Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Christine L. Day

Second Advisor

Daniel C. Lewis

Third Advisor

Matthew Jacobsmeier


This study expands the literature on clergy as political actors by shedding light on the relative electoral performance of clergy who hold office in state legislatures. Kinney’s 2008 study on the occurrence of clergy in local office, as well as other works showing the divergence in attitudes towards church-state separation among racial groups and religious traditions, illustrate potential factors affecting the performance of clergy in elections. The analyses examine the factors related to differences in vote percentages, margins of victory, and campaign funding between clergy and non-clergy. These factors include racial and religious traditions and how their effects interact. The analyses find that clergy-legislators receive larger vote percentages, larger margins of victory, but less campaign funding. These effects, with the exception of campaign funding, tend to be the strongest when looking at black Protestant clergy compared to mainline Protestant clergy and non-clergy legislators.


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