Research on parties has bifurcated between studies of parties in elections and parties in the legislature. This analysis brings the theoretical insights from the study of legislative parties to bear on the role that parties play in elections. The authors apply recent theories of legislative parties to highlight the dilemmas that parties face in electing their candidates and attempting to mediate between these office seekers and interest-group contributors. The authors maintain that parties best serve the long-term interests of their candidates by rewarding those who cater to interests aligned with the party and punishing others who solicit support from opponents. This proposition is tested using data on party contributions to House incumbents during the 1995-1996 electoral cycle. The authors find that incumbents who relied more on opposition groups for funds in the 1993-1994 cycle received less funding from their party. The results provide evidence that parties play the role of intermediary between groups and politicians.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science