A previous version of this article was presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC. We wish to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions during the review process. Likewise, we appreciate the many helpful comments given by Walt Stone, Bob Jackson, Tom Carsey, Gary Jacobson, and Chris Reenock on earlier drafts of this article. The article has benefited substantially from their feedback.
Assessing the “Experience Bonus” Through Examining Strategic Entry, Candidate Quality, and Campaign Receipts in U.S. House Elections
Article first published online: 9 JUL 2008
©2008, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 52, Issue 3, pages 520–535, July 2008
How to Cite
Maestas, C. D. and Rugeley, C. R. (2008), Assessing the “Experience Bonus” Through Examining Strategic Entry, Candidate Quality, and Campaign Receipts in U.S. House Elections. American Journal of Political Science, 52: 520–535. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00327.x
- Issue published online: 9 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 9 JUL 2008
This article examines nonincumbent fundraising through the lens of two theories that have not been applied in other studies of fundraising—strategic candidate entry and ambitious amateur candidates—to test whether candidates with prior office experience are advantaged in raising funds for U.S. House campaigns. A selection model that takes into account the strategic entry of strong candidates demonstrates that electoral experience matters for only a select subset of experienced candidates. In contrast to previous research, the results show that much of the fundraising difference between amateurs and experienced candidates can be attributed to a selection process where the strongest candidates seek the best races. The results have implications for how we understand the relative importance of various conditions that shape fundraising. Competitive local or national conditions that encourage strong candidacies also allow nonincumbents to accumulate sufficient funds to mount credible campaigns.