Districts, Ambitions, and Strategies in a Term-Limited Era
Grounded theory is a methodology in which trends in data are developed during the data-collection exercise and subsequent analysis; the approach is discussed at length in Chapter 2. This chapter develops hypotheses from the data described and analyzed in chapters 3 through 6. In general, the results of my interviews and trips to the districts indicate that state representatives have concentric circles of constituency, much like Richard Fenno's congressmen. However, the circles themselves are different. This is due in large part to two factors. The first is the small size of the state legislator's constituency. The second is the larger role of progressive ambitions for higher office, which factors into many statehouse members' career-planning. Most of the representatives who expressed an ambition for a state senate seat were in-district advocates. Furthermore, “struggling” metropolitan districts with large proportions of working-class or poor residents were likely to be represented by in-district advocates. Those legislators with fewer political ambitions beyond the statehouse were more likely to be Burkeans or ombudspersons than advocates. Wealthier, politically competitive metropolitan districts tended to be represented by ombudspersons.
The first part of this chapter features a discussion of the concentric circles of constituency that I discovered. The second part presents four hypotheses, in which district characteristics and the legislators' ambitions are considered as independent variables and the legislators' home styles are considered as a dependent variable. The third part features a discussion of a new factor affecting legislators' career am