We have explored the recent historical relationship between open-seat candidates’ rank in total contributions and their success rate in winning their primary outright or advancing to a runoff. Our findings for two-person primary races and primaries involving at least three candidates since 2006 indicate total contributions is a pretty good historical indicator of the candidate’s ultimate success on Election Day:

  • 77% of candidates with the highest contribution total win outright or advance to a runoff out of a field of three or more candidates, and 85% of candidates with the higher contribution total in a two-person race win.
  • 58% of candidates with the second highest contribution total win outright or advance to a runoff out of a field of three or more candidates.
  • 25% of candidates ranked third advance to a runoff, and
  • 9% of candidates ranked fourth and lower advance to a runoff.

Candidates who raised and spent the most money won 25% of the time, advanced 58% of the time and lost or missed the runoff just 16% of the time. None of the outright winners and just 14% of runoff candidates were outside of the top two in both total contributions and total expenditures. Half of all runoffs involved the two candidates who spent the most money. No candidate ranked 9th or below advanced to a runoff during the last six election cycles.

We looked yesterday at the state of play for statewide and legislative open seats. Today we look at the open Congressional seats.

Our analysis of primary success rates was based on candidates’ ranks as of their pre-primary reports. Those reports have not been filed yet this year. With this in mind, today we look at the total contributions for candidates in open-seat primary races for statewide office and the legislature as of the candidates’ year-end reports. Candidates are ranked in order of their total contributions, which is the sum of all contributions received between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017.

Keep in mind that the percentages shown are historical, based on candidates’ contribution ranks. We do not consider them an actual measurement of the likelihood that a particular candidate will win or advance. Instead, looking across all the races, recent history suggests that about three out of every four candidates in the first column can be expected to win or advance, a little more than half of the candidates in the second column can be expected to advance, and so on.

Subscribers can read the rest of this analysis.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC