The check is in the mail: Interdistrict funding flows in congressional elections

James G. Gimpel, Frances E. Lee, Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the financial ties between congressional candidates and individual donors residing outside those candidates' districts. Congressional campaigns today rely more heavily on nonresidents than in the past, with contests in the typical district drawing more than two-thirds of individual donations from nonresidents. Empirical results reveal that nonresident contributions are primarily partisan and strategic in nature, rather than access-oriented or expressive/identity-based. Funds are efficiently redistributed from a small number of highly educated, wealthy congressional districts to competitive districts anywhere in the country. Big donors direct funds where they can make a difference for party control of seats, even if those investments are hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-394
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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