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Congressional Elections

Congressional Elections
Campaigning at Home and in Washington

Seventh Edition

Other Titles in:
Congress | Elections

December 2015 | 384 pages | CQ Press
“It is the gold standard for texts on congressional campaigns and elections.”

— Bruce A. Larson, Gettysburg College

In Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington author Paul Herrnson combines top-notch research with real-world politics as he argues that successful candidates run two campaigns: one for votes, the other for resources. Using campaign finance data, original survey research, and hundreds of interviews with candidates and political insiders, Herrnson looks at how this dual strategy affects who wins and how it ultimately shapes the entire electoral system. The Seventh Edition considers the impact of the Internet and social media on campaigning; the growing influence of interest groups in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling; and the influence of new voting methods on candidate, party, and voter mobilization tactics.
Chapter 1: The Strategic Context
The Candidate-Centered Campaign

The Institutional Framework

Political Culture

Campaign Technology

The Political Setting

Recent Congressional Elections


Chapter 2: Candidates and Nominations
Strategic Ambition

Passing the Primary Test

Nominations, Elections, and Representation

The Senate


Chapter 3: The Anatomy of a Campaign
Campaign Organizations

Campaign Budgets

Senate Campaigns


Chapter 4: The Parties Campaign
National Agenda Setting

The National, Congressional, and Senatorial Campaign Committees

Strategy, Decision Making, and Targeting

Campaign Contributions and Coordinated Expenditures

Campaign Services

Outside Campaigns

The Impact of Party Campaigning


Chapter 5: The Interests Campaign
Organizing for Electoral Influence

Strategy, Decision Making, and Targeting

PAC Contributions

Campaign Services

Outside Campaigns

The Impact of Interest Group Activity


Chapter 6: The Campaign for Resources
Inequalities in Resources

House Incumbents

House Challengers

Candidates for House Open Seats

Senate Campaigns

Single-Candidate Super PACs and 501(c) Organizations


Chapter 7: Campaign Strategy
Voting Behavior

Voters and Campaign Strategy

Gauging Public Opinion

Voter Targeting

The Message


Chapter 8: Campaign Communications
Television Advertising

Radio Advertising

Newspaper Advertising

Direct Mail and Newsletters

Telephone Calls

The Internet and Social Media

Free Media

Field Work

The Importance of Different Communications Techniques

Outside Campaigns


Chapter 9: Candidates, Campaigns, and Electoral Success
House Incumbent Campaigns

House Challenger Campaigns

House Open-Seat Campaigns

Senate Campaigns

Claiming Credit and Placing Blame


Chapter 10: Elections and Governance
The Permanent Campaign

A Decentralized Congress

Political Parties as Centralizing Agents

Responsiveness, Responsibility, and Public Policy


Chapter 11: Campaign Reform
The Case for Reform

Obstacles to Reform

Some Ideas for Reform


Notes Name Index

“I cannot say enough good things about Herrnson’s Congressional Elections. It is the gold standard for texts on congressional campaigns and elections. It is consistently lively and highly readable, supplements rigorous empirical analysis with interesting case studies, and is always informed by the most up-to-date cutting-edge research on congressional campaigns and elections. An irreplaceable text.”

Bruce A. Larson
Gettysburg College

“Paul Herrnson’s Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington is a great resource for a course on American elections. I like using the dichotomy of the two campaigns—one for resources and another for votes—to get students to analyze how money, media, and messaging influence the outcome of elections. What is more, the data used throughout the text allows students to scrutinize the fairness of elections in the United States and develop reforms to address the inequities they see.”

Daniel Birdsong
University of Dayton

“The strength of Herrnson’s book is that it covers not just the campaign in the home district but also the campaign for funds in Washington, D.C. The book is highly readable with informative tables and figures, and valuable original research. I can't imagine anyone doing better than Herrnson in covering congressional campaigns.”

Steve Shaffer
Mississippi State University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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