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Gaming Arizona: Public Money and Shifting Candidate Strategies

  • Michael Miller (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2008

Since public election financing was first implemented during the wave of post-Watergate reforms, the burning question has been, “does it work?” Evaluations of public financing have focused on its primary objectives, which are designed to address familiar grievances: Elections are too expensive and not competitive enough. Corporate PACs and other “special interests” contribute disproportionately to incumbents because they are interested in purchasing influence. Candidates must devote so much time to fundraising that little is left for other campaign tasks. Lost in these considerations, however, is the fact that mandated financial parity changes the strategic environment candidates function in, altering their decision making and potentially changing the nature of elections. As fully subsidized elections gain increasing ubiquity in the United States, reformers must decide whether this is a cost worth bearing.

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Patrick D. Donnay , and Graham P. Ramsden . 1995. “Public Financing of Legislative Elections: Lessons from Minnesota.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 20 (February): 351–64.

Peter L. Francia , and Paul S. Herrnson . 2003. “The Impact of Public Finance Laws on Fundraising in State Legislative Elections.” American Politics Research 31 (5): 520–39.

Susan E. Howell 1982. “Campaign Activities and State Election Outcomes.” Political Behavior 4 (4): 401–17.

Ruth S. Jones , and Thomas J. Borris . 1985. “Strategic Contributing in Legislative Campaigns: The Case of Minnesota.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 10 (February): 89105.

Jeffrey Kraus . 2006. “Campaign Finance Reform Reconsidered: New York City's Public Finance Program after Fifteen Years.” The Forum 3 (4): 127.

Kenneth R. Mayer , and John M. Wood . 1995. “The Impact of Public Financing on Electoral Competitiveness: Evidence from Wisconsin, 1964–1990.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 20 (February): 6988.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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