State elections held at same time as federal elections to save time and money.
Advantages of Incumbency
Representatives who run for reelection win approximately 90% of the time.
While imcumbent senators have a tremendous electoral advantage, House incumbents have an even greater advantage, since senators run statewide, inviting competition, as opposed to representatives running in their home district.
Nominations, during which the parties choose their candidates for the general elections.
General elections, during which voters decide who will hold elective office.
39 States use primary elections to select presidential nominees, and all states use primaries to nominate state offices.
Between early February and late spring of election year .
The most common type of primary election.
Voting is restricted to registered members of a political party.
Voters may vote only for candidates running for the nomination of their declared party.
Ex. Democrats choosing the best Democrat, GOP choosing the best Republican
Voters may vote only in one party's primary, but may vote in whichever party primary they choose.
Voters select the party primary in which they wish to participate in the privacy of the voting both.
Criticized for allowing the sabotage of an opposing primary and voting for the candidate least likely to win.
Use the same procedure as the general elections.
Voters may vote for one candidate per office of either party.
Only Alaska and Washington use this election system.
Occurs when no candidate receives the required or minimum share of votes.
Held between the top two voted candidates.
Occur most often when many challengers vie for an open office, especially when none of them are well known
Devoted party members selected to attend their respective party's national convention to support their party's presidential candidate.
Typically selected at state caucuses and conventions.
Automatic delegate status to many party leaders, including congressmen and state leaders.
Generally support the front-runner.
Criticized for diluting the importance of primary elections by diluting the importance of the primary elections by making the party elite to control the nominating process.
Used by Democrats, not GOP
Recommends that delegates must be represented by the proportion of their population in each state.
Created by Republicans to promote diversity withing the delegate pool.
Elections held between presidential elections.
Date of General Elections for Federal Office
1st Tuesday of November
Federal Matching Funds
Given to primary candidates who received more than 10% of the vote in the election.
Matches all campaign contributions of $250 and less.
Occurs when no candidate has received the pledge of a majority of convention delegates.
In this case, conventions decide who the nominee will be.
A sharp rise in a candidate's approval after his respective party's national convention has pulled an image of unity.
Differences Between Primary and General Elections
In primaries, the candidate must compete against others of the his same party, while in general elections, the candidate competes against the other party.
In primaries, candidates are more extreme to win the votes of their political base, while in general elections, candidates lean to the center to gain national approval.
Created to insulate the government from the whims of the uneducated public.
Each state's college size determined by number of legislators (representatives + 2 senators).
Winner of the general election in each state wins all votes.
Voting a candidate of one party for the presidency and voting a candidate of the other party for legislators.