Choosing Legislative Candidates Via Primaries: The Pivotal Role of Executive Incumbency

15 April 2024, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


How much influence does incumbency have on the way parties nominate candidates? I address this question in the context of Argentina, examining how political parties decide on candidate nomination methods for National Deputies. I argue that holding the governorship creates an imbalanced distribution of resources within a party, leading party factions to lean toward consensus in candidate selection and reducing the likelihood of choosing a primary election. Conversely, when a party lacks the governorship, its party leader may have a weaker influence in deterring primary elections. I also theorize the various situations and resources governors can employ to discourage primary elections, including potential coattail effects, the option of seeking reelection, control over the primaries' selectorate, and control of the electoral calendar. To test my expectations, I employ a regression discontinuity design, focusing on governors and those who finished as runners-up in lower chamber elections from 1985 to 2023.


Candidate Nomination
Incumbency Advantage


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