Candidate Recruitment and Party Networks: How the Characteristics and Choices of Local Party Leaders Affect Women’s Representation

32 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 17 Aug 2011

Melody Crowder-Meyer

Sewanee: The University of the South

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

In this paper, I examine how local party leaders’ beliefs and decisions about recruitment influence the gender of candidates they run in local elections. I use unique data from my 2008 survey of thousands of county party leaders nationwide and my interviews of party leaders to demonstrate that recruitment can enhance or inhibit the proportion of female candidates depending on party leader behavior. I test whether the choices party leaders make about where to look for candidates affect the gender of the candidates they find. I find that party leaders who seek candidates using insular recruitment networks recruit fewer women than those who use a broader network of groups and other contacts. My findings reveal differences between Democratic and Republican leaders in the recruitment networks they use, and differences between male and female party leaders in the ways in which leader beliefs and choices affect women candidates’ recruitment.

Suggested Citation

Crowder-Meyer, Melody, Candidate Recruitment and Party Networks: How the Characteristics and Choices of Local Party Leaders Affect Women’s Representation (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901327

Melody Crowder-Meyer (Contact Author)

Sewanee: The University of the South ( email )

735 University Ave.
Sewanee, TN 37383-1000
United States

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