Compiled by the late Thad Beyle, formerly Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Jennifer M. Jensen, Professor of Political Science and Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs, Lehigh University.
The Gubernatorial Campaign Expenditures Database contains campaign spending data for every candidate for governor in each of the 50 states from 1977 to 2014. The dataset also contains data on the vote share for each candidate in the general election and, when available, the primaries. The Beyle-Jensen data were first collected independently by Thad Beyle. In 1996, Jennifer Jensen transferred nearly 20 years of gubernatorial elections data to Excel format and created a Web site for the data. This partnership continued for more than 10 years, with Thad and Jennifer working together to gather and disseminate the data. More recently, Jennifer has managed both data collection and dissemination.
The database was originally described in: Jensen, Jennifer M. and Thad Beyle. 2003. Of Footnotes, Missing Data, and Lessons for 50-State Data Collection: The Gubernatorial Campaign Finance Data Project, 1977-2001 State Politics and Policy Quarterly 3 (2): 203-214.
Things to Know
- We ask that scholarship using the data include a note to the effect of, “The data used here were originally collected by Thad Beyle and Jennifer M. Jensen,” and cite the 2003 SPPQ article. This is the easiest way to track the use of the database in publications.
- An article on the most recent gubernatorial elections, and data on the last four years of elections, is in the Book of the States each year. We recommend reading the relevant chapter for details on a given year's elections, which can be very helpful as you make decisions in re-coding data.
- If you download the data, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how you plan to use it. We also request that you send us a copy of any paper, presentation, or publication that uses the data.
- Please remember that these data are expenditures data, not contributions data (which are tracked by the National Institute on Money in State Politics).
- Though this dataset is updated annually, it can take several months after the November elections to finalize that year's data. Candidates often have a final filing deadline in the spring following the election, and we need to capture that filing information in the expenditure totals.
- Beyle-Jensen Database (1977-2016) - download zip file
- 2016 Data - Excel file
- Additional information on the database including some articles by other scholars using the data
We strongly (!!) recommend that you download and review the codebook before using the data.