Political Science Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
by
Cherie Maestas, Mary Jo Sheperd
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0199

Introduction

High-quality candidates for office are an essential ingredient for an effective democracy. At the most basic level, democracy is strongest when citizens have quality choices at the ballot box. However, candidate emergence provides an essential ingredient in a less obvious way. Strategic candidate emergence serves as a check in a democracy, as ambitious candidates keep a close eye on their prospects of winning—prospects that change in response to incumbent missteps, representation gaps, or shifts in economic or political conditions. This article is designed to provide an overview of the major foundational studies that explore the causes and consequences of candidacies in the United States and beyond. The earliest foundational research into candidate emergence focused first on the institutional structures that defined opportunities for office—a “political career ladder” created by incentives and opportunities for individuals to exercise their political ambitions—and later on developing formal models to explain candidate entry decisions. Candidates, scholars have argued, calculate an “expected utility model” in which they estimate the benefits they would receive from winning office, assess their chances of winning, and balance this against the costs of running. If the expected benefits outweigh the personal and financial costs associated with running, candidates enter the race. The canonical model directs scholarly attention toward understanding the institutional and contextual factors that shape candidates’ chances of winning and costs of running. As the section on Strategic Factors and Candidate Emergence shows, this approach has yielded a bounty of research. However, other scholars note that the calculations for entering a race only arise among those that already hold some level of ambition for political office. Ambition arises from a variety of sources related to socialization and political recruitment. The sections on Ambition for Office and Candidate Recruitment by Political Gatekeepers detail this literature. Both sections highlight gaps in ambition and representation of minorities and women, and many studies have sought to understand the institutional and sociopolitical sources of such gaps (see Gender, Candidate Recruitment, Emergence, and Success and Race, Ambition, and Candidate Emergence). Finally, candidacies matter greatly for democratic outcomes, both in terms of creating a mechanism for democratic accountability for parties in office, the demographic biases in legislative institutions, and for how ambitions shape political choices among office holders (see Consequences of Ambition and Candidate Emergence for Political Accountability, Ambition, Candidate Emergence, and Representative Behavior in Office, and Demand and Supply Explanations for Biases in Group Representation). The section Data Sources on Candidates and Candidate Emergence highlights sources of election data and survey data that scholars might use to study candidacies in the US context.

Foundational Studies

These works were selected to give readers an overview of the core theories and case studies that motivated later scholarship in the field. At the aggregate level, Jacobson and Kernell 1983 were the first to articulate how strategic candidate entry creates a mechanism for democratic accountability as pools of ambitious, high-quality potential candidates respond to changing political and economic tides. At the individual level, Schlesinger 1966 was the first to define a theory of political ambition linking personal ambition to a “political opportunity structure”—a hierarchy of offices through which officeholders progress from local or state offices to national office—and show how opportunity structures and party systems work in tandem to encourage different types of ambition. Black 1972 and Rohde 1979 drew upon Schlesinger’s insights to formalize an individual-level model of progressive ambition rooted in rational choice expected utility theory. Black 1972 provided the first formalization a “rational office-seeker model” in which potential candidates take into account the probability of winning higher office, the benefits associated with holding the office, and the costs of obtaining the office. Rohde 1979 brought additional precision to the expected utility model in order to predict which US House members would seek higher office. These models have defined much of the field of study by directing scholarly attention to how institutions and electoral context shape the factors considered by potential candidates (see Strategic Factors and Candidate Emergence and Factors that Influence the Financial and Personal Costs of Running for Office). Several foundational works, such as Fowler and McClure 1990 and Kazee 1994 highlighted the importance of studying qualified individuals who chose not to run to better understand how contextual, personal, and institutional factors shaped decisions to run. Both books use a systematic case-study approach with extensive interviews. While both find support for the factors included in the rational choice model, they also highlight the highly personal intrinsic costs and benefits and biases of subjective perceptions in situations of uncertainty. Both paint a picture of self-starting candidates who are highly sensitive to their perceptions of their chances of winning (partly determined by their perceptions of support from interests, parties, and their families), and who express concerns about the challenges of running a campaign. Most studies focus on officeholders, but Canon 1990 was the first book to explicitly explore the causes and consequences of amateurs running for office. Moncrief, et al. 2001 serves as the foundational work in understanding how institutions and state-level context interact to shape the recruitment and emergence of state legislative candidates. For a rich overview of the foundational literature, see Fowler 1993.

  • Black, Gordon S. “A Theory of Political Ambition: Career Choices and the Role of Structural Incentives.” American Political Science Review 66.1 (1972): 144–155.

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    Original articulation of the “rational office-seeker” where running for office occurs when the probability of winning times the benefits of office exceeds the costs of obtaining office. Ties costs of running and chances of winning to political structure. Tests theory using data from city council members in San Francisco.

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    • Canon, David T. Actors, Athletes, and Astronauts: Political Amateurs in the United States Congress. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

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      First comprehensive study of amateur candidates. Develops a typology of amateurism that forms the bases of subsequent theoretical explanations of the decision to run for office. This study offers a counterpoint to traditional ambition theory which focuses exclusively on progressive ambition among officeholders.

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      • Fowler, Linda L. Candidates, Congress, and the American Democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993.

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        Rich overview of the importance of candidates for democratic representation in the United States, highlighting factors that influence why individuals run for Congress. Chapter 3 provides and especially insightful review of the seminal literature in this research area.

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        • Fowler, Linda L., and Robert D. McClure. Political Ambition: Who Decides to Run for Congress. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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          Detailed case study of potential candidates in a single district (NY-30) provides insights that motivated subsequent studies in the field. Focus is on “unseen candidates” who never emerged. Emphasizes personal costs of running, the intersection of ambition and recruitment, informal advisors, and biases in assessing the political environment.

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          • Jacobson, Gary C., and Samuel Kernell. Strategy and Choice in Congressional Elections. 2d ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983.

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            Foundational work showing evidence that representation occurs through the strategic entry choices of candidates rather than retrospective assessments by voters. As national economic and political tides shift, strategic quality candidates emerge to run vigorous campaigns and draw votes away from incumbents in office.

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            • Kazee, Thomas A. Who Runs for Congress: Ambition, Context and Candidate Emergence. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1994.

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              Develops a general framework for studying candidate emergence in US House districts using systematic case studies and interview techniques. Notable for the inclusion of non-officeholders. Highlights how contextual and personal considerations interact to shape potential candidate decisions. Richly detailed comparison of decision making in districts representing different electoral contexts.

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              • Moncrief, Gary F., Peverill Squire, and Malcolm E. Jewell. Who Runs for the Legislature? Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.

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                First in-depth analysis of candidate recruitment and emergence in state legislatures. Examines the state-level factors that influence candidate entry, including party recruitment, personal and financial costs of running, electoral rules, and competition. Combines quantitative evidence with qualitative case studies.

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                • Rohde, David. “Risk Bearing and Progressive Ambition: The Case of Members of the United States House of Representatives.” American Journal of Political Science 23.1 (1979): 1–26.

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                  Brings precision to Black’s expected utility model by focusing only on progressive ambition where the decision process requires comparison between the expected utilities of the current office and the higher office. Applies model to US House members to predict whether they ran for Senate or governorship.

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                  • Schlesinger, Joseph A. Ambition and Politics: Political Careers in the United States. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1966.

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                    Seminal work. Defines three types of ambition: progressive ambition for higher office, static ambition to retain same office, and discrete ambition to serve a limited term and return to private life and shows how each relates to the “political opportunity structure”—the institutional hierarchy of political offices and electoral opportunities.

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                    Strategic Factors and Candidate Emergence

                    This section examines strategic candidate emergence from the perspective of the rational candidate model in which candidates enter races when they perceive their expected benefits of office to outweigh the costs of running. It is subdivided into two sections, Extending and Testing Rational Choice Models of Candidate Emergence, which focuses on how rational choice explanations have developed over time and are tested empirically, and National and Local Influences on Emergence of Candidates, which explores the role of national tides, incumbent, and district factors in shaping strategic candidate entry (see also Foundational Studies).

                    Extending and Testing Rational Choice Models of Candidate Emergence

                    Early studies of ambition and candidacies took as a give the assumption that politicians were rational seekers of office – they sought offices they thought they could attain (see Black 1972 and Schlesinger 1966, cited under Foundational Studies). Black 1972 (cited under Foundational Studies), built upon Schlesinger 1966 (cited under Foundational Studies) to articulate a rational candidate model in which individuals seek office when the probable gains from winning exceed the costs: U = p(B)-C, where U is the expected utility of running, p is the probability of winning office, B is the benefit of holding office, and C represents the costs of running. Rohde 1979 argues that progressive ambition for higher office depended upon a utility comparison between one’s current office and potential higher offices. Candidate emergence only occurs when expected utility of an alternative office exceeds the current. Kiewiet and Zeng 1993 notes that the comparison must also include the expected utility of retiring from office as well as the utility of running for reelection or seeking higher office. Carson, et al. 2007 extends the basic model to include an extra term that represents support from parties in the event of a loss. They argue and find evidence that, historically, parties encouraged broader emergence by providing candidates with “insurance” in the form of support guarantees such as patronage jobs to offset the risks and costs of running. Stone, et al. 2004 subdivides the “benefit” term into two components, the personal benefits from holding office, and the loss of benefits from defeating a good quality incumbent. Maestas, et al. 2006 showed that the rational candidate model applies only to those who meet a threshold level of ambition for higher office. These studies, along with Stone and Maisel 1997 provide the first broad-based empirical tests of the mechanisms underlying the rational choice expected utility model using data from potential candidates, something that cannot be fully tested using only data from officeholders. Banks and Kiewiet 1989 develops a strategic game-theory model that predicts low-quality challengers to be more likely to challenge an opposite party incumbent because their chances of winning their own party nomination is higher than if they wait for an open seat. Carson 2005 develops a strategic interaction model in which potential candidates and incumbents anticipate the actions of the other when choosing whether to run. Some articles in this section are fairly technical; however, all fully explain the results of their mathematical models and statistical results in clear language and so are suitable for most readers.

