The Transformation of the Congressional Primary



In the past decade, ideological division has become the dominant discourse of internal party conflict, transforming the nature of congressional primary races. Congressional nomination contests have gone from localized candidate-centered races into ideologically orientated policy battles as candidates have become aligned with nationalized party factions. This chapter finds evidence in the 2014 and 2018 mid-term congressional primaries of a dramatic increase in factional primary contests. This has led to reduced focus on valence factors such as candidate competence and experience, and greater interest in ideological and policy positioning of candidates, with a marked increase in ideological and faction-oriented rhetoric present in congressional primaries.


Faction Primaries Congress Ideology Intra-party 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Free University BerlinBerlinGermany

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