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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Explaining the Decision to Withdraw from a U.S. Presidential Nomination Campaign

  • Author(s): Damore, David F.
  • Hansford, Thomas G.
  • Barghothi, A. J.
  • et al.

We contend that a candidate’s decision to exit from a U.S. presidential nomination campaign is a function of three sets of considerations: the potential for profile elevation, party-related costs, and updated perceptions of competitiveness. We analyze data from eleven post-reform presidential nomination campaigns and find support for all three considerations. Specifically, our results suggest that in addition to candidates’ competitiveness, the decision to withdraw is a function of candidates’ closeness to their party and ability to raise their profile. At the same time, some of our results contradict the conventional wisdom regarding presidential nomination campaigns, as we find no evidence that media coverage or cash on hand directly affect the duration of a nomination candidacy.

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