Parties and Electoral Performance in the Market for Political Consultants

Parties and Electoral Performance in the Market for Political Consultants

By
Gregory J. Martin, Zachary Peskowitz
Legislative Studies Quarterly. August
2015, Vol. 40, Issue 3, Pages 441-470

We investigate whether the hiring relationships of candidates and political consulting firms better resembles the predictions of the “adversarial” or “allied” models of consultant‐party interaction. We find that the highest‐quality consultants are not allocated to the most competitive races, consultant‐candidate relationships persist even as candidates’ electoral prospects change, and firms who work for challengers face a higher risk of market exit than firms working for incumbents. The market focuses entirely on win‐loss records and ignores the information on consultant performance available in candidates’ vote shares. These findings depict a market driven by individual candidate, rather than aggregate party, goals.