Compared to congressional elections, gubernatorial races are underrepresented in the campaign finance literature. At the same time, the great diversity of state campaign finance laws enables a comparative analysis of their impact in gubernatorial races. I use data from 1980 to 2000 to test hypotheses about challenger emergence, campaign finance laws, and candidate spending in gubernatorial party primaries. I find that incumbents with high job approval ratings and those in party endorsement states are more likely to be unopposed in the primary. In contested primaries, experienced challengers and those who accept public funding are better able to match levels of spending by incumbents. The findings shed light on the dynamics of challenger emergence and the potential for public funding programs to make elections more competitive.


Original Citation: Bardwell, Kedron. "Money and Challenger Emmergence in Gubernatorial Primaries." Political Research Quarterly 55, no. 3 (2002): 653-667.