Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

I would like to acknowledge a few individuals and organizations who supported my campaign to become a published author. Like any good politician let me first acknowledge my campaign contributors. My grandparents, David and Merna Scott, generously picked up the bulk of the tab for my graduate education, and I am sorry they did not live to see me earn my Ph.D. and turn my dissertation into this book. I am also grateful for dissertation fellowships from the Political Science department at the University of California, Berkeley, and for a research fellowship from the Governmental Studies department at the Brookings Institution.

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-17

Mention the 2000 election cycle and most people think of butterflies and chads. But before the photo finish in Bush versus Gore (and Bush v. Gore), a different election held political junkies across the nation transfixed. In an open-seat election for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey, former Goldman Sachs chairman Jon S. Corzine shattered the previous record for personal spending in a statewide election, self-financing more than $60 million en route to defeating first Jim Florio, the former New Jersey governor, then Bob Franks, a moderate Republican congressman.

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2. The Distribution of Self-Financing: Candidate Quality, Timing, and the Local Context

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pp. 19-46

In the weeks following the 2002 general election, a journalist was developing a report on the gubernatorial contests in Texas and New Hampshire. The common link between these two elections in very dissimilar states was that both had included a wealthy businessman among the major candidates. In Texas, Democrat Tony Sanchez, a banker, self-financed $60 million in his unsuccessful bid to oust incumbent Republican governor Rick Perry (Sanchez lost, 40 to 58 percent). In the New Hampshire election, an open-seat contest,Republican Craig Benson provided $11 million to his campaign and defeated Democratic state senator Mark Fernald, 59 to 38 percent.

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3. How Self-Financing Shapes the Field of Competition

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pp. 47-92

When a millionaire is accused of “buying an election” the implication is that he has bought vast quantities of the tangible goods and services that are thought to attract votes, like television ads, campaign workers, direct mail brochures, and political consulting. But it may also be possible to “buy” an election by scaring off the competition. Are Checchi, Corzine, and Huffington anomalies, or are they extreme examples of a general pattern? In the debate over BCRA’s Millionaires’ Amendment provision Senator Susan Collins suggested the latter.

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4. How Much Bang in a Self-Financed Buck?

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pp. 93-122

We have seen that self-financing affects the lineup in election contests, but once the players take the field self-financing can have a more direct effect on competition and election outcomes. Is the game a mismatch from the outset? An election between candidates with vastly disparate campaign treasuries may not be much of a contest. As Joseph Schumpeter notes, the “competitive struggle for the people’s vote” is the linchpin of the democratic process ([1942] 1947, 269). Self-financing— especially in large amounts—has the potential ...

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5. Self-Financing and the Electoral Connection

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pp. 123-145

The focus of this book is the process of elections, but let us not overlook the fact that elections are primarily significant as instruments, not ends. The menu of alternatives, level of competition, and tally of the votes are all important because they determine who serves in public office and, to some extent, how. It is thus appropriate to conclude with a discussion of self-financing in the context of the “electoral connection” to representation, to use David Mayhew’s term.

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6. Democracy, Campaign Reform, and Politics

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pp. 147-161

In the last hundred and fifty years, the formal rules of the American political system have been amended to expand the reach of political equality.Yet one of the most fundamental sources of political inequality persists: the unequal distribution of wealth.

Appendixes

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pp. 163-181

References

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pp. 183-188

Index

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pp. 189-198