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The proposed text presents a detailed case study of the US Senate race in Montana in 2012 and is intended for use as a supplement in courses on campaigns and elections, the US Congress, and American Government. This race is of particular interest because it was one of only a few competitive races in 2012 and because of the impact of Citizens United and so-called “dark money” on the campaign. Furthermore, the setting in Montana offers a view into the rising political influence of the West, the importance of “place” in politics, and the impact of congressional styles and constituent relationships on campaigns and elections. The author, David C.W. Parker, was granted exceptional access by both campaigns over the 21 months preceding the election, allowing him to tell the story of the race in fascinating detail. Throughout the narrative, Parker will weave in political analysis and place the race in the broader context of congressional elections and the research literature.

Jon Tester's Creating a Buzz
Jon tester's creating a buzz

To understand the role of campaigns in election outcomes, you must begin with place and then move to the stories of the players shaped by that place: the candidates and the voters. Congressional campaigns begin and end in a particular geographic space that shapes the issue concerns, the shared experiences, and the representational expectations of the voters. This is a truism in any campaign. And it is why campaign plans begin by analyzing the stage upon which an election is contested. Place shapes the narratives of campaigns, much as it shapes the life experiences of the candidates running for office. As public policy scholars Shanahan, McBeth, and Hathaway have written, “Narratives are lifeblood of politics. ...

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