"I'm looking at House primary elections and trying to figure out if financial support is a good proxy for electoral support. In some of the multi-candidate races it could be interesting. Did the person who raised the most win? Did the person raised 3rd most money finish 3rd?"

Del. Marcus Simon


July 21, 2017

VPAP says:

What you're asking is: Did money buy love in House primary elections?

The quick answer is no. The amount of money that candidates spent turned out to be a lousy indicator in the outcome of last month's House primaries. In primaries that didn't involve an incumbent, most of biggest spenders -- in 11 out of 20 races -- came up short. 

That is very different from general elections for the House of Delegates. In nearly 400 House elections involving both a Republican and Democratic candidate since 1997, the big spender won 78% of the time. If you narrow the list to races where both candidates spent at least $100,000, the chances of the big spender winning falls to 66%.

The takeway? Money matters in politics, but perhaps not as much when you're talking about a low-turnout House primary involving candidates who tend not to be household names.

Want to suggest a data visualization?