Are our elections for sale? Americans have long asked this question in the face of skyrocketing campaign spending by candidates and parties. Then, in the 1990s, came a wave of wealthy individuals whose deep pockets seemed to be buying political offices across the country. Our worst suspicions were confirmed. Or were they? What effect do self-financers really have on electoral outcomes? Jennifer Steen's authoritative empirical study of self-financed candidates is a landmark in American politics. Steen thoroughly dispels the notion that self-funded candidates can buy legislative seats, proving that the vast majority of self-financers do not win their elections. Her book gives us a truer understanding of self-financers' actual influence on campaign competition and rhetoric.
"Jennifer Steen's new book makes an original and important contribution to our knowledge of congressional campaign finance. Her comprehensive, nuanced analysis of self-financed candidates dispels common myths and puts our understanding of their role in the electoral process on a firm empirical footing for the first time."
—Gary Jacobson, University of California San Diego
"Steen deftly deploys sophisticated statistical analysis and uncommon political sense to explode the myths about how personal wealth influences elections."
—Thomas E. Mann, W Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution