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First returns on a Campaign Finance Reform Experiment: Maine, Arizona and Full Public Funding

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Publication Date: May 2001

Publisher(s): National Institute on Money in State Politics (U.S.)

Author(s): Samantha Sanchez

Topic: Politics (Campaigns, lobbying, and pressure groups)

Type: Report

Coverage: Maine Arizona

Abstract:

The 2000 elections saw the first-run testing in two states of a new campaign reform called Clean Elections by its proponents,a voluntary system of full public funding for candidates who generally agree to forego private fundraising. Candidates in Arizona and Maine could opt into this system of public financing, due to vote rpassed initiatives that in each state withstood court challenges. A review of campaign contribution information for legislative candidates in the two states shows that public financing as well as the alternative contribution limits each state enacted cut private funds in the Maine legislative elections by half and in Arizona by 9 percent. It also appears to have put challengers on better financial footing and to have opened the doors for new candidates.