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Reply #24: Interesting discussion [View All]

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Strawman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-25-07 11:30 AM
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24. Interesting discussion
Initially I was excited about Skinner running again, but upon further review, I don't really see anything wrong with Peters. bfealk does have a point. The goal is to unseat Knollenberg. Unseating an incumbent is incredibly hard. I can see the warrant for entering a primary when there is a substantive difference, but as much as I like Nancy Skinner I'm not so sure it's a great idea.

So I decided to take a quick look at the empirical evidence on the effects of divisive primaries. Kenney (1988) finds that divisive primaries have no effect on general election outcomes in Congressional elections.

Ok, so no harm in Nancy Skinner challenging Gary Peters then, right? I'm not so sure. bfealk makes another good point about the importance of early money to congressional challengers in his example about the cancelled Dean fundraiser for Gary Peters. Krasno, Green and Cowden (1994) find that early money is absolutely essential for challengers to be successful at raising money later on. It provides a signal of candidate viability to donors. It seems like there are two implications to this: 1) Nancy Skinner has little chance of raising the amount of money needed to be competitive and 2) She's hurting Peters' fundraising effort which will harm the viability of our general election candidate.

There's nothing ideal about this. It's not the way things ought to work, but barring a genuine substantive difference, I don't see the warrant for a primary challenge. I don't like "the establishment" at all. My gut reaction is to side with Nancy. But good intentions aren't good enough. There's enough evidence of a risk to the general election candidate here to suggest that making the sentimental choice here is irresponsible.
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