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Congressional Elections
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Congressional Elections
Campaigning at Home and in Washington

Seventh Edition


November 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

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 2: Candidates and Nominations
Strategic Ambition

 
Passing the Primary Test

 
Nominations, Elections, and Representation

 
The Senate

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 3: The Anatomy of a Campaign
Campaign Organizations

 
Campaign Budgets

 
Senate Campaigns

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 7: Campaign Strategy
Voting Behavior

 
Voters and Campaign Strategy

 
Gauging Public Opinion

 
Voter Targeting

 
The Message

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

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

 
House Challenger Campaigns

 
House Open-Seat Campaigns

 
Senate Campaigns

 
Claiming Credit and Placing Blame

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 10: Elections and Governance
The Permanent Campaign

 
A Decentralized Congress

 
Political Parties as Centralizing Agents

 
Responsiveness, Responsibility, and Public Policy

 
Summary

 
 
Chapter 11: Campaign Reform
The Case for Reform

 
Obstacles to Reform

 
Some Ideas for Reform

 
Summary

 
 
Notes
 
Notes Name Index
 
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
Key features
  • Case studies and campaign fundraising and spending figures from the 2014 midterm elections
  • The effects of the Citizens United, McCutcheon, and other recent Supreme Court cases on corporate, trade association, and labor union strategies and spending
  • Fundraising advantages, strategies, and spending practices of different interest group entities—PACs, super PACs, 527s, and 501(c)s
  • The rise of super PACs and 501(c) organizations that exist for the sole purpose of advancing the career of an individual candidate and can raise money from sources and in amounts prohibited to the candidate
  • The increased influence of wealthy individuals and groups on the conduct of congressional campaigns
  • The use of social media and the Internet to raise money, communicate with voters, recruit volunteers, and pretest television ads
  • Updated coverage of campaign strategy and communications includes the use of big data, microtargeting, and social media
  • Introduction of new convenience voting methods in many states
  • Introduction of other state reforms, such as redistricting commissions and California’s top-two primary system

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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