Why do social movement participants turn to elections to advance their goals? Little scholarship has examined movement–election connections at the micro level, and cases from nondemocratic settings are few. After the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong failed to achieve substantive results, very few occupiers ran as candidates in the next two general elections. Drawing on interviews with Umbrella candidates and campaign assistants, I argue that after being politicized by the occupation, those candidates used the authoritarian elections to prolong their challenge. They ran to prove that the occupation, though it had failed, did enjoy popular support, thus turning the elections into electoral “moments”: eruptions of civic energy. Their campaigns were also direct challenges to the existing parties. However, they were constrained by electoral logic. Candidates therefore devised various tactics to justify their decision, and to differentiate themselves from conventional candidates.

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