                    • Banks, Jeffrey S., and D. Roderick Kiewiet. “Explaining Patterns of Candidate Competition in Congressional Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 33.4 (1989): 997–1015.

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                      Develops a formal theory to explain the logic of why weak (inexperienced) challengers run against incumbents rather than waiting to run in an open seat. Helps place the potential candidate decision in a broader context of choosing between entering an immediate race versus a later race.

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                      • Carson, Jamie L. “Strategy, Selection, and Candidate Competition in U.S. House and Senate Elections.” The Journal of Politics 67.1 (2005): 1–28.

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                        Develops a strategic interaction model in which incumbents and potential challengers incorporate expectations about whether each will run. Examines challenger response to incumbent vulnerability and to their position taking in office. Technical article but also provides readable overview of strategic candidate research.

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                        • Carson, Jamie L., Erik J. Engstrom, and Jason M. Roberts. “Candidate Quality, the Personal Vote, and the Incumbency Advantage in Congress.” American Political Science Review 101.2 (2007): 289–301.

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                          Extends the strategic candidate entry model to include an “insurance” term in which the party can encourage high-quality strategic candidacies by offering them patronage or future opportunities should they run and lose. Ties ballot control of parties to candidate emergence in period from 1872–1900. Accessible to lay readers.

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                          • Kiewiet, D. Roderick, and Langche Zeng. “An Analysis of Congressional Career Decisions, 1947–1986.” American Political Science Review 87.4 (1993): 928–941.

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                            Develops and extends the expected utility model to simultaneously account for two career choices: run for reelection versus retire, versus run for higher office. Finds that structural opportunities, particularly redistricting, shapes the decisions of officeholders. Also considers effects of personal characteristics and opportunity costs. Moderately technical.

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                            • Maestas, Cherie, Sarah A. Fulton, L. Sandy Maisel, and Walter J. Stone. “When to Risk it? Institutions, Ambitions, and the Decision to Run for the U.S. House.” American Political Science Review 100 (2006): 195–208.

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                              Extends Rohde’s model of progressive ambition to explain progressive ambition and office seeking among state legislators. Uses survey data from state legislators in sample of US House districts and finds that ambition is a distinct prior stage that conditions whether strategic factors influence the choice to enter a race. Accessible to lay readers.

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                              • Rohde, David. “Risk Bearing and Progressive Ambition: The Case of Members of the United States House of Representatives.” American Journal of Political Science 23.1 (1979): 1–26.

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                                Develops simple mathematical model of progressive ambition of legislators where decisions depend on comparison between the expected utilities of the current office and the higher office. Applies model to US House members to predict whether they ran for Senate or governorship.

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                                • Stone, Walter J., and L. Sandy Maisel. “Determinants of Candidate Emergence in U.S. House Elections: An Exploratory Study.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 22.1 (1997): 79–96.

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                                  First survey-based analysis of US House potential candidates’ decision process. Examines their perceptions of chances of winning, perceptions about district, and perceptions of personal costs and benefits of running. Precursor to the Candidate Emergence Study (see Data Sources on Candidates and Candidate Emergence).

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                                  • Stone, Walter, L. Sandy Maisel, and Cherie Maestas. “Quality Counts: Extending the Strategic Politician Model of Incumbent Deterrence.” American Journal of Political Science 48 (2004): 479–495.

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                                    Decomposes the “benefits” of holding office into the positive personal benefits of holding office and the negative “loss of benefits” from defeating an incumbent who is a quality representative. Shows that incumbent valence serves as a deterrent to high-quality potential candidates.

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                                    National and Local Influences on Emergence of Candidates

                                    This focus of this subsection is on how local (district and incumbent) factors and national factors (broader political and economic partisan tides) shape the incentives for potential candidates to enter a race. Jacobson 1989 (see also Jacobson and Kernell 1983, cited under Foundational Studies) explain how national political and economic tides shape national party outcomes through influencing the decision calculus of many individual potential candidates for office. Rogers 2015 offers an important caveat to this perspective by showing how in a federalist democracy, cross-pressures from state and national tides can make candidate decisions complicated and may blunt the effects of national tides. Others have questioned the degree to which national tides trump local district conditions, particularly if an incumbent is running. Krasno and Green 1988 shows that high-quality candidates are deterred from entering a race by incumbents. This finding holds even defining “quality candidates” broadly to take into account many different types of quality. Stone and Maisel 2003 directly examines potential candidates’ perceptions of their joint chances of winning the nomination and the general election and demonstrate that such chances depend strongly on whether an incumbent is running. Cox and Katz 1996, in their highly cited article, suggest that the reason incumbents are advantaged in winning elections is due partly to their ability to ward off high-quality challengers. Ashworth and Bueno de Mesquita 2008 develops a formal theory that draws from this logic and shows how strategic decisions by potential challengers contribute to the advantages of incumbents. Using simulations, they are able to show that costs of running, district competitiveness, and national tides moderate the strength of incumbency advantages by altering the decisions of strategic candidates. Although most research attributes incumbency advantages to their strengths as campaigners and fundraisers, Stone, et al. 2004 argues that incumbent qualities that make the good representatives also deter potential challengers. This offers a considerably broader view of the definition of candidate quality and ties it to normative democratic values. Finally, Hetherington, et al. 2003 argues that the decennial process of redistricting shapes potential candidates’ certainty about incumbent prospects and show that challengers are most likely to emerge soon after redistricting when uncertainty about incumbents’ chances of winning is greatest (see also Institutional Factors Shaping Ambition and Candidate Emergence).

                                    • Ashworth, Scott, and Ethan Bueno de Mesquita. “Electoral Selection, Strategic Challenger Entry, and the Incumbency Advantage.” The Journal of Politics 70.4 (2008): 1006–1025.

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                                      Formal theory. Examines role of strategic candidate entry in creating electoral advantages for incumbents. Uses mathematical model to compare the theoretical effects of national tides and electoral composition. Technical article but clear descriptions of results and implications for candidacies.

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                                      • Cox, Gary W., and Jonathan N. Katz. “Why Did Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House Grow?” American Journal of Political Science 40.2 (1996): 478–497.

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                                        Classic and well-cited article that attributes the growth in incumbency advantage to both a “scare-off” effect and a “quality” effect in which the proportion of incumbents challenged by high-quality candidates has declined over time and the resulting quality difference between the incumbent and challenger benefits the incumbent.

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                                        • Krasno, Jonathan S., and Donald P. Green. “Preempting Quality Challengers in House Elections.” The Journal of Politics 50.4 (1988): 920–936.

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                                          Offers an expanded definition of challenger quality that distinguishes among qualities of non-office-holding challengers. Takes into account prior experience running but not winning, holding non-elective office, political activism, and celebrity status. Finds that incumbents with strong vote margins deter entry of strong challengers.

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                                          • Hetherington, Marc J., Bruce Larson, and Suzanne Globetti. “The Redistricting Cycle and Strategic Candidate Decisions in U.S. House Races.” The Journal of Politics 65.4 (2003): 1221–1234.

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                                            Highlights how redistricting introduces uncertainty about the incumbent prospects of winning, thereby encouraging strategic candidates to enter a race. Finds that the effects of redistricting interact with local and national conditions, and that the effect of local and national conditions are greatest in elections just after redistricting.

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                                            • Jacobson, Gary C. “Strategic Politicians and the Dynamics of United States House Elections, 1946–1986.” American Political Science Review 83.3 (1989): 773–793.

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                                              Foundational study finds evidence that the strategic decisions of quality (experienced) candidates who enter races when they have the best chance of winning is the mechanism through which national economic and political conditions generate partisan shifts in government.

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                                              • Rogers, Steven. “Strategic Challenger Entry in a Federal System: The Role of Economic and Political Conditions in State Legislative Competition.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 40.4 (2015): 539–570.

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                                                Highlights the cross-pressures in national and state political tides that occur when governor and president are from opposite parties. Shows how federalist structure makes candidate entry choices more complicated, potentially blunting national tide effects. Good overview of challenger entry research at the state legislative level.

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                                                • Stone, Walter J., and L. Sandy Maisel. “The Not-so-simple Calculus of Winning: Potential U.S. House Candidates’ Nomination and General Election Prospects.” The Journal of Politics 65.4 (2003): 951–977.

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                                                  Highlights the connection between district partisanship and potential candidates’ chances of winning. The overall chances of winning the seat are the product of chances of winning nomination and chances of winning the general. Districts that maximize this product are those that are balanced between the two parties.

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                                                  • Stone, Walter, L. Sandy Maisel, and Cherie Maestas. “Quality Counts: Extending the Strategic Politician Model of Incumbent Deterrence.” American Journal of Political Science 48 (2004): 479–495.

