My personal experience with this is from about ten years ago. My father was a local District Justice. (or justice of the peace, whatever they're called near you) He was nearing the end of his second six-year term when the state decided to reorganize the districts. What happened then? The people he had known, served and been supported by were suddenly the minority of his reorganized district. Not entirely, but dramatically enough to mean he had lots of new territory to campaign for re-election in.
So, what happens? An ambitious, local "good ol' boy" gets lots of support, popularity through connections and some deep-pocketed friends. Some folks see that he's on a path and going to use this as a stepping stone to a political career, but he claims otherwise. He's always wanted to be a District Justice and will serve the yadda yadda, etc.
Anyway, fast forward. This guy wins, my Dad loses. He goes on to be really into the job for about a year, then rumors of his in-and-out-ness surface... and he runs for a higher office before even three years of his six-year term are done. Now he's since gone on to another job, even higher, but the rumors of his unsavory character and slightly shady conflict-of-interest issues continue... Yet he also continues to be elected. By all appearances, he's well on his way to being a career politician.