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Campaign Finance: Timing and Its Torments
Unformatted Document Text:  life of an organization, including friendships, or take intrinsic pleasure in the organization’s work; purposive incentives apply to those attracted to the organization for its ideology or policy goals; material incentives involve attractions to money, jobs, or some cash-value benefit. We argue that those donors who give for purposive reasons are more likely to give early than those who give for material reasons because they seek to change the make-up of Congress. In contrast, contributors who give for material reasons are more likely to favor bargaining with individual legislators for particularistic benefits, regardless of member ideology. Thus, they want to maximize the chance that they help the likely winner of a race, usually by giving at the very end of the campaign. Donors who give for solidary reasons are a special case. We believe they are likely to give early if they are mobilized by to do so. In fact, challengers depend chiefly on such donors to help lift their campaigns off the ground. These contributors give because they are part of friendship or organizational networks closely associated with the candidate. They might give early or late, depending on the degree to which the challenger can tap into such networks. We map these three distinctive incentives onto different categories of donors. Those who give mainly for solidary reasons tend to be individual donors. They give mainly to help a friend or respond to a plea from colleague who knows the candidate. These donors are likely to give to challengers regardless of whether they look viable or not. Thus, we expect individual donors to give early to challengers but not necessarily based on any time-invariant indicators. To some extent, Leadership PACs may fall into this category as Members of Congress respond to personal pleas for help from local candidates in the

Authors: McGhee, Eric. and La Raja, Raymond.
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life of an organization, including friendships, or take intrinsic pleasure in the
organization’s work; purposive incentives apply to those attracted to the organization for
its ideology or policy goals; material incentives involve attractions to money, jobs, or
some cash-value benefit.
We argue that those donors who give for purposive reasons are more likely to give
early than those who give for material reasons because they seek to change the make-up
of Congress. In contrast, contributors who give for material reasons are more likely to
favor bargaining with individual legislators for particularistic benefits, regardless of
member ideology. Thus, they want to maximize the chance that they help the likely
winner of a race, usually by giving at the very end of the campaign. Donors who give for
solidary reasons are a special case. We believe they are likely to give early if they are
mobilized by to do so. In fact, challengers depend chiefly on such donors to help lift
their campaigns off the ground. These contributors give because they are part of
friendship or organizational networks closely associated with the candidate. They might
give early or late, depending on the degree to which the challenger can tap into such
networks.
We map these three distinctive incentives onto different categories of donors. Those
who give mainly for solidary reasons tend to be individual donors. They give mainly to
help a friend or respond to a plea from colleague who knows the candidate. These donors
are likely to give to challengers regardless of whether they look viable or not. Thus, we
expect individual donors to give early to challengers but not necessarily based on any
time-invariant indicators. To some extent, Leadership PACs may fall into this category
as Members of Congress respond to personal pleas for help from local candidates in the


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