore Landsman specializes in congressional elections and data analysis. Theo grew up in New York City, and attended Reed College in Portland Oregon, graduating with a BA in Political Science in May of 2016. At Reed, he wrote a senior thesis analyzing the ballot measure process in Oregon and assisted his professors with data projects on early voting and universal voter registration, as well as several document-driven projects on prisoner abuse in Iraq. Theo has participated in a number of political campaigns and has even submitted his own ballot initiative in Oregon (It did not make it onto the ballot). He is currently working on analyzing ballot data from RCV elections, and FairVote's Monopoly Politics and Redistricting report series.
As legal director Drew Penrose discussed last December, one of the most important developments for electoral reform last year was a challenge to partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin -- a case that holds the promise to shake up unfair maps across the nation. FairVote hopes to contribute an amicus brief to the case that will discuss the potential of fair representation remedies. Here research analyst Theo Landsman steps back to review the idea of fair legislative elections through the lens of FairVote's support for fair representation as the long-term reform solution to breakdowns in our legislative elections.
Despite strong anti-establishment sentiment, which contributed to Donald Trump’s election and Bernie Sanders’ strong primary performance, more than 98% of U.S. House members won re-election in November. Not only were most incumbents re-elected, they were re-elected by significantly more comfortable margins than in 2014. The “incumbency bump” -- our measure of the strength of congressional incumbents -- rebounded from a 20-year low of 2.55% in 2014 to 3.2%. In other words, incumbents earned an average of 3.2 percentage points more of the vote than the partisanship of their district suggests they would earn.