Campaign Finance in U.S. House Primary and General Elections

This chapter first appeared in Congressional Primaries and the Politics of Representation, edited by Peter F. Galderisi, Michael Lyons, and Marni Ezra (Lanham, Md.:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), pp. 62-76. In this chapter, “Campaign Finance in U.S. House Primary and General Elections,” Jay Goodliffe and David B. Magleby examine how money and electoral competitiveness influence the results of U.S. House primary and general elections.

The authors question the usefulness of primaries in keeping incumbents accountable and creating competitive elections. According to the chapter, close primaries involving incumbents usually seem to result from a combination of two circumstances:  “(1) the incumbent appeared to be vulnerable; and (2) a challenger was able to provide significant funding for his or her own campaign.” They note that primaries add significant costs to a campaign and “create a general disincentive for candidates to run.” If anything, primary elections where an out-party candidate challenges the incumbent result in the reduced likeliness of out-party candidates, decreasing the incentive for incumbents to remain accountable.

Filed Under: Uncategorized, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions

Who’s Buying Campaign Finance ‘Reform’?

The American Conservative Union (ACU) commissioned this report, Who’s Buying Campaign Finance Reform? to shed light on where the anti-First Amendment, campaign ‘reform’ movement gets its money and what its leaders, followers and funders really want for America. What we present here are some facts: the campaign finance reform ‘campaign’ is controlled and financed by liberal foundations and wealthy donors to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, with a decidedly liberal public policy agenda on substantive issues.

Filed Under: Uncategorized, Other, Other

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.