Out-of-State Contributions Provide Non-Incumbent House Candidates with a Competitive Edge

AuthorAnne E. Baker
Published date01 September 2022
Date01 September 2022
Subject MatterArticles
American Politics Research
2022, Vol. 50(5) 668681
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1532673X221112634
Out-of-State Contributions Provide
Non-Incumbent House Candidates with a
Competitive Edge
Anne E. Baker
Out-of-state donorscontributions represent a growing share of fundraising receipts for House candidates. This raises the
question of whether out-of-state contributions simply represent more money f‌lowing to the campaignscoffers or whether
these monies could be worth more than their outright cash value. Using campaign f‌inance data from the U.S. Federal Election
Commission 2010-2018, I examine both the fundraising and electoral impacts of non-incumbent House candidatesreceipt of
these funds using structural equation modeling, a matching analysis, and a regression analysis. I uncover evidence that out-of-
state contributions are an indication of the candidates integration into the extended party network (EPN ) f‌inding they are
closely tied to interest group support. Out-of-state contributions are also found to have a positive impact on non-incumbent
House candidatescompetitiveness, which likely stems from the broader support of the EPN.
congressional elections, campaign f‌inance, campaign donors
House races have increasingly become national affairs in-
volving larger sets of outside groups and out-of-state donors
seeking to inf‌luence the course of national politics. Although
House incumbents receive the bulk of out-of-state monies
(Baker, 2016b;Stevens & McCammond, 2018), non-
incumbents are increasingly successful in raising funds
from a national set of donors, as media and watchdog group
accounts attest (Open Secrets, 2018;Schoen, 2018). This
success is partly driven by changes in campaign f‌inance laws
allowing donors greater freedom to contribute to an unlimited
number of campaigns in amounts adjusted for inf‌lation in
each election cycle (Magleby et al., 2018). National donors
are poised to have more inf‌luence than ever before, which
raises the question of whether their support simply amounts to
more money in the campaigns coffers or whether these
monies are worth more than their cash value.
There is good reason to believe that the money stemming
from national donors comes with fringe benef‌its. Arguably
national donors constitute the nuts and bolts of what recent
scholarship conceptualizes as the extended party network
(EPN)—“dynamic dispersed systems of interconnected in-
terest groups, centered on traditional formal party organi-
zations(Desmarais et al., 2015, p. 194; Koger et al., 2009).
Without money from a set of national donors f‌inancing most
of the EPN organizationsactivities, the EPN would not have
much inf‌luence. Moreover, previous studies suggest a core set
of national donors are enmeshed in the network through
membership in multiple organizations and also have expe-
rience volunteering or working for campaigns (Francia et al.,
2003)in some sense, they tie the larger network together
(Koger et al., 2009;Rhodes et al., 2018). Thus, support from
national donors may be an indication that the candidate has
the support of the larger network. If this is the case, then these
monies should have positive impact on non-incumbent
candidatescompetitiveness because the money operates as
a signal to others in the network that the candidate is worth
supporting and the money is associated with other types of
monetary assistance, such as independent expenditures, and
non-monetary support, such as endorsements.
In this paper, I investigate whether out-of-state donor
contributions are related to non-incumbent House campaigns
fundraising success with interest groups, parties, and in-state
donors and whether they are related to outside spending by
EPN members. Using structural equation modeling, I ex-
amine whether success in one of these fundraising areas
relates to success in another fundraising area for House
campaignsof particular interest is whether PAC money and
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Anne E. Baker, Political Science, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real,
Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA.
Email: aebaker@scu.edu

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