Black candidates and black turnout: A study of viability in Louisiana mayoral elections

Luke J. Keele, Paru R. Shah, Ismail White, Kristine Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


What effect does a candidate's race have on coracial voter turnout? Recent studies have found mixed results, largely because it is difficult to separate the effect of candidate race from other factors that drive voter turnout. We argue that viability is a key element in the theory of turnout among coracial voters that has been overlooked in the extant literature. We develop a broad-based concept of candidate viability that is dependent on both the candidate and the electoral environment. To test this hypothesis, we make use of the unique runoff structure of mayoral elections in the state of Louisiana between 1988 and 2011.We argue that runoff elections heighten viability in ways rarely seen in most elections. We find that while there is an effect of candidate race on black turnout in general elections, the effect is much more robust in runoff elections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-791
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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