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Jordan Kujala


Primary Field: American Politics
Secondary Field: Political Methodology
PhD expected June 2017

Dissertation Committee Composition
Walt Stone (Co-Chair), Ben Highton (Co-Chair), and Jim Adams

Research Focus

My research focuses on ideological representation in the United States. More specifically, I am interested in understanding sources of ideological polarization and the role elections play in modern American politics. In my dissertation, I investigate representation using a unique data set that places congressional candidates on the same ideological dimension as their primary, general election, and partisan donor constituencies. With this data, I find strong evidence that the influence of co-partisans and donors in primary elections are sources of polarization in the United States. On the other hand, I find that general elections act as a moderating force. Major party nominees are punished in the general election for their extremity, and partisans appear to respond by supporting more moderate candidates in competitive districts. However, given a lack of competitive districts, the polarizing effects of partisan constituencies dominate any moderating effects resulting in ideologically extreme nominees and, ultimately, members of Congress. Dissertation: "Donors, Primary Elections, and the Success of Polarized Candidates in the United States"
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