Communist successor parties have experienced rapid and sudden reversals of their post-transition electoral fortunes. The Hungarian Socialist Party showed an anemic electoral performance in 1990 only to return to power in 1994. The Lithuanian Labor Democratic Party reversed its declining electoral fortunes in 2000 after a fiasco in 1996. A standard explanation in the post-communist democratization literature is that ex-communists do not really win elections so much as center-right incumbent parties lose them. I argue that the Hungarian and Lithuanian communist successor parties did not enjoy happenstance electoral success. The two parties strengthened their electoral performance by decentralizing candidate selection procedures and recruiting mostly those candidates with links to the communist regimes who could convincingly be cast as reformers or liberators.