The Candidate Emergence Study is a multi-year project seeking to understand how potential candidates for the United States House of Representatives decide whether or not to seek a seat in Congress. The goals of the study include increasing our understanding of the electoral process and exploring some of the reasons why so few congressional elections are competitively contested. Our methodology involves two extensive surveys. The first was sent to a variety of politically informed citizens in a randomly selected sample of congressional districts. The second was to a group of individuals identified as potential candidates for Congress either by the respondents to the first survey or because of elected positions they hold within the sample of congressional districts. Our research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of Colorado, and Colby College; none of the funding organizations bear any responsibility for the analysis or interpretations we present.