Guide to Political Campaigns in America

Books

Edited by: Paul S. Herrnson

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    About the Editors

    Paul S. Herrnson, editor in chief, is director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship and professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. He is the author and editor of dozens of works, including Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington, 4th ed. (CQ Press, 2004), and has participated in many aspects of active campaigns for office. He has served as an American Political Science Association congressional fellow and has received several teaching honors, including an Excellence in Teaching Award and a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award. He has advised the U.S. Congress, the Maryland General Assembly, the Federal Election Commission, and other government agencies and groups on matters pertaining to campaign finance, political parties, and voting systems.

    Colton Campbell, associate editor, works for Rep. Michael Thompson, D-Calif. He has also served as an American Political Science Association congressional fellow for former U.S. senator Bob Graham, as associate professor of political science at Florida International University, and as an analyst in American government at the Congressional Research Service. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of several books on Congress and the legislative process, including Impeaching Clinton: Partisan Strife on Capitol Hill with Nicol C. Rae.

    Marni Ezra, associate editor, is associate professor of political science at Hood College. She has published numerous books, book chapters, and journal articles, many of which focus on congressional primary elections and voter turnout. In addition, she is interested in the use of simulations in political science classes and is the coauthor of the Government in Action series with Julie Dolan (CQ Press, 2002).

    Stephen K. Medvic, associate editor, is assistant professor of government at Franklin & Marshall College. In addition to writing several academic articles and book chapters, he is the author of Political Consultants in U.S. Congressional Elections and coeditor of Shades of Gray: Perspectives on Campaign Ethics. His research and teaching interests include campaigns and elections, political parties, the media and politics, and public opinion.

    About the Contributors

    Nathan S. Bigelow is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, where he works as a graduate research assistant with the Center for American Politics and Citizenship. His research interests include political parties, interest group politics, political campaigning, and campaign finance at both the state and national levels. His dissertation will address political representation in the state legislatures.

    Barry C. Burden is associate professor of government at Harvard University. He is the coauthor of Why Americans Split Their Tickets, coeditor of Uncertainty in American Politics with David C. Kimball, and author of numerous journal articles. His research interests focus on electoral politics and representation.

    David E. Campbell is assistant professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of the forthcoming book Why We Vote: How Schools and Communities Shape Our Civic Life. His research interests include political participation, social capital, and civic education.

    Richard S. Conley is associate professor of political science at the University of Florida. He is the author of The Presidency, Congress, and Divided Government: A Postwar Assessment and editor of Reassessing the Reagan Presidency and Transforming the American Polity: The Presidency of George W. Bush and the War on Terrorism. His research interests include the presidency, executive-legislative relations, and comparative executive politics.

    Anthony Corrado is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Government at Colby College and a nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. His publications include The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook;Inside the Campaign Finance Battle; and Campaign Finance Reform. His research interests include campaign finance regulation, election law, and political reform.

    David A. Dulio is assistant professor of political science at Oakland University. He is the author of For Better or Worse: How Political Consultants Are Changing Elections in the United States and coauthor of Vital Signs: Perspectives on the Health of American Campaigning with Candice J. Nelson. His research generally focuses on the professionalization of political campaigns.

    Robert M. Eisinger is associate professor and chair of the political science department at Lewis & Clark College. He is the author of The Evolution of Presidential Polling. His research interests include public opinion and the media.

    Marni Ezra is associate professor of political science at Hood College. She has published numerous books, book chapters, and journal articles, many of which focus on congressional primary elections and voter turnout. In addition, she is interested in the use of simulations in political science classes and is the coauthor of the Government in Action series with Julie Dolan (CQ Press, 2002).

    Peter L. Francia is assistant professor of political science at East Carolina University. He is the coauthor of The Financiers of Congressional Elections: Investors, Ideologues, and Intimates. His research interests include interest groups, political parties, campaign finance, and elections.

