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Hail to the Fundraiser-in-Chief: The Evolution of Presidential Fundraising Travel, 1977-2004
Unformatted Document Text:  The number of fundraisers and related events in a state generally tracks with the number of events not related to fundraisers there, and both increase with the state’s population. Republican presidents attend the most fundraisers outside the Washington, DC area in midterm election years, while Democratic presidents are most active during the fourth year of their term. General conclusions about presidential fundraising during second terms are difficult to draw, as only two presidents in this study served second terms, and the two displayed widely divergent patterns of second-term activity. Multivariate analysis demonstrates a relationship between the number of non- fundraiser-related events in a state and its electoral size and competitiveness. It also reveals distinct patterns for fundraising events, as presidents are more likely to engage in these activities in states in which they found substantial electoral support. These findings suggest that fundraising activity takes presidents to places they might not otherwise go, as they respond to financial incentives. While this study offers evidence about the dynamics of presidential fundraising and strategic travel, many questions remain. Are any of the trends revealed in this analysis normatively troubling? Does the rise in presidential fundraising signal that more recent presidents are any more responsive to their financial supporters and less responsive to the other citizens they represent? Has this increasing money chase impacted other elements of presidential governance? Would these findings hold if this study were extended farther back in time? What other factors besides popularity, such as socioeconomic dynamics, drive where presidents raise funds? My future research and that of other scholars will attempt to address these important questions. Doherty 19

Authors: Doherty, Brendan.
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The number of fundraisers and related events in a state generally tracks with the
number of events not related to fundraisers there, and both increase with the state’s
population. Republican presidents attend the most fundraisers outside the Washington,
DC area in midterm election years, while Democratic presidents are most active during
the fourth year of their term. General conclusions about presidential fundraising during
second terms are difficult to draw, as only two presidents in this study served second
terms, and the two displayed widely divergent patterns of second-term activity.
Multivariate analysis demonstrates a relationship between the number of non-
fundraiser-related events in a state and its electoral size and competitiveness. It also
reveals distinct patterns for fundraising events, as presidents are more likely to engage in
these activities in states in which they found substantial electoral support. These findings
suggest that fundraising activity takes presidents to places they might not otherwise go, as
they respond to financial incentives.
While this study offers evidence about the dynamics of presidential fundraising
and strategic travel, many questions remain. Are any of the trends revealed in this
analysis normatively troubling? Does the rise in presidential fundraising signal that more
recent presidents are any more responsive to their financial supporters and less responsive
to the other citizens they represent? Has this increasing money chase impacted other
elements of presidential governance? Would these findings hold if this study were
extended farther back in time? What other factors besides popularity, such as
socioeconomic dynamics, drive where presidents raise funds? My future research and
that of other scholars will attempt to address these important questions.
Doherty
19


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