Document Type

Honors Project


The 2020 Democratic presidential primary had the largest field in modern history. Twenty eight major candidates sought the nomination, yet after March 19th that historic field had been winnowed down to only two. This paper seeks to explain part of that winnowing process and expand on the literature explaining why candidates withdraw in presidential primaries. I trace the impact of fundraising on candidate withdrawal during the 2020 primary using an event history model, to compare cash on hand, a traditional indicator of financial success with a new indicator which takes into account a candidate's relative position in the field. My results find that both variables are correlated with candidate exit among all candidates. However, my results also suggest that daily relative position is statistically significant across relevant candidate subgroups and is perhaps better equipped to deal with fundraising outliers.



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