Congressional Primaries

gpcoverI have written two recent books on congressional primary elections.  The first of these, Getting Primaried:  The Changing Politics of Congressional Primary Challenges, was published by the University of Michigan Press in the spring of 2013.  In the book I argue against the conventional wisdom that primary challenges to incumbent members of Congress are on the rise.  I show that Primary challenges are not becoming more frequent, nor are they more likely to succeed than in the past.  The most successful of today’s primary challengers have, however, been able to nationalize their races, drawing upon national fundraising base of ideologically motivated citizens and internet-based interest groups.

Routledge Publishers has also just published Congressional Primary Elections, a historical accountroutledge cover of congressional primaries and the literature on them.  This book is designed for classroom use.


My colleagues at the Campaign Finance Institute and I have drawn upon this material to develop a web tool to analyze spending in the 2014 congressional primaries.  The first of our papers from this study, summarizing competition in the 2014 primaries, is available here.  We will release more papers about independent expenditures in the primaries, later in 2014.

*** September 30, 2014:  If you are looking for a copy of the paper that accompanies my Brookings Institution/CFI presentation on the 2014 primaries today, click here.

Here is a sampling of the media coverage of Getting Primaried:

Watch my presentation on this material on C-SPAN, October 2009

Watch my presentation on this material at the Brookings Institution, November 2013

National Journal‘s list of the best books of 2013

Op ed for Politico, March 2014

An interview with me in the Washington Post, June 2014 (discussing Eric Cantor’s primary defeat)

And another piece for the Washington Post, August 2014, on Republican Senate primaries

Op-ed for Talking Points Memo, July 2014

Symposium for the Scholars Strategy Network on the future of the Republican Party, July 2014

Interview with, July 2014