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                                                    Notable for its broadened definition of incumbent quality to include personal and performance quality rather than just strategic strength in winning campaigns. Shows that potential candidates value personal quality of the incumbent and are less likely to run against incumbents who are seen as strong on this dimension.

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                                                    Candidate Emergence and Representation

                                                    This section examines the effect of candidate emergence on democratic outcomes and representation by a diverse population. It is divided into three sections, Consequences of Ambition and Candidate Emergence for Political Accountability, which explores how incentives that encourage candidate emergence serve as a mechanism for aggregate political accountability, Ambition, Candidate Emergence, and Representative Behavior in Office focusing on how ambition for office shape representative behavior of those in office, and Demand and Supply Explanations for Biases in Group Representation focusing on how demand and supply factors for candidates affects the descriptive representation by race, gender, income, and urban/rural divides. For a broad overview of early literature on the link between candidacies and democratic outcomes, see Fowler 1993, particularly chapters 1 and 6.

                                                    • Fowler, Linda. Candidates, Congress, and the American Democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993.

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                                                      Provides a broad overview of the field of study of candidacies in the US Congress and their consequences for democratic outcomes including participation, descriptive representation, and substantive representation. See especially chapters 1 and 6.

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                                                      Consequences of Ambition and Candidate Emergence for Political Accountability

                                                      This selection of readings connect ambition and the decision-calculus of potential candidates to broader concerns of representation and democracy. Perhaps most foundational to this research is Jacobson and Kernell 1983, which ties individual-level strategic decisions of ambitious potential candidates to broader patterns of national representation and political accountability. They argue that the micro-foundations of democracy lie in the choices made by high-quality candidates to enter or wait depending on national political and economic shifts. As tides turn against the party in power, many strong candidates from the opposition emerge while some weakened incumbents retire. Jacobson 1989 explores this logic empirically and shows that shifts in economic fortunes draw a disproportionate share of strong candidates from the party favored by the economic shift. Thus, the individual choices of potential candidates in response to broader shifts create aggregate accountability. One concern that scholars have explored is whether incumbents are uniquely advantaged, electorally, by their position in office. If so, such advantages reduce incentives to attract quality challengers that potentially blunt the mechanisms for aggregate representation and accountability. Key works exploring incumbency advantage include: Cox and Katz 1996, a study that decomposes the incumbency advantage into “scare-off” and “quality” effects; Abramowitz, et al. 2006 considers whether declining US House competition results primarily from incumbency advantage, redistricting, or polarization; Carson, et al. 2007 explores the influence of early political institutions in creating incumbency advantages. For an alternative view of incumbency advantage and representation, however, see Stone, et al. 2010. They identify and test specific micro-foundations of this argument but extend the theory to consider whether incumbents’ representation quality (valence) also shapes incumbents’ prospects of winning/running and candidate entry decisions. The key implication of their work for the study of democracy is that high reelection rates may indicate, counterintuitively, quality democratic representation as challengers are unlikely to emerge when incumbents are high quality. In this light, as Jacobson and Kernell 1983 points out, voters need not have sophisticated political knowledge to hold government accountable. Instead, they simply respond to the quality of the candidates in their local race, which results from myriad strategic candidate entry decisions. A formal theory developed in Gordon, et al. 2007 builds from this logic, arguing that the emergence of a strong candidate serves as an informative cue to voters about incumbent performance.

                                                      • Abramowitz, Alan, Brad Alexander, and Matthew Gunning. “Incumbency, Redistricting, and the Decline of Competition in the U.S. House Elections.” The Journal of Politics 68.1 (2006): 75–88.

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                                                        Offers a broader look at the issue of declining competition in US House races with an eye toward explaining how various factors such as district partisanship, campaign finance advantages, and incumbency advantage work in tandem to reduce the number of competitive House districts. Fewer competitive districts means fewer incentives for representatives in office to seek compromise across party lines.

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                                                        • Cox, Gary W., and Jonathan N. Katz. “Why Did Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House Grow?” American Journal of Political Science 40.2 (1996): 478–497.

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                                                          Classic and well-cited article that attributes the growth in incumbency advantage to both a “scare-off” effect and a “quality” effect in which the proportion of incumbents challenged by high-quality candidates has declined over time and the resulting quality difference between the incumbent and challenger benefits the incumbent.

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                                                          • Carson, Jamie L., Erik J. Engstrom, and Jason M. Roberts. “Candidate Quality, the Personal Vote, and the Incumbency Advantage in Congress.” American Political Science Review 101.2 (2007): 289–301.

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                                                            Explores the growth of the incumbency advantage over time in 19th-century politics and the connection between incumbency advantages, electoral institutions, and candidate emergence. Ties ballot control of parties to candidate emergence in period from 1872–1900. Accessible to lay readers.

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                                                            • Gordon, Sanford C., Gregory A. Huber, and Dimitri Landa. “Challenger Entry and Voter Learning.” American Political Science Review 2 (May 2007): 303–320.

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                                                              Formal (mathematical) theory argues that challenger entry sends an informative signal to voters about the performance of the incumbent and identifies a number of important testable hypotheses for scholars to build upon.

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                                                              • Jacobson, Gary C. “Strategic Politicians and the Dynamics of United States House Elections, 1946–1986.” American Political Science Review 83.3 (1989): 773–793.

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                                                                Shows evidence over time that national economic and political conditions generate partisan shifts in government through encouraging more high-quality candidates from the “out-party” to run for the House.

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                                                                • Jacobson, Gary C., and Samuel Kernell. Strategy and Choice in Congressional Elections. 2d ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983.

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                                                                  Foundational work showing evidence that representation occurs through the strategic entry choices of candidates rather than retrospective assessments by voters. As national economic and political tides shift, strategic quality candidates emerge to run vigorous campaigns that engage voters and draw votes away from incumbents in office.

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                                                                  • Stone, Walter J., Sarah A. Fulton, Cherie D. Maestas, and L. Sandy Maisel. “Incumbency Reconsidered: Prospects, Strategic Retirement, and Incumbent Quality in U.S. House Elections.” The Journal of Politics 72.1 (2010): 178–190.

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                                                                    Tests and extends research on incumbency, strategic retirement, and candidate entry to identify how incumbent qualities valued by voters shape incumbent prospects of winning which, in turn, shape the entry decisions of strong potential candidates and election outcomes. Highlights the importance of candidacy decisions for democratic outcomes.

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                                                                    Ambition, Candidate Emergence, and Representative Behavior in Office

                                                                    This section highlights studies that demonstrate how ambitions for office influence the behavior of legislators while in office. Maestas 2003 investigates how ambitions identified in Schlesinger’s typology motivates representatives to stay in touch and keep informed of constituent preferences—a necessary precondition for representation (see also Foundational Studies). Herrick and Moore 1993 extends Schlesinger’s ambition typology to include intra-institutional ambition for leadership positions and demonstrates that progressive ambitions and intra-institutional ambitions both lead to greater (but different) activity than static ambition. Meserve, et al. 2007 advances a similar argument in the context of the European Union Parliament, finding that MEPs who hold ambition for higher offices in their home countries are less supportive of expanding EU authority than those who are ambitious for higher leadership positions within the EU Parliament. Finally, Micozzi 2014 examines what happens to cooperative legislative behavior when the career ladder runs from national to local and regional offices.

                                                                    • Fowler, Linda. Candidates, Congress, and the American Democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993.

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                                                                      Provides a broad overview of the field of study of candidacies in the US Congress and their consequences for democratic outcomes including participation, descriptive representation, and substantive representation. See especially chapters 1 and 6.

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                                                                      • Herrick, Rebecca, and Michael K. Moore. “Political Ambition’s Effect on Legislative Behavior—Schlesinger Typology Reconsidered and Revised.” The Journal of Politics 55.3 (1993): 765–776.

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                                                                        Shows legislative behavior differs depending upon the target of their ambition. Defines an additional ambition typology—intra-institutional ambition, a desire for institutional leadership positions. Finds progressively ambitious members are more active at position taking activities while intra-institutionally ambitious members show greater party support.

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                                                                        • Maestas, Cherie. “The Incentive to Listen: Progressive Ambition, Resources, and Opinion Monitoring Among State Legislators.” The Journal of Politics 65.2 (2003): 439–456.

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                                                                          Uses survey data to test whether legislators with ambitions for higher office are more likely to seek opinions of their constituents. Finds positive effects are magnified in legislatures with full-time salaries, staff, and other resources. Suggests that ambition enhances conditions necessary for democratic representation.

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                                                                          • Meserve, Stephan A., Daniel Pemstein, and William T. Bernhard. “Political Ambition and Legislative Behavior in the European Parliament.” The Journal of Politics 71.3 (2007): 1015–1032.

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                                                                            Shows the importance of ambition for a national office versus an EU leadership post in the roll call behavior of members of the EU Parliament. Those with ambitions for national office are less supportive of broad EU authority, and the effect is greatest as national elections draw near.

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                                                                            • Micozzi, Juan Pablo. “Alliance for Progress? Multilevel Ambition and Patterns of Cosponsorship in the House.” Comparative Political Studies 47.8 (2014): 1186–1208.

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                                                                              Traces effects of “progressive ambition” of national legislators who hope to win local or regional offices on legislative co-sponsorships and find that aspirants for a governorship are more likely to cosponsor but not aspirants to local office. Shows role of ambition in legislative cooperation.

