Professional Networks, Early Fundraising, and Electoral Success

Election Law Journal, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2016

Date Written: December 28, 2016


The academic literature has generally found the effect of money on election outcomes to be marginal. This is likely because they have looked in the wrong places. The literature has yet to examine the effects of early fundraising on election outcomes in partisan primaries, which are increasingly where candidates are being selected. This paper investigates both the determinants and effects of early fundraising on candidate selection. It finds that professional networks strongly influence early fundraising outcomes, which in turn advantages candidates from certain professions -- particularly lawyers. Given the findings, I discuss the implications for reform and propose funding political scholarships as a mechanism to correct for representational imbalances.

Keywords: Primary Elections, Early Fundraising, Professional Networks, Representation

Suggested Citation

Bonica, Adam, Professional Networks, Early Fundraising, and Electoral Success (December 28, 2016). Election Law Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Adam Bonica (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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