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An individual who is in current possession of a particular office and who is legally authorized to discharge the duties of that office.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

INCUMBENT, eccles. law. A clerk resident on his benefice with cure; he is so called because he does, or ought to, bend the whole of his studies to his duties. In common parlance, it signifies one who is in the possession of an office, as, the present incumbent.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Several legislative incumbents also essentially won re-election on Tuesday, because no candidate from the other party filed for the seat.
Incumbent-backed spin-offs are created by incumbents to explore new product-market combinations.
The current study addresses the paucity of research examining the role played by seniority in incumbents' success in holding their seats in the U.S.
The average incumbent president loses 5 percent of his endorsements when he runs for re-election.
(3) The most recent re--estimation (the 2004 update), predicts the incumbent party share of the two--party popular presidential vote in 2008 and features both incumbency and economic explanatory variables.
Citizens therefore did seem to base their assessment of incumbents on changes in test-score performance during a board member's tenure, exactly the type of accountability many supporters of NCLB had hoped for.
Ernest "Jim" Istook (R), sponsor of a constitutional amendment designed to weaken the separation of church and state, lost his bid for governor to incumbent Brad Henry.
There are three vacancies on the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB), with two incumbents eligible for reappointment.
Many observers and participants believe redistricting fuels this polarization, by creating safe seats in which incumbents have strong incentives to reflect the views of their party's most extreme supporters--i.e., those active in primary elections--and little reason to reach out to swing voters.
Sotto answered 'yes' in a text message when asked to confirm a 'conflict' raging between incoming and incumbent senators over committee chairmanships in the Senate.
Three incumbents running for re-election appear to be on their way to another term.
The Incumbent Protection Act, subsection 24.1-509(B), carves exceptions to this rule in favor of incumbents.