Being an incumbent is a big advantage in running for office in Colorado, but cash counts more, according to a study released today by the Institute on Money in State Politics.
In 2004, a whopping 100% of Senate candidates who won their races raised more cash than their opponents or were unopposed in their races. Eighty-three percent of the House candidates did the same. Incumbency mattered too, but the rates for success for sitting legislators were a bit lower: 83% of Senate candidates and 66% of House candidates.
“You’ve got a big hill to climb if you’re a no-name person and don’t have resources,” said Mark Dixon, author of the report. “Your chances are pretty slim if you don’t play the political game.”
Overall the study showed that in all state legislative races, a dramatic percentage of winners were the candidates who raised the most money or were unopposed in their races. Less than seven percent of state-level candidates can win office without having either a financial or incumbency advantage.