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Getting Primaried

The Changing Politics of Congressional Primary Challenges

Robert G. Boatright

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Legislative Politics and Policy Making


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p. 1-1

Getting Primaried, Further Reading, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-viii

This book began as a paper prepared for a conference entitled “Going to Extremes: The Fate of the Political Center in American Politics,” held at Dartmouth College’s Rockefeller Center in June of 2008. It never would have become ...

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Introduction: An Epidemic of “Primarying”?

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pp. 1-21

During the 2004 and 2006 elections, a new word entered the American political lexicon: the verb “to primary,” meaning to mount a primary campaign against an incumbent member of Congress. Conservative and liberal bloggers spent ...

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1 | Congressional Primary Challenges:A Brief History and a Theoretical Explanation

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pp. 23-61

Very few members of Congress get there by knocking off incumbents of their own party in primary elections. So high are the odds against beating an incumbent, in fact, that most ambitious politicians tend to wait their turn. A primary challenger ...

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2 | When and Why Congressional Primary Challenges Happen

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pp. 63-101

The data in this and the next two chapters are drawn from all congressional primary elections held from 1970 through 2010 in which an incumbent was running. I categorize all primary challengers who receive more than 25 percent ...

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3 | The Financing of Congressional Primary Challenges

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pp. 103-138

As the previous chapter demonstrated, there is little evidence that the number of primary challenges to incumbents is greater today than it was in previous decades. A conclusion one might draw from the discussion so far is that all of ...

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4 | The Consequences of Congressional Primary Challenges

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pp. 139-174

As I have shown in the two previous chapters, there is little evidence to suggest that the amount of primary competition we see today is novel. Primary competition, whatever the motivation of the challenger, comes and goes in ...

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5 | Interest Groups and Congressional Primaries

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pp. 175-210

Chapters 2 and 3 of this book showed that congressional primary challenges are still somewhat rare but that there has been a change in the fund-raising base of many ideological challengers over the past few decades. There is more money ...

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6 | Conclusions

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pp. 211-225

It scarcely took a week for the dust to settle on the 2010 election results before talk of primary threats to incumbent members of Congress began again. A November 10 Politico article reported that Republican senators Scott Brown, ...


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pp. 227-235


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pp. 237-247


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pp. 249-263

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029044
E-ISBN-10: 0472029045
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118700
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118706

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 18 figures, 24 tables
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Legislative Politics and Policy Making

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political campaigns -- United States.
  • United States. Congress -- Elections.
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