Why Do Experienced Challengers Do Better than Amateurs?

Why Do Experienced Challengers Do Better than Amateurs? Politically experienced challengers are more successful in seeking political office than amateurs. The relationship is found so regularly that political experience has become the standard ex ante indicator of challenger quality in studies of American elections. Despite this, little work has investigated why experienced challengers are so successful. Many scholars attribute the relationship to inherent differences between experienced challengers and amateurs: experienced challengers have stronger electoral skills and greater access to material resources. I argue that these differences play a role, but an indirect one. Rather, experienced challengers are lead by both their resource advantage and the high amount of risk they are exposed to in seeking office to run in races in which their party has a good chance of winning. Thus, the direct cause of the experienced challengers’ success is self-selection into winnable races. Empirical analysis supports the self-selection model over a model in which resources directly lead to success. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Why Do Experienced Challengers Do Better than Amateurs?

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-007-9046-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Politically experienced challengers are more successful in seeking political office than amateurs. The relationship is found so regularly that political experience has become the standard ex ante indicator of challenger quality in studies of American elections. Despite this, little work has investigated why experienced challengers are so successful. Many scholars attribute the relationship to inherent differences between experienced challengers and amateurs: experienced challengers have stronger electoral skills and greater access to material resources. I argue that these differences play a role, but an indirect one. Rather, experienced challengers are lead by both their resource advantage and the high amount of risk they are exposed to in seeking office to run in races in which their party has a good chance of winning. Thus, the direct cause of the experienced challengers’ success is self-selection into winnable races. Empirical analysis supports the self-selection model over a model in which resources directly lead to success.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 28, 2007

References

  • Campaign war chests as a barrier to entry in congressional races
    Hersch, P. L.; McDougall, G. S.

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