Individual Party Donors: True Allies or Free Agents?

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SAGE publications


Habitual party donors represent an important revenue source for American political parties. What remains unclear is whether the party committees can also count on these donors to support the congressional candidates who represent the parties’ best chances for seat maximization. Utilizing structural equation modeling and contribution data from the 2006 to the 2012 election cycles, I find habitual party donors and certain new party donors respond to changes in party control of the House by providing more support to incumbents when their party is in the majority and more support to nonincumbents when their party is in the minority. Moreover, party donors are more likely to give to congressional candidates, especially those competing in priority races, than nonparty donors. Party donors additionally are revealed to be an important funding source for congressional candidates.