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                                                                              Demand and Supply Explanations for Biases in Group Representation

                                                                              Representation of diverse demographic and ideological groups in elective office cannot occur unless candidates from such groups are willing to run for office. This section focuses on the consequences of biases in candidate emergence for representation in office of different groups in society (for discussion of candidate entry decisions among members of underrepresented groups, see Gender, Candidate Recruitment, Emergence, and Success and Race, Ambition, and Candidate Emergence). Most studies point to two pathways that distort group representation in office—the “demand” for diverse candidates based on preferences of voters and the “supply” of diverse candidates arising from strategic entry choices of underrepresented groups. Demand side studies focus on how voter “prejudices” about group characteristics—both positive and negative—create either support or barriers for to their representation in office (see Norris and Lovenduski 1992). For example, Fulton 2012 and Fulton 2014 find that voter preferences work against female representation, as women have a 3 percent vote deficit compared to men when candidate valence characteristics are similar. Milyo and Schosberg 2000 finds an even greater vote deficit. Fox and Smith 1998 uses an experimental approach of university undergraduates to study latent bias against candidates and suggests that voter biases may have a regional or cultural component. Taken together, these studies suggest women must be of higher quality to garner equal vote support, thereby reducing the effective pool of female candidates. Supply-side studies focus on a combination of institutional and elite decision factors that shape the emergence of candidates apart from voter preferences. Although there is evidence of demand-side biases, many studies find the supply-side explanations trump demand-side explanations (see Carnes 2015, Norris and Lovenduski 1992, Juenke and Shah 2015, Shah 2014) although candidate entry decisions also depend on expectations about demand side factors. The authors of Norris and Lovenduski 1992 were early articulators of the demand and supply model of representation, tying representational biases to differences in ambition, resources, and party recruitment. The unique electoral process in Britain allows for a strong test of the demand versus supply model using a rich data set from surveys of candidates for office and party leaders (see Data Sources on Candidates and Candidate Emergence). Carnes 2015 studies representation of the working class. The author finds the supply of qualified potential candidates from among the working class is sufficient, but biases in gatekeeping and institutional barriers impede their entry into the candidate pipeline. Gimpel, et al. 2011 reveals a bias in representation of urban areas compared to rural in statewide offices, finding that the resources associated with urban areas lead to a larger pool of quality statewide candidates. Thomsen 2014 argues partisan polarization in congress is a function of candidate entry decisions where members of one party responds more strongly to electoral incentives than the other. Juenke and Shah 2015 provides the most recent and most comprehensive look at Latino candidate entry with a good review of other important studies. Shah 2014 focuses on similar supply-side explanations for underrepresentation of African Americans in office.

                                                                              • Carnes, Nicholas. “Why Are There so Few Working-class People in Political Office? Evidence from State Legislatures.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 4.1 (2015).

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                                                                                Describes supply and demand factors associated with underrepresentation of the working class and provides a comparative test using data from state legislatures. Finds that institutional barriers and political gatekeepers are more likely the cause of underrepresentation than the supply of qualified blue-collar potential candidates. Good discussion of implications for representation.

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                                                                                • Fox, Richard L., and Eric R. A. N. Smith. “The Role of Candidate Sex in Voter Decision-Making.” Political Psychology 19.2 (1998): 405–419.

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                                                                                  Contradicts earlier studies that found no bias against women by using an experiment to analyze the latent bias of undergraduates from two universities with different political ideologies. Tests student perceptions of female candidates and finds bias in demand for female candidates.

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                                                                                  • Fulton, Sarah H. “Running Backwards and in High Heels: The Gendered Quality Gap and Incumbent Electoral Success.” Political Research Quarterly 65.2 (2012): 303–314.

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                                                                                    Previous studies omitted candidate quality as a factor affecting voter preferences for female candidates. Importantly, including candidate quality gives visibility to potential voter bias and electoral success. Candidate quality differs for female and male candidates leading to differing election outcomes.

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                                                                                    • Fulton, Sarah H. “When Gender Matters: Macro-dynamics and Micro-mechanisms.” Political Behavior 36 (2014): 605–630.

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                                                                                      Considers whether candidate gender matters in general election outcomes and if so, when. Fulton tests who responds to gender and valence in voting/electoral outcomes replicating Fulton 2012 with more recent data. Looks also at individual-level data on who supports female candidates and when. This and the 2012 study has implications for patterns of gender representation in the US House.

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                                                                                      • Gimpel, James G., Frances E. Lee, and Rebecca U. Thorpe. “The Wellsprings of Candidate Emergence: Geographic Origins of Statewide Candidacies in the United States.” Political Geography 30.1 (2011): 25–37.

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                                                                                        Shows urban bias in the emergence of strong candidates for Senate and gubernatorial races during 1996–2006. Urban areas offer a diverse array of political and financial resources that help to stimulate political ambitions and enhance resources of prospective candidates. Good discussion of how political resources relate to place-based environments.

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                                                                                        • Juenke, Eric Gonzalez, and Paru Shah. “Not the Usual Story: The Effect of Candidate Supply on Models of Latino Descriptive Representation.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 3.3 (2015): 438–453.

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                                                                                          Provides a broad overview of research on Latino candidates and voters. Shows that Latino candidates are strategic in entering races where their chances of winning are greatest in districts with large co-ethnic population. The result is a supply-side bias in the number of Latino candidates seeking legislative office.

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                                                                                          • Milyo, Jeffrey, and Samantha Schosberg. “Gender Bias and Selection Bias in House Elections.” Public Choice 105 (2000): 41–59.

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                                                                                            Examines vote share and fundraising to estimate gender bias in US House races. This article highlights demand side factors that shape female representation related to both voters and donors. Finds that female candidates are generally of higher quality than male candidates yet still face disadvantages in the electoral arena.

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                                                                                            • Norris, Pippa, and Joni Lovenduski. “If Only More Candidates Came Forward: Supply-Side Explanations of Candidate Selection in Britain.” British Journal of Political Science 23.3 (1992): 373–408.

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                                                                                              British Candidate Study results from comparative test of how supply and demand factors influence recruitment of candidates and descriptive representation. Finds supply factors, including recruitment biases reduce the presence of female and minority candidates.

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                                                                                              • Shah, Paru. “It Takes a Black Candidate: A Supply-side Theory of Minority Representation.” Political Research Quarterly 67.2 (2014): 266–279.

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                                                                                                Develops theory to explain the emergence of black candidates for elective office. Finds that district characteristic (race, education, employment), electoral context (incumbency, prior black candidates), and level of office predict whether blacks are able to emerge as successful candidates. Highlights broader political and institutional factors that inhibit descriptive representation.

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                                                                                                • Thomsen, Danielle M. “Ideological Moderates Won’t Run: How Party-Fit Matters for Partisan Polarization in Congress.” The Journal of Politics 76.3 (2014): 786–797.

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                                                                                                  Ties supply of ideologically moderate candidates to under-representation of moderate voters. As the chances of winning decline for moderate candidates, the number of moderate state legislators running for higher office declines, leading to a more polarized legislature.

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                                                                                                  Ambition for Office

                                                                                                  This section focuses on broader studies of personal ambition for political office (see also Institutional Factors Shaping Ambition and Candidate Emergence). An early example of the study of factors that influence personal ambitions can be found in Fowler and McClure 1990 who examine the “unseen” candidates in one New York congressional district. The most comprehensive studies of ambition result from two major studies by Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox, the Citizen Political Ambition Panel Study, a survey of nearly 3,800 men and women from common eligibility pools (lawyers, educators, political activists, and business leaders) in 2001 with a follow up panel survey in 2008 (Fox and Lawless 2011, Lawless and Fox 2010) and their study of ambition among American youth in which they surveyed over 4,000 high school and college students (Lawless and Fox 2015). Lawless and Fox pay special attention to how and why ambition differs among men and women to better understand the undersupply of female candidates for office. They trace the lower levels of ambition among women primarily to socialization, differences in work/home roles, and differences in recruitment patterns (see also Gender, Candidate Recruitment, Emergence, and Success). In a later book, Lawless 2012, develops and tests separate theories for nascent ambition, a general engagement in politics and orientation favorable to a political career, and expressive ambition, the strategic choice to run. Maestas, et al. 2006 provides an earlier example of the theoretical and empirical distinction between these two stages, showing that only state legislators with a threshold level of general ambition go on to weigh the strategic factors surrounding a specific House race. Until recently, the formation of nascent ambition had been largely neglected by scholars, so Lawless and Fox 2015 fills this important gap by explaining the factors that encourage and discourage ambitions among America’s youth. They paint a troubling picture of youth ambitions for a political career: most youth view politics as unappealing and government as dysfunctional. They tie young Americans’ views and ambitions to the current political climate and political socialization. For an intimate view of young politicians, see Gaddie 2004: a fascinating book on the origins of political careers. He takes a participant-observation approach by joining nine first-time political candidates on the road as they run for office and uses their stories to highlight how their ambitions developed and changed over time. Gaddie 2004 and Lawless and Fox 2015 are both readable and well suited to lay audiences, particularly college-age audiences.

                                                                                                  • Fowler, Linda L., and Robert D. McClure. Political Ambition: Who Decides to Run for Congress. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                    Detailed case study of potential candidates in a single district (NY-30). Emphasizes personal costs of running, the intersection of ambition and recruitment, and the role of informal advisors in shaping ambitions.

