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Legislative Party Campaign Committees in the American States

Legislative Party Campaign Committees in the American States

Anthony Gierzynski
Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    Legislative Party Campaign Committees in the American States
    Book Description:

    In a time of increasing campaign costs and decreasing state political party activity, legislative party campaign committees have grown to play a major role in the politics of elections in a large number of American states. Anthony Gierzynski's book focuses on these committees.

    In this first multi-state analysis, Gierzynski explores the nature and practices of the committees through interviews with legislative leaders and staff and through statistical analyses of campaign finance data from ten representative states.

    In addition to direct cash contributions, legislative caucus campaign committees provide candidates with a multitude of support and services and usually target their resources on close races where they will have the greatest impact. Leadership PACs, the campaign committees of individual legislators, also allocate their resources strategically.

    The existence of such committees and the fact that the caucus campaign committees resemble political parties in both structure and behavior leads Gierzynski to pose interesting normative and practical questions. The answers to such questions have major implications for political parties and legislative politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6323-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Malcolm E. Jewell

    This volume is the first in the Comparative Legislative Studies Series, which is designed to serve as a focal point for research on legislative studies in the United States and abroad, at national and subnational levels.

    Controversy over how campaign funds are raised and spent, and over the sheer cost of elections, is permeating American politics. As state legislatures grow more professional, even legislative elections are becoming expensive in many states.

    Anthony Gierzynski describes the development and behavior of campaign committees operated by legislative party leaders or caucuses to raise and allocate funds for legislative candidates. Using data from a...

  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    A relatively new development in legislative and party politics is the emergence of the legislative party as an important actor in elections in the form of caucus campaign committees and leadership campaign committees, or leadership PACs. Legislative caucus campaign committees are, as the name implies, committees of the legislative party caucus that are given the responsibility of raising funds and providing assistance to the party’s legislative candidates. Leadership campaign committees are used by individual legislators to distribute funds to other legislative candidates. The involvement of these organizations in legislative elections is a development that should generate a great deal of...

  7. 1 Legislative Elections and Political Parties
    (pp. 5-14)

    A suitable starting place for this inquiry is an examination of the factors that may have inspired legislative parties to become involved in elections. The reasons for the development of legislative party campaign committees are evident in the recent history of legislative elections. Changes such as the decline in party loyalty, the phenomenal increase in the cost of campaigns, and the increase in party competition for control of state legislatures generated a demand for assistance that only a political party organization could provide. The state and national central party organizations, as well as the local party organizations, were in no...

  8. 2 Theory and Method
    (pp. 15-31)

    What are legislative party campaign committees like? Are they party organizations or merely party PACs? What strategies do legislative party campaign committees pursue? Do they merely support their own—incumbent candidates—or are they more inclusive? How do legislative party campaign committees differ from each other? Do leadership PACs and caucus campaign committees differ beyond their organizational structures? Such questions represent the main purpose of this research because of the implications the answers hold for legislative elections, political parties, and legislative behavior. In order to answer these questions it is necessary to form some a priori expectations about what the...

  9. 3 Finances
    (pp. 32-44)

    Legislative party campaign committees included in this analysis vary in the amount of resources they have to use to assist candidates and in how they use those resources. This chapter takes an initial look at the finances of the thirty-eight caucus committees and the twenty-four leadership PACs to provide an indication of the size of these committees and how they differ in size from state to state, and to examine, at the aggregate level, how these committees spend their money.

    Aggregate statistics—total funds allocated by the committee to candidates, the percentage of all of the revenues raised by the...

  10. 4 Legislative Party Campaign Committees: Structures and Practices
    (pp. 45-70)

    That legislative party campaign committees exist in the American states and provide electoral assistance to legislative candidates is about all that is known of these organizations. How they are organized, what types of activities they are involved in, what types of assistance they provide candidates, how they make their decisions, and how they differ from state to state are all mysteries to most political scientists and political observers. The purpose of this chapter is to unravel these mysteries using information obtained in interviews with legislative leaders and caucus staff in the eleven states.

    Unraveling these mysteries will make it possible...

  11. 5 The Allocation of Resources: Competitiveness and Incumbency
    (pp. 71-92)

    We have determined how legislative party campaign committees operate, the activities they are involved in, and the type of assistance they provide to candidates. The next task is to examine how they distribute their resources. In the next three chapters the question of resource distribution will be analyzed using campaign finance data from the ten states. This chapter tests the propositions that the campaign committees concentrate their resources in competitive races and are willing to fund caucus outsiders, in other words, nonincumbent candidates.

    A major underlying theme of this research is that the extent of the impact that legislative party...

  12. 6 Caucus Campaign Committees Versus Leadership PACs
    (pp. 93-101)

    Clearly, legislative caucus campaign committees and legislative leadership PACs are two distinct types of organizations. Caucus campaign committees operate much like political parties, representing in theory, if not in fact, all of the legislative party members. Leadership PACs, on the other hand, consist solely of an individual legislator’s own campaign funds. On the surface, the differences between these two types of committees might lead one to expect that they would act very differently from each other in distributing their resources. The theoretical arguments made in the second chapter, however, suggest that under high levels of two-party competition the goals of...

  13. 7 Strategic Variations in Caucus Campaign Committee Tactics
    (pp. 102-114)

    The previous chapters demonstrated that legislative party campaign committees strategically distribute their resources to both incumbent and nonincumbent candidates in close races. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the possibility that the strategies pursued by these campaign committees are more complex. Specifically, this chapter investigates the possibility that legislative party caucus campaign committees adjust their strategies according to their status within the legislature and according to trends in party popularity at the state and national level. Minority party campaign committees and campaign committees whose party is enjoying a surge in popularity at either the state or national level...

  14. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 115-124)

    The results of the research and analysis conducted for this book have lead to a large number of conclusions about legislative party campaign committees. Two conclusions—one regarding the impact that legislative party campaign committees have on the distribution of resources in legislative elections and the other the status of legislative caucus campaign committees—are by far the most important and thus deserve special attention.

    The analysis of campaign contributions and the interview results made it very apparent that legislative party caucus campaign committees and leadership PACs are having a profound impact on the distribution of resources in legislative races....

  15. Appendix
    (pp. 125-127)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 128-137)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 138-141)
  18. Index
    (pp. 142-144)