Prospecting for (Campaign) Gold


  • Thanks to Luc Anselin, Steve Ansolabehere, Pierre Goovaerts, Carol Gotway, Don Green, Laura Hussey, John McNulty, and Lance Waller for helpful comments.

Wendy K. Tam Cho is associate professor of political science and statistics and senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 361 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801 ( James G. Gimpel is professor of political science, Department of Government. University of Maryland, 3140 Tydings Hall, College Park, MD 20742 (


Campaigns and political parties are faced with the immensely important practical challenge of financing their efforts. Raising money is instrumental to all other aims. In recent years, this task has been complicated by the need to enlist ever greater numbers of contributors to raise ever larger sums of money. At the same time, fundraising burdens are eased a bit because contributors flock together. That is, campaign contributing is a spatially dependent phenomenon, associated with affluence and the presence of networks. Accordingly, geospatial tools provide a helpful method for understanding and predicting where contributions can be most successfully mined.