THE CAMPAIGN PROCESS
OConnor and Sabato
Continuity and Change
THE CAMPAIGN PROCESS
In this chapter we will cover
The Structure of a
The Candidate or the
Which Do We Vote For?
Campaign Finance Laws
The Structure of a Campaign
All political campaigns can be viewed as a series of several campaigns that
Do We Vote for the
Candidate or the Campaign?
The most important
factor in any campaign is the candidate (he/she is even more important than
Campaigns are able (most of the time)
to downplay a candidates weaknesses and emphasize her strengths.
However, even the best campaigns cannot put
an ineffective candidate in the win column most of the time.
Most people vote for a
candidate not the campaign.
Contributions and Expenses
are VERY expensive.
races can cost over $1 million but usually cost $400-700,000 for incumbents,
less for challengers.
races cost much more.
political money is regulated by the federal government under the Federal
Elections Campaign Act of 1971, 1974, and 1976.
Campaign for the Senate, 2002
Soft money is money with
no limits or rules that is raised and spent outside of federal election
Soft money is often used
to pay for ads that do not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a
As long as these ads do
not use the words vote for, elect, vote against or the like, ads can be
paid for with unregulated soft money.
Many argue that the huge
infusion of unregulated soft money has destroyed the federal campaign laws.
FECA - Individuals
limits individuals to contributions of $1,000 per election, per candidate
($1,000 in the primary and another $1,000 in the general election).
may give a maximum of $25,000 in gifts to all candidates combined in any
calendar year. Individuals may also give up to $20,000 to a party each year.
FECA - PACs
PACs may donate $5,000
per candidate, per election.
There are over 4,000
PACs registered with the FEC.
PACs gave over $200
million to congressional candidates in 1996 (individuals gave $444 million).
FECA - Parties
also donate money to candidates. The Republican and Democratic parties give
tens of millions to congressional candidates.
members of Congress and state legislatures often also donate monies to
candidates of their party.
members of Congress establish their own PACs to give money. Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey has a
Buckley v. Valeo (1976) the Supreme Court struck down limits on
personal campaign spending.
your own money on your campaign is a free speech right.
Forbes, Ross Perot, and other wealthy Americans have taken advantage of their
personal wealth in their quest for office.