Campaign Contributions in State Court Elections

40 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014

See all articles by Brent D. Boyea

Brent D. Boyea

University of Texas at Arlingtion

Date Written: 2014


While prior studies have evaluated candidate performance in gathering donations, this research asks which incentives (or disincentives) encourage or discourage individual contributors to donate money to down-ballot state supreme court election campaigns. Building upon existing theories of political fundraising and candidate success in state court elections, this study evaluates individual level contributions from 2000 through 2012 in states using judicial elections. This analysis anticipates that contributions from individuals vary by the design of elections, the electoral environment of states, and by features associated with specific races and the candidates participating in those elections. The results suggest that partisan versus nonpartisan designs of state court elections affect the ability of candidates to raise money, as does the number of judicial positions in a district and races affecting the position of chief justice position. Most important for this study, the results show the features of candidates, including those with the greatest probability of success, create differential capabilities for candidates to raise money. While electoral and institutional environments affect fundraising performance, yet are beyond the control of candidates, the characteristics of candidates including prior success and electoral performance are important determinants of a judicial candidate’s ability to raise money.

Keywords: elections, contributions, judicial politics. judicial elections, behavior

Suggested Citation

Boyea, Brent D., Campaign Contributions in State Court Elections (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Brent D. Boyea (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Arlingtion ( email )

Department of Political Science
601 S. Nedderman Drive, Box 19539
Arlington, TX 76019
United States
817-272-5449 (Phone)


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