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Home > The Journal of Politics > Volume 81, Number 4 ⮜ PREVIOUS ARTICLE NEXT ARTICLE ⮞ FREE Do Local Party Chairs Think Women and Minority Candidates Can Win? Evidence from a Conjoint Experiment David Doherty, Conor M. Dowling, and Michael G. Miller Abstract We conducted a national survey of local party chairs that included a conjoint experiment to assess the effects of candidates’ race and gender on chairs’ assessments of their likelihood of winning a state legislative primary election in their area. Chairs from both parties viewed women candidates as just as likely as men to win the support of their base but viewed Latinx and black candidates as substantially less likely to win. The disadvantage chairs believe minority candidates face is insensitive to variation in county demographics among Republican chairs but is attenuated among Democratic chairs serving counties with larger minority populations. Our findings suggest that officials from both parties believe that minority candidates face an uphill battle with their base. This perception may color chairs’ decisions about which candidates to recruit and most vigorously support. Though the 115th Congress enjoyed one of the most diverse compositions in American history, fewer than 20% of its seats were occupied by women or racial and ethnic minorities (Levy 2017). State legislatures do little better in terms of descriptive representation (Kurtz 2015). This lack of diversity is important for a number of reas ...
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