Arizona Clean Elections: The Impact of Publicly Financed Campaigns on Representation in the Legislature
Campaign finance regulation has drastically changed since the founding of the Republic. Originally, few laws regulated how much could be contributed to political campaigns and who could make contributions. One by one, Congress passed laws to limit the possibility of corruption, for example by banning the solicitation of federal workers and banning contributions from corporations. As the United States moved into the 20th Century, regulations became more robust with more accountability. The modern structure of campaign finance regulation was established in the 1970's with legislation like the Federal Election Campaign Act and with Supreme Court rulings like in Buckley v. Valeo. Since then, the Court has moved increasingly to strike down campaign finance laws they see as limiting to First Amendment free speech. However, Arizona is one of a handful of states that established a system of publicly financed campaigns at the state-wide and legislative level. Passed in 1998, Proposition 200 attempted to limit the influence of money politics. For my research I hypothesized that a public financing system like the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) would lead to Democrats running with public funds more than Republicans, women running clean more than men, and rural candidates running clean more than urban ones, and that Democrats, women, and rural candidates would win in higher proportions than than if they ran a traditional campaign. After compiling data from the CCEC and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, I found that Democrats do run with public funds in statistically higher proportions than Republicans, but when they do they lose in higher proportions than Democrats who run traditionally. Female candidates only ran at a statistically higher proportion from 2002 to 2008, after which the difference was not statistically significant. For all year ranges women who ran with public money lost in higher proportions than women who ran traditionally. Similarly, rural candidates only ran at a statistically higher proportion from 2002 to 2008. However, they only lost at higher proportions from 2002 to 2008 instead of the whole range like with women and Democratic candidates.