News release from National Institute on Money in State Politics:
When it comes to state elections, money and incumbency were key to success during the 2009-2010 elections-although not as much as they used to be. Two new reports from the National Institute on Money in State Politics examine the role that money and incumbency played in the 2009-2010 state elections, as well as how those two factors contributed to a state’s legislative competitiveness.
The reports, The Role of Money & Incumbency in 2009-2010 Elections and Monetary Competitiveness in 2009-2010 State Legislative Races found that 73 percent of legislative seats up for election were contested, up from 67 percent in 2007-08 and 69 percent in 2005-06. Races for 89 percent of the uncontested seats featured an incumbent. When seats were contested in the general election, the success rate of those with the incumbency advantage declined 7 percent from the comparable 2005-06 elections, and 9 percent from the 2007-08 elections. Candidates who had both the money and incumbency advantages dropped from 96 percent between 2005-06 to 88 percent between 2009-10. In the same time frame, the success rate of candidates with neither advantage increased by 4 percent.
The Institute’s analyses of the 2009-10 elections also reveal that:
85 percent of challenged incumbents won.
Only 12 percent of incumbents with the fundraising advantage lost.
Non-incumbent candidates without the monetary advantage were successful only 10 percent of the time.
Non-incumbent candidates with the monetary advantage were successful 59 percent of the time.
25 percent of the legislative seats up for election in 2009-10 were monetarily competitive, up from 22 percent in the 2007-2008 contests.
A robust public funding program for legislative candidates is one of the strongest predictors of high rates of monetary competitiveness.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics collects and analyzes campaign contribution information on state-level candidates, political party committees, and ballot committees. Its free, searchable database of contributions is online at FollowTheMoney.org.