Quality Challengers in Senate Primary Elections, 1956-2020 – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Quality Challengers in Senate Primary Elections, 1956-2020

Elise Brice

Elise Brice

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Jason Byers, Postdoc
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Center for Political Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 5
Presenter: 6

Event Link


“Quality Challengers in Senate Primary Elections,” examines U.S. Senate primary elections between 1956 to 2020. The focus of the study is on the extent to which quality challengers outperform amateur challengers. A quality challenger is an electoral candidate that has previous experience running in a government election. An amateur challenger is a candidate who has not had previous election experience. The project requires archival data collection of candidate’s backgrounds as well as election information specific to each candidate in order to complete the data set. The data collection involves accumulation of information from various websites pertaining to individual candidates and primary election information. For example, the following information is collected: the candidate’s name, the state, political party, number of candidates running in the election, the incumbent, total number of votes, candidate’s votes, percentage of votes, gender, type of primary, candidate’s party versus the incumbent’s party, quality challenger, and quality are variables of interest. Thus far, there has been a trend that people who have had previous election experience (quality challengers) also have more votes and a higher success rate in senate elections compared to those who had have no prior experience (amateurs). These data will be further analyzed to examine the differences between amateur candidates versus the quality challengers. This research has important implications for the selection of senatorial candidates, for campaign fundraising, and for campaign support of senatorial candidates.

Authors: Elise Brice, Jason Byers
Research Method: Library/Archival/Internet Research

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