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                                                                                                    • Fox, Richard L., and Jennifer L. Lawless. “Gaining and Losing Interest in Running for Public Office: The Concept of Dynamic Political Ambition.” The Journal of Politics 73.2 (2011): 443–462.

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                                                                                                      Well-developed quantitative study tracing ambition change at individual level. Draws upon a two-wave panel survey to study how perceptions of the political environment, political recruitment, personal circumstances, and political engagement influenced changes in ambitions to run from 2001 to 2008. Explores role of changes in candidate efficacy and political cynicism.

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                                                                                                      • Gaddie, Ronald Keith. Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career. Lanham, MD: Roman and Littlefield, 2004.

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                                                                                                        Reviews the extant literature on ambition and candidate emergence in chapters 1 and 2, then illustrates how structural, personal, and electoral contexts shaped ambitions and initial office bids for nine young politicians. Explores how ambition changes over time. Uses participant-observation and interviews. Richly insightful and accessible to non-academics.

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                                                                                                        • Lawless, Jennifer L. Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                          Divides ambition into two stages, nascent—the early interest in politics and a political career and expressive—the decision to run in a particular race. Surveys and interviews potential candidates from four professions: lawyers, business leaders, educators, activists. Especially strong in theorizing causes of nascent ambition.

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                                                                                                          • Lawless, Jennifer L., and Richard L. Fox. It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. Rev. ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511778797Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Offers the most comprehensive studies of political ambition. Draws from national panel surveys (2001 and 2008) and interviews, revealing important determinants of ambition for men and women. Women have lower ambition and belief in skills and ability to run, which stems partly from gender socialization and recruitment of political gatekeepers.

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                                                                                                            • Lawless, Jennifer L., and Richard L. Fox. Running from Office: Why Young Americans are Turned Off to Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

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                                                                                                              Major work investigating nascent ambitions of 4,000+ college and high-school students. Mix of surveys and interviews. Finds youth are uninterested in running for political offices due to current dysfunctional political context, negative perceptions of politicians and politics, and socialization. Offers suggestions to inspire ambitions among youth. Accessible and engaging read.

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                                                                                                              • Maestas, Cherie, Sarah A. Fulton, L. Sandy Maisel, and Walter J. Stone. “When to Risk it? Institutions, Ambitions, and the Decision to Run for the U.S. House.” American Political Science Review 100.2 (2006): 195–208.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0003055406062101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Shows ambition to be a distinct stage in the candidate emergence process that arises from attitudes about political offices, long-run prospects of winning, political recruitment, and assessments of costs of running. Highlights the importance of political ambitions for creating a responsive political system. Uses survey data from potential candidates.

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                                                                                                                Institutional Factors Shaping Ambition and Candidate Emergence

                                                                                                                Schlesinger 1966 tied the institutional hierarchy of offices in the United States to the strength and direction of ambitions for higher office. While Schlesinger conceived of offices with larger constituencies and those at the national office as being more desirable, others have challenged this idea. Berkman and Eisenstein 1999 finds that although holding office in a highly professional state legislature provides legislators with the campaign and fundraising skills to help them win higher office, it also represents an opportunity cost to seeking higher office, which can discourage legislators’ ambitions for higher office. Squire 1988 noted variations in institutional characteristics of legislatures makes some springboards to higher office while others encourage static career ambitions, and still others are dead ends to political careers. Notably, career ladders in other countries may run from national institutions to regional or municipal elective offices, as shown in Brazil in Samuels 2000. Together, these studies show that institutional incentives matter to ambition, but the story of how they do so is nuanced and complex (see also Ambition for Office). The legal environment that defines the boundaries of constituency, campaign finance laws, and ballot access laws matter substantially to ambition and candidate emergence (see Hamm and Hogan 2008). Cox and Katz 2002 serves as a seminal study in how laws pertaining to reapportionment and redistricting reshaped the political landscape for candidates considering a run for office. Carson, et al. 2011 shows that not only do boundaries for a single office matter but also important is how those boundaries are configured relative to other elective offices. State legislators whose districts overlap substantially with US House districts are much more likely to run for the House than those in districts with minimal overlap. Carson and Roberts 2013 traces how institutional changes to the House, elections, and districts shape the process of recruitment, career orientations, and candidate emergence for House races. See also Strategic Factors and Candidate Emergence.

                                                                                                                • Berkman, Michael, and James Eisenstein. “State Legislators as Congressional Candidates: The Effects of Prior Experience on Legislative Recruitment and Fundraising.” Political Research Quarterly 52 (1999): 481–498.

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                                                                                                                  Shows that serving in professionalized lower office encourages risk aversion that can deter potential candidates from running for higher office. Lower-level offices provide legislators with valuable skills and benefits but also increase opportunity costs associated giving up the current office. Thoughtful consideration of implications of career ladders.

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                                                                                                                  • Carson, Jamie L., Michael H. Crespin, Carrie P. Eaves, and Emily Wanless. “Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in U.S. House Elections.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 36.3 (2011): 461–480.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1939-9162.2011.00022.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    District boundaries determine the population overlap between lower office and higher office. Greater overlap encourages lower office candidates to seek higher office, especially in open seats, since the number of “new constituents” candidates need to win is smaller. Uses GIS to map overlap of state legislative and US House districts.

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                                                                                                                    • Carson, Jamie L., and Jason M. Roberts. Ambition, Competition, and Electoral Reform: The Politics of Congressional Elections Across Time. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.3998/mpub.5206069Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Comprehensive analysis of historical congressional elections (1874–1944) with a focus on how changes in the structure of Congress and the rules governing elections shaped the ambitions and strategic choices of candidates. Highlights role of party recruitment and how institutional chances influence recruitment activities.

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                                                                                                                      • Cox, Gary W., and Jonathan N. Katz. Elderbridge Gerry’s Salamander: The Electoral Consequences of the Reapportionment Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511606212Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Examines the impact of the changes in the legal environment and districting processes that emerged out of the 1960s reapportionment revolution on strategic candidate entry and career paths. See especially chapters 9 through 11.

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                                                                                                                        • Hamm, Keith E., and Robert E. Hogan. “Campaign Finance Laws and Candidacy Decisions in State Legislative Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 61.3 (2008): 458–467.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1177/1065912908314646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Examines effects of campaign finance laws and ballot access requirements (filing fees and signatures) on challenger emergence in state legislative elections. Challengers are more likely to emerge in states with low contribution limits and less restrictive ballot access requirements. Highlights role of election laws in shaping candidacies.

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                                                                                                                          • Samuels, David. “Ambition and Competition: Explaining Legislative Turnover in Brazil.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 25.3 (2000): 481–497.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/440417Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Explores how the structure and power associated with different level offices in Brazil shapes ambitions and how ambitions interact with electoral rules to influence candidate entry decisions and turnover in Brazil’s legislatures. Unlike the United States, “lower” regional or municipal offices are more attractive than the national legislature.

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                                                                                                                            • Schlesinger, Joseph A. Ambition and Politics: Political Careers in the United States. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1966.

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                                                                                                                              Argues that ambition arises from the structural opportunities that make office more or less attainable and examines how the hierarchy of offices differ across states creating different political career ladders.

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                                                                                                                              • Squire, Peverill. “Member Career Opportunities and the Internal Organization of Legislatures.” The Journal of Politics 50.3 (1988): 726–744.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/2131465Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Identifies characteristics of legislative organizations that incentivize discrete, static, and progressive ambitions of its members. Characterizes state legislative institutions as “dead-end,” “career,” and “spring-board.”

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                                                                                                                                Factors that Influence the Financial and Personal Costs of Running for Office

                                                                                                                                The costs of running for office shape ambitions for office as well as the decision to run. They are a function of both personal perceptions and institutional designs (see also Ambition for Office and Institutional Factors Shaping Ambition and Candidate Emergence). Lawless 2012 (chapter 8), provides a thorough discussion of how various personal and professional costs serve as deterrence to potential candidates, finding that fundraising, loss of privacy, negative campaigning, and loss of family time factor heavily into desire for a political career. Maestas, et al. 2006 tests the effects of family costs and campaign costs and finds that they influence general ambition for office but not the decision to run in a specific race. Only opportunity costs of leaving a current office influence the decision to run. Berkman and Eisenstein 1999 suggests such opportunity costs weigh more heavily on those serving in highly professional offices, but they also note that costs of running and managing a campaign for higher office are lower due to their experience running professionalized campaigns. Institutional costs arise from election laws that structure ballot access, set district boundaries, and limit campaign fundraising and spending. Ansolabehere and Gerber 1996 shows that states with higher costs of ballot access—filing fees and petition signatures—are less likely to have challengers in US House seats. Stratmann 2005 shows a similar result at the state legislative level. Hamm and Hogan 2008 examines the effects of campaign finance restrictions and ballot access laws on state legislative candidacies and finds that both alter the likelihood of challengers emerging. Like Stratmann 2005, they found that costly ballot access laws have a strong negative effect on minor and independent candidacies. Campaign finance laws that restrict contributions were associated with a greater likelihood of general election candidates emerging, presumably because this limits the war chests of incumbents. However, the effects of public funding were mixed, having negative effects on primary challengers and positive effects on general election challengers. This result is puzzling and invites further research. Bonneau and Cann 2011 finds that more restrictive campaign spending laws disadvantage challengers compared to incumbents, which suggests that spending restrictions act as a deterrent to candidates. Levy and Squire 2000 suggests that the costs to challengers of building name recognition during campaigning are lower when media boundaries align more closely with district boundaries.

