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Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth, first row, third from left, on the steps of the House side of the U.S. Capitol in the 1920's.

The curse of the Longworth Building

78% of NJ congressmen who lost had Longworth offices in first term

By David Wildstein, December 01 2018 5:24 pm

Good news for Tom Malinowski and Jeff Van Drew: New Jersey congressmen who spend their first two years in the Cannon House Office Building are statistically more likely to get re-elected than freshmen who draw an office in Longworth.

Fourteen Members of Congress from New Jersey elected since 1966 have lost re-election.  Of those fourteen, eleven (78%) spent their first term in Longworth.  The other three were in Cannon.

But Mikie Sherrill and Andy Kim, who picked Longworth offices, might find some solace in this: 100% of the incumbent congressmen from New Jersey who lost re-election in 2018 were Cannon freshmen: Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur.

The third House freshman with an office in Cannon who ultimately re-election was Helen Meyner.

The defeated New Jersey congressmen who went to Longworth as House freshmen: Scott Garrett, John Adler, Michael Pappas, Bill Martini, Herb Klein, Joseph Minish, Harold Hollenbeck, Andrew Maguire, Joseph Maraziti, John Hunt, and Charles Sandman.

The Rayburn House Office Building opened in 1965.

There is no word whether Malinowski, who has been following Congress since he was a teenage intern for U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, knew about the Longworth curse before he used his #2 draw in the House freshman lottery to pick his Cannon office.

One more thing: Joseph Cannon and Nicholas Longworth, both former Speakers, lost their bids for re-election to the House in 1912; that was the year Gov. Woodrow Wilson was elected president and Democrats won 11 of 12 House seats in New Jersey.

Update: Sherrill and Kim broke the curse when she won re-election to a second term in 2020.

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