    Peter F. Galderisi is associate professor of political science at Utah State University. He is the editor of Redistricting in the New Millennium and coeditor of Congressional Primaries and the Politics of Representation, and he has written about realignment in the Rocky Mountain West. His current interests include research on comparative electoral systems and teaching statistical methodology.

    Paul S. Herrnson is director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship and professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. He is the author and editor of dozens of works, including Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington, 4th ed. (CQ Press, 2004), and has participated in many aspects of active campaigns for office. He has served as an American Political Science Association congressional fellow and has received several teaching honors, including an Excellence in Teaching Award and a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award. He has advised the U.S. Congress, the Maryland General Assembly, the Federal Election Commission, and other government agencies and groups on matters pertaining to campaign finance, political parties, and voting systems.

    Amy E. Jasperson is associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is also director of the Media and Elections Studio, which she helped establish in 2002 as a center for political communication research. She has published research in a variety of edited books and journals, including Political Communication, Polity, the Journal of Advertising, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law. Her research interests include the influence of media on public opinion, the impact of political advertising on voters, the relationship between media coverage and advertising, and women in politics.

    David A. Jones is associate professor of political science at James Madison University. His articles on media and politics have been published in Political Communication, the Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, and Politics and Policy.

    David C. Kimball is associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He is the coauthor of Why Americans Split Their Tickets with Barry C. Burden. His research interests include voting behavior, voting equipment, ballot design, and interest group lobbying.

    Raymond J. La Raja is assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as an editor of The Forum, an electronic journal of applied research in contemporary politics. His research on American political parties, interest groups, and consequences of electoral reforms has appeared in numerous journals and edited volumes. He serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C.

    Jan E. Leighley is professor of political science at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Strength in Numbers, which examines mobilization and turnout differences across racial and ethnic groups. Her research and publications focus on the contextual determinants of voter turnout and include papers on voter mobilization in the states, early voting, and unions.

    Cherie D. Maestas is assistant professor of political science at Florida State University. She has published articles on the role of legislative institutions in shaping political ambitions and the effects of ambitions on legislative behavior. She is co-principal investigator of the Candidate Emergence Study, a multiple-election study of how potential candidates make decisions about running for office in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Tetsuya Matsubayashi is a doctoral student in political science at Texas A&M University. His work has been published in the American Political Science Review. His primary areas of research include contextual studies of political participation and public opinion in the United States and in advanced industrial societies.

    Stephen K. Medvic is assistant professor of government at Franklin & Marshall College. In addition to writing several academic articles and book chapters, he is the author of Political Consultants in U.S. Congressional Elections and coeditor of Shades of Gray: Perspectives on Campaign Ethics. His research and teaching interests include campaigns and elections, political parties, the media and politics, and public opinion.

    Gary F. Moncrief is professor of political science at Boise State University. His publications include more than fifty book chapters and research articles, and his latest book is Who Runs for the Legislature? with Peverill Squire and Malcolm Jewell. His current research interests include the role of states in a federal system, legislative careers, and candidate recruitment.

    Nicol C. Rae is professor of political science at Florida International University. His books include Impeaching Clinton: Partisan Strife on Capitol Hill, with Colton Campbell, and Conservative Reformers: The Republican Freshmen and the Lessons of the 104th Congress. Rae is also a coeditor of New Majority or Old Minority? The Impact of Republicans on Congress;The Contentious Senate: Partisanship, Ideology, and the Myth of Cool Judgment; and Congress and the Politics of Foreign Policy.

    Cynthia R. Rugeley is a doctoral student in political science at Florida State University. Her research interests include voting behavior, elections, and American political institutions.

    Roy A. Schotland is professor of law at Georgetown University. He teaches, writes, and speaks on election law and has been particularly active in judicial elections, including writing amicus curiae briefs for the Conference of Chief Justices.

    Eric R. A. N. Smith is professor of political science and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of The Unchanging American Voter and Energy, the Environment, and Public Opinion and the coauthor of Dynamics of Democracy. His research interests include public opinion, elections, and environmental politics.