                                                                                                                                • Ansolabehere, Stephen, and Alan Gerber. “The Effects of Filing Feels and Petition Requirements on U.S. House Elections.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 21.2 (1996): 249–264.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/440182Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Ballot access laws influence the monetary and time costs by requiring candidates pay fees or obtain registered voter signatures to be listed on the ballot. High state ballot access requirements decrease the likelihood a challenger emerges to contest a US House seat. Compares effects of fees versus signatures.

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                                                                                                                                  • Berkman, Michael, and James Eisenstein. “State Legislators as Congressional Candidates: The Effects of Prior Experience on Legislative Recruitment and Fundraising.” Political Research Quarterly 52 (1999): 481–498.

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                                                                                                                                    Lower level offices provide legislators with valuable fundraising networks and campaign skills that reduce costs of running but also increase opportunity costs associated giving up a desirable current office.

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                                                                                                                                    • Bonneau, Chris W., and Damon M. Cann. “Campaign Spending, Diminishing Marginal Returns, and Campaign Finance Restrictions in Judicial Elections.” The Journal of Politics 73.4 (2011): 1267–1280.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0022381611000934Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      State campaign finance restrictions affect the ability of different candidate types to raise and spend money and subsequently affect electoral outcomes. The marginal gains from spending are greater for challengers, so strict campaign finance laws make it more different for challenger to compete against incumbents.

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                                                                                                                                      • Hamm, Keith E., and Robert E. Hogan. “Campaign Finance Laws and Decisions in State Legislative Candidacy Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 61.3 (2008): 458–467.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1065912908314646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        A major cost of running is campaign funding. This article explores whether state laws limiting campaign fundraising or offer public financing increases likelihood of candidate emergence in state legislative elections. Both increase the likelihood of general election challengers. Suggests that finance laws alter costs of running and chances of winning.

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                                                                                                                                        • Lawless, Jennifer L. Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive book on candidate ambition and the decision to run. See chapter 8 on the deterrent effects of personal and financial costs on running for office. Personal factors such as loss of privacy and enduring a negative campaign are among strongest deterrents along with fundraising and loss of family time.

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                                                                                                                                          • Levy, Dena, and Peverill Squire. “Television Markets and the Competitiveness of U.S. House Elections.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 25.2 (2000): 313–325.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/440373Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Argues district boundary congruence with media markets reduces campaign costs and increases ability of challengers to reach voters. Challengers who run in districts with high congruency perform better against incumbents than those in fragmented media districts. Notable for considering how media markets serve as a resource for challengers.

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                                                                                                                                            • Maestas, Cherie, Sarah A. Fulton, L. Sandy Maisel, and Walter J. Stone. “When to Risk it? Institutions, Ambitions, and the Decision to Run for the U.S. House.” American Political Science Review 100 (2006): 195–208.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0003055406062101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Shows evidence that potential candidate perceptions of personal costs, campaign costs, and opportunity costs shape ambition for a US House seat and the decision to enter a particular race. Highlights difference in what influences general ambition versus a decision to run.

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                                                                                                                                              • Stratmann, Thomas. “Ballot Access Restrictions and Candidate Entry in Elections.” European Journal of Political Economy 21.1 (2005): 59–71.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2004.05.007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Filing fees and signature requirements reduce the number of major and minor party candidates that emerge to run for lower chamber seats in US state legislatures. Shows that filing fees have an especially significant effect on minor party candidates.

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                                                                                                                                                Candidate Recruitment by Political Gatekeepers

                                                                                                                                                A central debate in the study of candidacies is whether candidates are “self-starters” or whether they are a product of recruitment efforts by various political gatekeepers such as interest groups, elected officials, and political party leaders. The former view is espoused by Kazee and Thornberry 1990 and other early authors (see also Kazee 1994 and Fowler and McClure 1990, both cited under Foundational Studies) who find that parties play a minimal or indirect role in candidate emergence due to their limited control over the outcome of nominations. Kazee and Thornberry 1990 shows that although parties rarely endorse or support primary candidates, most candidates had been active in local or state parties prior to considering running. When parties recruit, they are strategic. Maestas, et al. 2005 finds that parties are most likely to recruit state legislators to run for the House when they serve in professional legislatures and have strong campaign experience. Most recent studies of ambition find that encouragement to run from parties is an important consideration for potential candidates for office (see also Ambition for Office and Gender, Candidate Recruitment, Emergence, and Success). Sanbonmatsu 2006a and Carroll and Sanbonmatsu 2013 challenge the “candidate-centered” self-selection model and argue instead that political gatekeepers, especially parties, are central to shaping ambitions and emergence for the state legislative seats which introduces gender biases into recruitment. Sanbonmatsu 2006b attributes the gap to male party leaders who seek candidates who resemble themselves. A recent study by Cheng and Tavits 2011 finds a similar affinity effect that benefits women: women who hold elective office recruit those similar to them in their political networks. Lawless and Fox 2010 and Fox and Lawless 2010 find that recruitment by political gatekeepers is extremely important in stimulating ambitions among qualified potential candidates but that men are much more frequently and intensely recruited than women. Their study is especially well suited to explaining the effects of the recruitment gap on candidate emergence because they surveyed potential candidates—those most likely to be responsive to recruitment—rather than officeholders who have overcome the initial hurdle of seeking office. While most research focuses on the role of parties, Fox and Lawless 2010 and Carroll and Sanbonmatsu 2013 also highlight the role interest organizations and recruitment by family and friends. This set of readings is accessible to lay readers and includes interview data as well as descriptive and inferential statistical analyses.

                                                                                                                                                • Carroll, Susan J., and Kira Sanbonmatsu. More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199322428.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Women’s decisions to run rely more heavily on recruitment and encouragement from party, interest groups, friends, and family. Uses surveys of state legislators in 1981 and 2008 to highlight gendered contextual effects on decision making. Role of gender gap in party recruitment is central part of story.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Cheng, Christine, and Margit Tavits. “Informal Influences in Selecting Female Political Candidates.” Political Research Quarterly 64.2 (2011): 460–471.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/1065912909349631Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Female party leadership increases the number of female candidates by recruiting strong female candidates through network ties, and signaling women’s potential for success in political office. Draws evidence from Canadian elections in 2004 and 2006. Important to an understanding how female gatekeepers can help recruit more female candidates.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Fox, Richard L., and Jennifer L. Lawless. “If Only They’d Ask: Gender, Recruitment, and Political Ambition.” The Journal of Politics 72.2 (2010): 310–326.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0022381609990752Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Draws from surveys of over two thousand potential candidates for Congress and finds evidence of a recruitment gap where men are recruited more often and more vigorously. Shows the importance of recruitment efforts of organizations targeting recruitment of women. Gap exists for all gatekeepers—parties, interest groups, and elected officials.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Kazee, Thomas A., and Marcy C. Thornberry. “Where’s the Party? Congressional Candidate Recruitment and American Party Organizations.” Western Political Quarterly 43.1 (1990): 61–80.

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                                                                                                                                                        Interviews of thirty-six candidates in competitive US House districts 1982. Finds evidence of indirect recruitment where party encourages activists who later emerge as candidates. Important early work but findings may be time-bound as later studies suggest much stronger role for parties.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Lawless, Jennifer L., and Richard L. Fox. It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. Rev. ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive study of ambition drawn from national panel surveys and interviews of qualified men and women. Chapter 5 explores the gender gap in recruitment, showing that women are less likely to be recruited by a wide range of political gatekeepers. Finds the gap is particularly strong for Republican women.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Maestas, Cherie D., L. Sandy Maisel, and Walter J. Stone. “National Party Efforts to Recruit State Legislators to Run for the U.S. House.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 30.2 (2005): 277–300.

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                                                                                                                                                            Parties are more likely to contact state legislators serving in more professional legislatures about running for a US House seat because they have greater campaign skills. Also finds suggestive evidence that national parties are less likely to recruit from state legislatures where the parties are closely balanced.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Sanbonmatsu, Kira. “The Legislative Party and Candidate Recruitment in the American States.” Party Politics 12.2 (2006a): 233–256.

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                                                                                                                                                              Compares recruitment activities of legislative parties to state and local parties and finds legislative efforts greatest where two-party competition for seats is strong. Legislative parties are active recruiters but they do not recruit in areas where state and local parties are inactive so their recruitment is not a substitute.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Sanbonmatsu, Kira. Where Women Run: Gender and Party in the American States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006b.

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                                                                                                                                                                Offers a critique of the candidate-centered model of candidacy by highlighting importance of party recruitment. Identifies gender gaps in recruitment (encouragement) and gatekeeping (discouragement) of candidacies. Examines differences across state contexts. Multimethod approach (interviews and surveys) provides compelling evidence for arguments.

