March Madness, Congress-Style
Posted at 8:07 p.m. on March 18
While Roll Call hasn’t had much to say about member-vs.-member battles since the conclusion of last fall’s redistricting-fueled election showdowns, our version of the NCAA March Madness bracket offers plenty more fun matchups in the House.
Every year, we match each school in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament with its House member. A note on our methodology: Because some campuses straddle one or more congressional districts (we’re looking at you, University of Akron), Roll Call continues to use each school’s admissions office ZIP code as the location by which we determine the House member who represents the school.
You’ll note that a handful of members have a slightly better chance to take home the entire prize, as Democratic Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and Jared Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia each represent districts with two schools that have made it into the tournament.
Some other fun facts about this year’s bracket:
- Republicans are disproportionately represented among the No. 1 seeds: Gonzaga, Kansas and Indiana are all represented by Republicans, while Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth (Louisville) is the lone top-seeded Democrat.
- The overall partisan breakdown of the members going dancing only slightly favors Democrats over Republicans: 37 to 31.
- In the first round, there is only one possible intrastate showdown: Tennessee’s Steve Cohen (Memphis) could face fellow Volunteer State Rep. Scott DesJarlais if Middle Tennessee State wins the play-in game.
- In the field of 68 teams, 12 are represented by freshman lawmakers — although two, Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus (UNLV) and New York Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei (Syracuse), are members who were ousted in 2010 and won their seats back in 2012. Ohio Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty is the frosh repping the highest-seeded team: Ohio State is seeded 2nd in the West Region.
- While there are several potential Senate candidates in the mix — Steve King (Iowa State), Mike Rogers (Michigan State), Kristi Noem (South Dakota State) — there is only one declared Senate contender in the field of 68: Rep. Edward J. Markey (Harvard). While Markey is the solid front-runner in Massachusetts’ Senate special election, the 14th-seeded Harvard doesn’t currently have similar Cinderella odds.
Click here to download a PDF of Roll Call’s bracket — then fill it out and email it back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by noon ET on Thursday, March 21. Winner will receive a prize!
(And lest you think we only care about men’s basketball, check back Tuesday night for the women’s bracket.)