Recent research suggests that the penalty congressional candidates pay for ideological extremism declined abruptly in 1994 when the House majority became competitive for the first time in decades. We reexamine congressional accountability in light of this evidence, first evaluating the centrality of 1994 as a turning point and then allowing that voters may not weigh incumbents’ and challengers’ positions equally. Several findings emerge. Even when the penalty for extremism is constrained to be equal for challengers and incumbents, accountability does not abruptly decline in 1994 but instead decreases gradually from 1980 through recent elections. Furthermore, once incumbent and challenger ideology are examined separately, the results on incumbents do not match those for challengers. Depending on the specification and ideology measure, incumbent accountability may stay similar, decrease, or even increase over time. By comparison, the relationship between challenger ideology and vote share consistently declines across electoral cycles. These results suggest that analyses treating incumbents and challengers identically will be prone to find decreased congressional accountability, even when the evidence on incumbents does not merit such a conclusion.