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Kira Sanbonmatsu, "The Legislative Party and Candidate Recruitment in the American States," Party Politics, 12 (March, 2006), 233-256.

First Paragraph:
Party scholars have long theorized that party competition is related to party organizational strength (e.g. Beck, 1974; Crotty, 1968; Key, 1949; Patterson and Caldeira, 1984; Schlesinger, 1985). Whether the parties successfully recruit candidates helps determine whether voters are offered a choice between the two major parties on election day (e.g. Downs, 1957). Because capturing office is arguably the main goal of the party (Downs, 1957; Schlesinger, 1975), fielding candidates is a necessary condition for parties to win elections. As Seligman (1961: 77) summarizes: 'The recruitment of political candidates is a basic function of political parties: a party that cannot attract and then nominate candidates surrenders its elemental opportunity for power.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. The legislative party and candidate recruitment
Table 2. The legislative party and selective recruitment
Table 3. Party competition and candidate recruitment activity
Table 4. Party competition and selective recruitment
Table 5. Party competition, competitive seats, and candidate recruitment
Appendix: Mail Survey Methodology

Last Paragraph:
Recruitment is an activity that parties can engage in even if the party is weak on other dimensions of organizational strength. Because a party must at least contest races in order to stand any chance of winning office, candidate recruitment may be one of the first tasks for a minority party (e.g. Frendreis et al., 1990). The legislative party may be able to recruit candidates even if the party lacks a grassroots base or significant caucus resources. Having the resources of a well-financed legislative campaign committee with paid staff no doubt can make the task of candidate recruitment easier. However, even comparatively weak parties may be able to engage in candidate recruitment. An understanding of recruitment as a strategy available to party leaders may be more appropriate than thinking of the legislative party in terms of 'weak' or 'strong' party organizations.