The financing of political campaigns has been extensively studied on both the national and state levels. With the advent of campaign contribution and expenditure databases, scholars have a wealth of data to use in examining the importance of money for electoral success, the influence of campaign contributions on legislative roll call voting, and the effects of campaign finance reforms. Much less research has been conducted on the local level, largely because of a lack of available data. Research on local campaign finance is necessary, however, because local governments are not just smaller versions of their state and federal counterparts, but rather have unique political and cultural institutions that create idiosyncratic electoral dynamics. Furthermore, variation across local jurisdictions generates opportunities to study campaign finance in different contexts, allowing for a deeper understanding of how contextual variables influence the role of money. In this article, I outline an agenda for local campaign finance research that addresses central questions in the campaign finance and urban politics literatures.
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