Given the large number of cases and considerable institutional and contextual variation across and within local governments, one might assume that the study of local elections is an area already well harvested by political scientists. The truth, however, is that this area of inquiry is relatively unexplored. In fact, to say that a field of study on local elections exists would be a bit of an overstatement. Not only is the literature rather small and not particularly cohesive, but the data collection and methods of analysis are also somewhat primitive, particularly compared to research on state and federal elections. While, on the one hand, this lack of subfield development means that there are many unanswered and even unexplored questions, on the other hand, it means that the possibilities for future research are practically limitless.
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