    Peverill Squire is professor of political science and a collegiate fellow at the University of Iowa. He is the coauthor of 101 Chambers: Congress, State Legislatures, and the Future of Legislative Studies and Who Runs for the Legislature? with Gary F. Moncrief and Malcolm Jewell.

    Clyde Wilcox is professor of government at Georgetown University. His books on campaign finance include The Financiers of Congressional Elections: Investors, Ideologues, and Intimates, with Peter L. Francia, Paul S. Herrnson, John C. Green, and Lynda W. Powell; Serious Money: Fundraising and Contributing in Presidential Nomination Campaigns, with Clifford W. Brown Jr. and Lynda W. Powell; and Interest Groups in American Campaigns: The New Face of Electioneering, 2nd ed., with Mark J. Rozell (CQ Press, 2005). His research interests include campaign finance, religion and politics, gender politics, and the politics of social issues.

    Preface

    Back in 1816, when John Quincy Adams first used the term campaign to describe one of his political efforts, it was considered unseemly for potential officeholders to solicit votes directly from the people. Although political campaigns, by their simplest definition, remain endeavors to collect enough votes to win an election, their shape and conduct have changed significantly over the political life of the nation.

    The candidates and others who participate in modern-day campaigning must accomplish a wide variety of tasks to attract voter support. The products of some of these tasks, such as the television ads that saturate the airwaves during presidential elections, are readily visible even to the most apolitical and disinterested individuals, whereas other tasks, including events to raise large financial contributions, often take place in private and among the few political elites who have the funds to host or attend them. Other activities, such as the design of a particular ballot, may be visible and yet unnoticed by voters—until the ballot ends up scrutinized by election officials, as was the so-called butterfly ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the 2000 presidential election. And still other activities may take place quietly within a campaign organization, such as crafting a theme or conducting opposition research.

    Working on this project led me to reflect on the nature of political campaigns and on my own fascination and experiences with them. My curiosity about campaigns first emerged when I cast my earliest votes—in a mock presidential election held in elementary school and in the 1976 presidential election. The campaigns in the latter contest, featuring incumbent president Gerald R. Ford and his successful challenger, Jimmy Carter, were certainly more edifying, but I can still remember the excitement with which I cast my "first vote for president” in Mrs. Kelly's kindergarten class at Oaks School #3 in Oceanside, New York. During and after my college years, I was active in campaign politics, helping to conduct a telephone poll for a House incumbent, going door-to-door to turn out voters for a political party, assisting a successful state legislative challenger to devise a strategy and distill a message, performing the same tasks for a not-so-successful congressional challenger, and organizing a Capitol Hill fund-raising event to help a member of Congress who had been defeated in 1994 reclaim his House seat two years later. Today, the role of money in politics, campaign ethics, and the impacts of campaign spending, strategy, and national tides on congressional elections are prominent parts of my scholarly research agenda. As director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, I have had opportunities to advise members of Congress, state legislators, and election officials on these topics and on how to improve voting systems and ballots.

    Political campaigns have evolved since my elementary school years, since 1976, and even since 1996 to become more complex endeavors. For people like me who were bitten by the politics bug at an early age, studying campaigns seems an intrinsically worthy and interesting pursuit. But there are perhaps even more compelling reasons to learn about campaigns. From the perspectives of voters, campaigns give substance and meaning to elections. They provide the information voters can use to choose among different candidates, political parties, and issue platforms. They also can supply citizens who are generally uninterested in politics with the motivation to show up to vote. From the perspectives of candidates, campaigns are necessary to unify individual voters into the coalitions of supporters needed to get elected. Campaigns also provide elected officials with justifications for their decision making in office—that is, officeholders routinely link their policy initiatives to their political campaigns, pointing to the substance of their campaign promises and the size of their electoral majorities when claiming a mandate to introduce, expand, cut, or eliminate specific government programs or regulations. Similarly, political parties and interest groups often use their successful campaign efforts to justify pressuring government officials to advance specific policies. On the other side, the candidates, parties, and advocacy groups shut out of power routinely use campaigns to encourage voters to hold those in power accountable for their performance in office. Functioning somewhat outside the normal channels of representative government, initiatives, referenda, and recall campaigns have been used with increasing frequency to challenge the direction of public policy or replace elected officials before their terms in office are completed. And then for the thousands who work or volunteer in elections, campaigns can provide a means of earning a livelihood, increasing political influence or contacts, or having fun while working with like-minded people toward a common goal.

