For decades economists and political scientists have sought to identify variables that influence the electoral success of public officials. Most of the existing literature focuses on the determinants of federal elections. This study examines elections to the Virginia House of Delegates and finds that campaign expenditures, incumbency status, party affiliation, and district voting tendencies all are significant predictors of electoral success. Additionally, this study finds that the returns to campaign expenditures, in terms of the additional votes that they generate, vary based on incumbency, party affiliation, number of opponents in the race, and over time.

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Copyright © 2009 Virginia Social Science Association. This article first appeared in Virginia Social Science Journal 44 (2009): 35-54.

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