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Reforming State Legislative Elections: Creating a New Dynamic

William M. Salka
Reforming State Legislative Elections: Creating a New Dynamic
ISBN: 978-1-58826-691-0
2009/205 pages/LC: 2009026970
"Provides a thorough investigation of campaign spending and electoral competition.... Salka presents a compelling case for more stringent campaign finance laws."—Jonathan Winburn, Perspectives on Politics

"Extremely well organized and a joy to read.... This book takes the scholarship on state-level election reform in exactly the direction it needs to go."—-Caroline J. Tolbert, University of Iowa

"A careful, systematic analysis of campaign spending and competition across state legislatures, combined with a thoughtful discussion of the strengths and limitations of paths to reform.... Salka's study has the potential to influence important policy debates."—Eric Zeemering, San Francisco State University 


When it comes to legislative elections, entrenched incumbents typically face little competition, and excessive campaign spending often corrupts the democratic process. At the state level, a wide range of fixes have been introduced to remedy these problems—but do they actually make a difference? William Salka’s comprehensive analysis of election dynamics in 49 states provides a thoughtful look at what legislatures should, and should not, do in pursuit of effective electoral reform.


William M. Salka is associate professor of political science at Eastern Connecticut State University.


  • Introduction: Legislative Elections in the States.
  • The Dynamics of Campaign Funding and Competition.
  • Curbing Campaign Spending.
  • Enhancing Competition.
  • Reassessing the Options for Reform.