    Plan of the Book

    Whereas most reference works about campaigns cover small slices of the topic, are written by and for political insiders, or focus on election outcomes, the goal in the Guide to Political Campaigns in America is to provide a single source of scholarly and practical insight into a variety of political campaigns and campaign activities. In developing this work, the associate editors, chapter authors, CQ Press, and I aimed to provide a wide audience of students, researchers, scholars, and those interested in election campaigns and politics more generally with a broad foundation of information about all aspects of political campaigns. Among the major subjects covered in the Guide are the evolution of campaigns; the strategic context, comprising the institutional, legal, and political arrangements in which campaigns take place; and the voters and financial contributors campaigns are designed to influence. The key participants in political campaigns are examined as well. These include the candidates, the campaign organizations they assemble, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media. In addition, the Guide informs readers about the major tasks associated with waging a political campaign: strategic planning, polling and other research, communications, debates, voter mobilization, and fund-raising. Detailed analyses are also undertaken of a variety of bids for specific offices, including the presidential nomination and general election campaigns and campaigns for Congress, governorships, state legislatures, and local offices. Initiative and referenda campaigns, although not campaigns for an office, are described as well. The book concludes with a review of the often hotly debated subject of campaign reform.

    Each of the twenty-seven chapters in the Guide includes a discussion of one aspect of the campaign process with relevant facts and figures and historic and contemporary examples. The authors, all recognized specialists in their field, have drawn from both the classics and the most recent scholarly literature as well as from hands-on experience. Tables, figures, case studies, boxed features, photographs, and cartoons enrich the chapters and enliven the coverage. The result is an authoritative work that presents the major subjects and themes emerging from the rich literature on political campaigns.

    Acknowledgments

    In addition to my own background in political campaigns, I also was able to draw on the experiences and knowledge of others when working on this project, including many talented scholars, students, and editors. First, I must thank my associate editors, Colton Campbell, legislative assistant to Rep. Michael Thompson of California's First Congressional District, Marni Ezra of Hood College, and Stephen K. Medvic of Franklin & Marshall College, each of whom assisted in the selection of authors and took major responsibility for editing one section of the Guide. Thanks also are due to the individual chapter authors; without their outstanding scholarly contributions the Guide would not have been possible. Several top-notch undergraduate students also must be acknowledged for their efforts. Jeffrey Davis, Lisa Epstein, and Jennifer Katkin of the University of Maryland and Jennifer Conklin, Megan Feehan, Amy Miller, Kristyn Miller, Daniel Oakes, and Sarah Steward of Franklin & Marshall College wrote some of the boxes in the chapters, checked facts, and helped to ensure that the prose in the Guide was properly pitched to the target audience. Dillard University student Kaletta Moody proofread the manuscript while enrolled in the Summer Research Initiative Program at the University of Maryland. Randy Roberson, manager of the Center for Ameri-can Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, helped to coordinate the project. Shana Wagger and January Layman-Wood of CQ Press approached me with the concept for this volume and provided valuable feedback and encouragement along each step of the process. Joan Gossett, also of CQ Press, oversaw the Guide's production. Finally, Sabra Bissette Ledent did an outstanding job copyediting the text, helping to join chapters written by a large group of specialists into a publication accessible to a diverse group of readers. To all who participated in the writing and production of the Guide, I owe my deepest thanks. To the reader, I promise an interesting and informative experience.

    Paul S. Herrnson

Back to Top