I am wondering about the idea of a senator running for the House of Represenatives because their senate seat is endangered. There are different reasons someone might want to do this. One could be unpopularity like Susan Collins. Another possible reason could be getting elected under unusual circumstances like Doug Jones. Could an endangered senator run in a safe district in the House of Representatives after dropping their Senate reelection?

If they could, they might have more of a chance because the party that is weaker in the state recognizes them.

  • 1
    "after dropping their Senate reelection" means they're not running for both at the same time.
    – Barmar
    Jul 14, 2020 at 13:26
  • 1
    "because their senate seat is endangered." Such a maneuver would kill voter confidence, regardless of which office they were voting about! You can't hedge votes by running for two offices.
    – jpaugh
    Jul 15, 2020 at 14:02
  • The house is a step backwards. They'd rather go into lobbying if they lost their senate seat.
    – pkr
    Jul 29, 2020 at 4:26

3 Answers 3


There are no restrictions at the federal level for running for multiple offices at once. However, at least six states have imposed restrictions on running for multiple offices concurrently:

  • Precedent has generally been that states cannot put additional restrictions on candidates for federal office beyond what's stated in the constitution (which has meant that term limits on senators and representatives instituted by states have been overturned). I imagine that any restrictions at the state level against running for house and senate would probably also be ruled unconstitutional if challenged.
    – Don Hosek
    Jan 18, 2021 at 18:48

As far as I know, there is no restriction. The question was raised when Joe Lieberman ran simultaneously for Senate and Vice President in 2000 (had he won both, he would have resigned his senate seat and his replacement been picked by the governor). Given that state term limits on House/Senate seats were ruled unconstitutional in the 1990s, I would imagine that any attempt by states to limit candidates from running simultaneously for House and Senate would be also prohibited.

That said, it would be a challenging feat since the candidate would need to run two simultaneous campaigns in both a primary and general election. Lieberman was able to do this because he had such overwhelming support in his home state and didn't really need to do more than a pro forma campaign for the Senate.

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    To expand on this, the Supreme Court has rules that Constitutional restrictions on Congressmen are the only possible restrictions, so unless its in the Constitution it cannot be a rule. Jul 13, 2020 at 23:14
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    @JonathanReez: But there are ballot restrictions on running for offices. (Which will vary by state.) For instance, in my state (last I checked), a candidate has to pay a filing fee, and either be the canditate of a recognized party (D, R, or various minor parties), or obtain a sufficient number of signatures on a petition to run as an independent.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 14, 2020 at 0:49
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    @jamesqf correct, but these requirements are candidate-agnostic Jul 14, 2020 at 5:14
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    Given that this has no references, and the other answer cites several relevant restrictions, this doesn't seem correct. Jul 14, 2020 at 15:50
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    almost every state has at least some form of a sore loser law (you can't run in the general if you lose the primary) , but I don't think the SC has ever weighed in on it.
    – eps
    Jul 14, 2020 at 19:02

@Don Hosek and @Joe C have good answers, but I would like to point out that there is precedent for this:

In 2016, Clair Van Steenwyk simultaneously ran for US Senate from Arizona and for the House seat from Arizona's 8th district, although he won neither primary.

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