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                                                                                                                                                                Gender, Candidate Recruitment, Emergence, and Success

                                                                                                                                                                This section explores how ambitions, institutions, and recruitment influence candidacies of women in the United States and other democracies (see closely related work in Ambition for Office and Candidate Recruitment by Political Gatekeepers). In the United States, where the electoral structure encourages candidate centered elections, most studies of gendered candidate emergence have focused on identifying gender gaps associated with ambition and recruitment. Lawless and Fox 2010 offer a comprehensive study of the gender gap among potential candidates for the US House. Carroll and Sanbonmatsu 2013 provides a comprehensive study of women in the state legislature. Both rely on a mix of survey and interview data to explore how the path to candidacy differs for men and women. Fulton, et al. 2006 directly compares male and female state legislators to determine how their ambitions and strategic decisions differ using individual-level survey data and find that differences in the decision calculus create a “quality” gap in which highly ambitious female state legislators are more responsive to small changes in chances of winning than equally ambitious men. Ironically, Fulton 2012 finds that the quality gap may mask vote biases: studies that find women and men perform similarly in elections neglect the quality differential that, if held constant across genders, would result in a vote deficit for women (See also Demand and Supply Explanations for Biases in Group Representation). In an unusual but revealing approach, Kanthak and Woon 2014 uses a well-controlled laboratory experiment to uncover a gap in the election aversion. Women are more willing to serve as group representatives when selection occurs through a random process rather than an election. A related and important gap that influences women’s candidacies is the difference between men’s and women’s perceptions of their qualifications to run for office; women feel less qualified even when they hold the same skills as men (Fox and Lawless 2011, Lawless and Fox 2010). In their study of American youth, Lawless and Fox 2014 shows that the difference in “candidate efficacy” emerges early in life, partly as a result of differences in socialization. Carroll and Sanbonmatsu 2013 studies the state legislative office level, and Lawless and Fox 2010 looks at the US House: both studies find that women’s ambition is further hampered by the fact that they are less likely to be the target of strong recruitment efforts by party leaders and other political gatekeepers. Windett 2011 highlights how sociopolitical context shapes candidate ambitions and emergence in gubernatorial elections. His is the first broad study of women candidacies at the state level and spans all fifty states over forty years. This section also includes two studies of candidacies in comparative context. O’Brien 2015 provides an important study of the internal opportunity structure for women and their success at rising to position of leadership in parties in eleven parliamentary democracies and finds considerable barriers to women’s representation among strong and majoritarian parties. Hinojosa and Franceschet 2012 shows how institutions create gendered outcomes by connecting electoral structure to informal norms of party behavior that disadvantage women in the recruitment process.

                                                                                                                                                                • Carroll, Susan J., and Kira Sanbonmatsu. More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Comprehensive study using surveys and interviews of state legislators in 1981 and 2008 to highlight gendered contextual effects on candidate decision making. Develops a model of “relational” candidate emergence in which recruitment features prominently. Examines how differences across states shape recruitment and success of women.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Fox, Richard L., and Jennifer L. Lawless. “Gendered Perceptions and Political Candidacies: A Central Barrier to Women’s Equality in Electoral Politics.” American Journal of Political Science 55.1 (2011): 59–73.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Using data from survey of potential candidates, Fox and Lawless examine how men and women perceive themselves as candidates. Finds that men and women rely upon the same factors in assessing qualifications, but women evaluate themselves lower. The article defines the concept of “candidate efficacy” and shows gender gap.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Fulton, Sarah H. “Running Backwards and in High Heels: The Gendered Quality Gap and Incumbent Electoral Success.” Political Research Quarterly 65.2 (2012): 303–314.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Previous studies omitted candidate quality as a factor affecting voter preferences for female candidates. Importantly, including candidate quality gives visibility to potential voter bias and electoral success. Candidate quality differs for female and male candidates leading to differing election outcomes.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Fulton, Sarah A., Cherie D. Maestas, L. Sandy Maisel, and Walter J. Stone. “The Sense of a Woman: Gender, Ambition, and the Decision to Run for Congress.” Political Research Quarterly 59.2 (2006): 235–248.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Explores differences ambition and strategic choices between male and female state legislators. Finds that while men and women are unlikely to run when chances of winning are low, highly ambitious women are more responsive to increases in chances of winning than men. This results in a “quality” gap where high-quality, ambitious women are more likely to emerge when opportunities arise.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Hinojosa, Magda, and Susan Franceschet. “Separate but Not Equal: The Effects of Municipal Electoral Reform on Female Representation in Chile.” Political Research Quarterly 65.4 (2012): 758–770.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Change in electoral rules create informal norms that affect women’s participation in elections in Chile. Argues that women are advantaged in recruitment in proportional representation systems compared to binomial majoritarian system. Highlights importance of electoral structure for gender representation and provides good overview of comparative research on gender and recruitment.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Kanthak, Kristin, and Jonathan Woon. “Women Don’t Run? Election Aversion and Candidate Entry.” American Journal of Political Science 59.3 (2014): 595–612.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Lab experiment that finds women less likely to volunteer to become a group representative when the representative is selected through a competitive election process rather than selected at random. Additionally, the experiment manipulated the costs of running and nature of competition and found women were more sensitive than men to both.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Lawless, Jennifer L., and Richard L. Fox. It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. Rev. ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Landmark study with evidence drawn from national panel surveys and interviews of qualified male and female potential candidates. Explores role of personal background, women’s family and work roles, gaps in recruitment, gaps in self-perceived qualifications, and factors that help overcome the gaps. Includes review of foundational and recent gender representation research.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Lawless, Jennifer L., and Richard L. Fox. “Uncovering the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition.” American Political Science Association 108.3 (2014): 499–519.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Builds upon their earlier work by studying the gendered candidate efficacy gap among American youth. Traces the gap to various socialization mechanisms and shows that the gap emerges early in life and plays a role in ambition for a political career.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • O’Brien, Diana Z. “Rising to the Top: Gender, Political Performance, and Party Leadership in Parliamentary Democracies.” American Journal of Political Science 59.4 (2015): 1022–1039.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Unique study of the gendered opportunity structures in eleven parliamentary democracies. Women are progressively ambitious for leadership roles in all types of parties but most likely to gain them in smaller opposition parties. Women more likely to emerge as leaders in opposition parties and parties doing more poorly.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Windett, Jason H. “State Effects and the Emergence and Success of Female Gubernatorial Candidates.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly 11.4 (2011): 460–482.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Broad study of fifty states over forty years that ties state sociopolitical culture to women’s gubernatorial candidacies. Influential factors include female labor force participation, education, female incumbents and candidates, the moralistic and traditional state culture, and social culture (i.e., support for women’s rights).

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Race, Ambition, and Candidate Emergence

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ambition and candidate emergence of under-represented minorities is understudied compared to research on gender. Most studies of minority candidate emergence focus on some combination of “demand” and “supply” explanations for the number of minority candidates on the primary or general election ballot. Canon, et al. 1996 and Norris and Lovenduski 1995 were early articulators of demand and supply models. Demand factors, in both cases, refer to things that shape the preferences of voters (in the United States) or party leaders (in the UK) for minority representation. Supply factors take into account things that influence the size and quality of the pool of minority candidates willing to run for office, such as their beliefs about their chances of winning and the costs of running. Both studies find that supply-side explanations provide greater leverage for understanding minority under-representation compared to demand-side explanations. Parsing out the difference between demand and supply is complicated; however, because demand and supply factors are interdependent. One way of defining voter demand for minority representation is to use the proportion of co-ethnic voters in the district as a proxy. Branton 2009, Shah 2014, and Juenke and Shah 2015 find that larger co-ethnic district population is associated with greater chances of minority candidates running for office. Further, Branton 2009 finds that the level of competitiveness in primary elections is greater when minorities run. However, Juenke and Shah 2015 and Shah 2014 point out that larger co-ethnic concentrations of voters are also associated with supply-side factors that influence candidates’ assessments of their chances of winning and thus their willingness to enter a race. They argue that the absence of minority representation in largely white districts is not due to racial voting, per se, but rather strategic choice of minority candidates not to enter a race. Johnson, et al. 2012 places the candidate emergence problem in a larger institutional context by exploring why few African American House members seek a statewide Senate seat. They highlight how majority-minority districts create barriers for their members who represent more ideologically extreme districts and districts with a weaker base for fundraising. In a richly nuanced study, Sanbonmatsu 2015 interviews women who took part in a candidate training program to better understand how race and gender interact to create unique challenges for minority women considering running for office. Together, these studies illuminate factors that influence candidate emergence among minorities but find that much work is still needed to better understand minority candidate pools.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Branton, Regina P. “The Importance of Race and Ethnicity in Congressional Primary Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 62.3 (2009): 459–473.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Examines Latino and African American emergence in primary elections for US House contests from 1994–2004. Finds that the emergence of quality (experienced) candidates is tied to the size of the district population of co-ethnic voters. Presence of minority candidates increases competitiveness, particularly in Democratic primaries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Canon, David, Matthew Schousen, and Patric Sellers. “The Supply-side of Congressional Redistricting: Race and Strategic Politicians 1972–1992.” The Journal of Politics 58.3 (1996): 846–862.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Early study that highlights how changes to district racial composition and run-off elections incentivize the entry of black candidates. Argues that minority candidates who can build electoral coalitions of black and white voters are at an advantage. There is extensive discussion of Shaw v. Reno case.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Johnson, Gbemende, Bruce I. Oppenheimer, and Jennifer L. Selin. “The House as a Stepping Stone to the Senate: Why Do So Few African American House Members Run?” American Journal of Political Science 56.2 (2012): 387–399.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Argues the ability to raise money, state size, and ideological extremity affect whether African American House members run for Senate. Article tests if contextual factors mediate the connection between race and the decision to run. Important to understanding structural influences on African American candidate ambition and decisions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Juenke, Eric Gonzalez, and Paru Shah. “Not the Usual Story: The Effect of Candidate Supply on Models of Latino Descriptive Representation.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 3.3 (2015): 438–453.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Examines the undersupply of Latino representation in state legislators. Finds link between Latino district population and Latino candidate emergence is driven by strategic choices of candidates. Provides a great overview of research on Latino candidates and voters.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Norris, Pippa, and Jon Lovenduski. Political Recruitment. Gender, Race, and Class in the British Parliament. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Foundational work on candidacies in comparative politics based on British Candidate Study (see Data Sources on Candidates and Candidate Emergence). Develops a supply and demand theory of candidates in the British system. Finds evidence of supply problems for ethnic minorities and women tied to occupation, resources, and recruitment by party gatekeepers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sanbonmatsu, Kira. “Electing Women of Color: The Role of Campaign Training.” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy 36 (2015): 137–160.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Case study of the Center for American Women and Politics’ campaign training initiatives in New Jersey. Draws conclusions from interview data of women of different race and ethnic backgrounds to understand differences faced by minority women in electoral politics. Speaks to importance of training and networking for minority candidate emergence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Shah, Paru. “It Takes a Black Candidate: A Supply-Side Theory of Minority Representation.” Political Research Quarterly 67.2 (2014): 266–279.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines how district demographic characteristics, political determinants, and electoral factors (election timing and type of office) influence the supply of black candidates for local offices. Findings suggest that low supply occurs because black candidates are strategic in entering races.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Role of Candidate Resources/Training

