Is It All About The Money? How Campaigns Spur Participation in State Court Elections
Justice System Journal 40(3): 221-237

Competitive, vigorous campaigns have been shown to increase participation across a variety of elections, including those at the state and local level. Building on previous work that examines the impact of money in judicial elections, this study explores the impact of campaign effort on participation in state court elections. Using data from 260 state supreme court elections occurring from 1990-2004 across 18 states, I find that competitive campaigns—not just expensive ones—are important for encouraging participation in these contests. Additionally, the study uncovers differential effects of challenger and incumbent spending. Ultimately, the findings contribute to our understanding of campaign effects in judicial elections while also providing an additional test of the idea that campaigns matter, especially in low-information contests.

Race, Place, and Descriptive Representation: What Shapes Trust Toward Local Government?
Forthcoming at Representation

The question of how descriptive representation might affect political behavior and attitudes is important when considering the role political attitudes play in facilitating a functioning democracy. What role, if any, does co-racial descriptive representation play in the relationship between citizens and local government? What factors underlie attitudes toward local government, generally? Employing a unique set of survey data collected across several dozen cities combined with city-level contextual data, the analysis offers a comprehensive picture of trust toward local governments. Overall, the findings support the hypothesis that descriptive representation has a positive effect on feelings of trust in local government. However, these effects are limited to mayoral representation. Increased levels of descriptive representation in less-visible city councils do not have the same effect.