Anderson, Christopher (2013-08). The Causes and Consequences of Congressional Endorsements in Presidential Primaries. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Little is known about why elected officials choose to get involved in presidential nomination struggles. Recent research argues that elected officials have a collective incentive to nominate an electorally viable and ideologically unifying candidate. Yet, elected officials must balance these collective incentives with their own personal considerations (e.g., reelection motives, policy interests, ambition, ideology) that may either foster or inhibit their ability to act on their collective desire to nominate viable, ideologically unifying candidates. Further, this research then determines the extent to which elected officials are rewarded-or punished- for getting involved during the presidential nomination process. In particular, interparty differences between the Republican and Democratic coalitions predict that Republicans, but not Democrats, will be rewarded for attempting to lead intraparty nomination struggles. Finally, this research links the aggregate-level findings that endorsements from elected officials are important determinants of nomination outcomes to the individual level by arguing that elected officials' endorsements mobilize their constituents to get involved in politics. In particular, as the mobilization process targets those who are already likely to participate in the first place, endorsements during presidential primaries leads to differential participation in politics. In sum, this research provides individual level foundations for the causes and consequences of congressional endorsements in presidential nomination contests.

publication date

  • August 2013