We have analyzed historical campaign finance data and election results since 2006 to see how open-seat candidates fared in significant primary races based on their relative fundraising ranks. Unsurprisingly, we found a strong correlation between fundraising rank and electoral success, and that continued this year.
First, the historical perspective:
- 77% of candidates raising the most money either won outright (26%) or advanced to a runoff (51%)
- 55% of candidates with the second-highest contribution totals either won outright (6%) or advanced to a runoff (55%)
- 23% of candidates with the third-highest contribution totals advanced to a runoff – none won outright
- 12% of candidates with the fourth-highest contribution totals made the runoff – again, none won outright; and
- Less than 5% of candidates placing fifth or lower in fundraising made a runoff with none winning outright.
Those are the historical success rates for the candidates in 145 open-seat primary races with at least three candidates on the ballot who were seeking the incumbent party’s nomination or the other party’s nod for a potentially competitive general election race.
This year, 38 open-seat primary races met our criteria: 1 statewide, 5 Senate, 24 House and 8 Congressional seats.
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