The research is unambiguous that Ferrin is right: Attractive oliticians have an edge over not-so-attractive ones. The phenomenon is resonating especially this year. By a combination of luck and design, Democrats seem to be fielding an uncommonly high number of uncommonly good-looking candidates.
The beauty gap between the parties, some on Capitol Hill muse, could even be a factor in who controls Congress after Election Day.
Democratic operatives do not publicly say that they went out of their way this year to recruit candidates with a high hotness quotient. Privately, however, they acknowledge that, as they focused on finding the most dynamic politicians to challenge vulnerable Republicans, it did not escape their notice that some of the most attractive prospects were indeed often quite attractive.
There is a certain logic to the trend. Back in 1994, when Republicans seized power in Congress from Democrats, the GOP had a number of fresh-faced challengers who knocked off incumbents who had grown worse for wear after years of committee hearings and fundraising receptions. This year, it is the Democrats who have several ripe opportunities to unseat Republicans, some of whom have grown gray and portly
during their years in power . . .
The list is decidedly unscientific, but it includes several whose names come up often on Capitol Hill for reasons other than their policy platforms. Among those on it . . . are Brad Ellsworth, a swaggering Indiana sheriff . . .
Good looks obviously has its advantages as a candidate. A look at Indiana politicians, however, makes it clear that the Brad Ellsworths and the Evan Bayhs have nothing on the average-looking Joes. Mitch Daniels, Pat Bauer, Mark Souder or even Julia Carson haven't been stopped by less than good looks. If looks mattered all that much, state representative candidate Jon Elrod (R) in Indianapolis' District 97 would win hands down over his Democratic opponent Rep. Ed Mahern (D). Good looks notwithstanding, my gut instinct tells me Mahern will win re-election easily. And Rep. John Hostettler might well lose to Ellsworth this year, but I think it will have more to do with the voter's concerns about the issues in the campaign than whether Ellsworth is a better looking man than Hostettler.