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This section highlights the role of candidate training and other resources in fostering ambition and encouraging candidate emergence. Numerous studies point to problems of underrepresentation of various groups in the electoral process (see Candidate Emergence and Representation). One approach to overcoming such biases is for external organizations to subsidize candidacies through providing training or resources. Studies of the effectiveness of groups other than parties is sparse but we know from studies such as Lawless 2012 that their resources or training may be important in helping candidates overcome the mental hurdle of feeling prepared to run, particularly for women. Burrell 2014 provides an interesting overview of women’s organizations who encourage women to run for office and support their efforts. Hannagan, et al. 2010 takes a more fine-grained empirical approach to examining how women’s organizations help candidacies by analyzing the effect of early contributions from EMILY’s list to the later electoral success of women. In addition, the article describes a number of ways in which the organization encourages and supports candidates beyond contributing money. The broadest listing of organizations and program designed to foster women’s candidacies is Center for American Women and Politics: Political & Leadership Resource Map. This Rutgers University site maintains a clickable “resource map” that lists a range of support groups in each of the fifty states. Although most of the entries in this section focus on gender and candidate emergence, Sojourner 2013 examines how union participation helps foster candidacies of blue-collar workers, another important underrepresented group in American politics. Not only do unions explicitly nurture and train potential candidates for local and state political office, just the act of participating in the collective decision processes can enhance political skills and ambitions. More generally, Lawless 2012 highlights how professional occupations confer skills and resources that are likely to create a greater sense of “candidate efficacy”—the belief one has the ability to effectively run for office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Burrell, Barbara. “Political Parties and Women’s Organizations: Brining Women into the Electoral Arena.” In Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics. Edited by Susan J. Carroll and Richard L. Fox, 143–168. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Examines the role of partisan and non-partisan organizations in helping women prepare for office and support their candidacies. Summarizes history of development of organizations that support female candidacies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Center for American Women and Politics: Political & Leadership Resource Map.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Provides lists of partisan and non-partisan organizations in each state that provide support and training for women who are interested in running for elective office and women seeking appointive office.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hannagan, Rebecca J., Jamie P. Pimlott, and Levente Littvay. “Does an EMILY’s List Endorsement Predict Electoral Success?” PS Political Science and Politics 43.3 (2010): 503–508.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Examines the role of EMILY’s list in enhancing candidates’ chances of winning by donating early money and endorsing primary candidates. Also reviews other activities related to training and recruitment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lawless, Jennifer L. Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive book on candidate ambition and the decision to run. See chapter 5. Different professional careers provide training, skills, and resources that help potential candidates feel qualified to run. Individuals in professions in close proximity to politics such as activists and lawyers are most likely to feel qualified.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sanbonmatsu, Kira. “Electing Women of Color: The Role of Campaign Training.” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy 36 (2015): 137–160.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Case study of the Center for American Women and Politics’ campaign training initiatives in New Jersey. Highlights how training influences ambition and the choice to run.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sojourner, Aaron. “Do Unions Promote Electoral Office-Holding? Evidence from Correlates of State Legislatures’ Occupational Shares.” ILR Review 66.2 (2013): 467–486.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Describes how unions help members develop skills and resources needed to become successful candidates for political office indirectly. Considers member experiences participating in the union as well as candidate training schools. Finds that unionization in states shapes type of candidates holding office.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Data Sources on Candidates and Candidate Emergence

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This section contains a set of links to seven data sets that might be of use in studying issues related to the emergence and recruitment of candidates. Stone, et al. 1998–2002 constructs the most direct source of data in The Candidate Emergence Study, a multiyear survey of potential candidates for office in a sample of just under two hundred US House districts. The original survey, an NSF-funded project conducted by Stone and Maisel, used district informants to identify high-quality potential candidates in a random sample of districts and augmented the study with surveys of state legislators whose boundaries overlapped the sampled districts. The surveys asked both informants and potential candidates about the context of the district and the qualities of the incumbents. Potential candidates were asked to assess their own ambitions for office, their skills and qualities as candidates, their assessments of their chances of winning, and their likelihood of running. Carey, et al. 2014 and Carey, et al. 2002 provide the location of data from two surveys that serve as a rich source of data about careers of state legislators. The first survey was conducted in 1995 and the second in 2002. The goal of Carey, et al. 2014 was to understand how the advent of term limits in state legislatures shaped the type of candidate who entered office, their behavior in office, their perceptions of their electoral and institutional context, and their plans for a future political career The 2002 study is an extension to the 1995 study and contains similar career questions. Sanbonmatsu, et al. 2015 data from their study of women’s career paths to the state legislature and mayoral office provides a wealth of data on perceptions of the process of running for and winning subnational offices. For researchers interested in understanding broader patterns of challenger entry, the State Legislative Elections Returns data set is a useful source of data on candidates in all state legislative elections from 1967 to 2003. The unit of analysis is the candidate and includes whether the candidate was an incumbent or challenger, the party, the district, and the election returns. States provide rich variation in election laws and institutional context that could be merged with these data to test structural explanations of candidate emergence. Norris and Lovenduski 1992 has archived data for their study of British party leaders and parliamentary candidates and offers a chance to explore party recruitment and candidate emergence in a non-US setting. Finally, Kingdon 2014 provides an interesting historical look at candidate perceptions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Carey, John M., Richard G. Niemi, and Lynda W. Powell. State Legislative Survey and Contextual Data, 1995. Columbus, OH: Kathleen Carr, Ohio State University, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Survey conducted in 1995 of a sample of current and former state legislators in fifty states about their perceptions of institutions, electoral context, and legislative activities. Includes career and future ambition questions. Due to confidentiality restrictions, some data are unavailable in public format but can be obtained by applying for access.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Carey, John M., Richard G. Niemi, Lynda W. Powell, and Gary Moncrief. State Legislative Survey. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Survey of state legislators in all fifty states. Follow-up to 1995 study. Assesses legislators’ perceptions of their institution, their legislative activities, and their electoral context and future career plans. Due to confidentiality restrictions, some data are unavailable in public format but can be obtained by applying for access to ICPSR.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kingdon, John W. Candidates for Office: Beliefs and Strategies, 2014. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Data associated with John Kingdon’s Candidates for Office: Beliefs and Strategies (New York: Random House). Coded interview data from winning and losing candidates for office in 1964. Includes interesting questions about why they ran, backgrounds, precampaign expectations, uncertainty during campaigns, among other topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Klarner, Carl, William Berry, Thomas Carsey, et al. State Legislative Election Returns, 1967–2010. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Data set of all general election candidates for state legislative elections and their vote shares. Indicates the party of the candidate and whether the candidate was an incumbent or challenger. Data set could be augmented with contextual data to explore district, state, and/or national influences on challenger emergence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Norris, Pippa, and John C. Lovenduski. “British Candidate Study, 1992.” In UK Data Service, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Data archive contains data from two surveys: Party members comprising selected Labour and Conservative activists (N = 1634); and parliamentary candidates, comprising 1,320 Members of Parliament, prospective parliamentary candidates selected in general election, and applicants who failed the selection for candidacy. Registration required to access the data.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sanbonmatsu, Kira, Susan J. Carroll, and Debbie Walsh. Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) Recruitment Studies, 2008. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2015.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Survey data from women in state legislatures and mayoral seats of cities with populations over thirty thousand. Includes random sample of men in same offices. Examines pathways to office of men and women, their ambitions, resources, recruitment, prior offices, and other background characteristics. Registration required to access the data.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Stone, Walter J., L. Sandy Maisel, and Cherie Maestas. Candidate Emergence Study. 1998–2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Links to codebooks and data for three rounds of surveys of potential candidates in a sample of US House districts. Surveys contain questions designed to understand how local and national context influence candidate emergence and how potential candidates viewed their chances of running and winning a US House seat.

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