The 2000 Republican nomination battle illustrates the waning importance of campaign momentum to winning the presidential nomination and the increasing significance of early fundraising and organization. The reform movement of the 1970s established a new presidential nomination structure, which placed a premium on building momentum by winning early contests such as the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. However, so many recent front-runners survived early defeats, suggesting the conventional wisdom needs to be revisited. In 2000, frontrunner George W. Bush, survived two substantial “bumps in the road” to go on and win his party's nomination faster than anyone in the post-reform period. This research explores how the resources obtained before the onset of the primaries prevented seemingly important early losses in New Hampshire and Michigan from denying Bush the nomination. The data examined include five measures of campaign organization obtained from quarterly and monthly reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by candidate campaigns: (1) money raised, (2) cash reserves, (3) state organization, (4) paid staff, (5) payroll expenses and consultant fees.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science