Chapter 9 and 10 of Campaigns & Elections covers presidential and congressional campaigns. With
presidential campaigns, candidates and their campaigns appear to be running a national campaign, but of
course they are not: they are running 50 state-based campaigns…Or really, 11 or 12 – however many
battleground states there happen to be in that cycle. Which brings us to the question. Getting earned media
coverage is crucial for all candidates, even presidential candidates. What, then, are we to make of press
coverage for candidates? What kinds of press coverage matters in the states that matter most? What are the
ways candidates can widen or improve on their battleground map?
For congressional campaigns, being an incumbent has been a crucial component to keeping one’s seat. Of
course, incumbents were not born into those seats, so they had to be challengers at one time (or run in an
open seat) as well. Nonetheless, there is growing discussion that the value of incumbency is not what it once
was. Is this true? Have congressional campaigns become so nationalized that simply holding office has little
to no value?
Consider your readings from Campaigns & Elections and read these two pieces…
Milita, Kerri, and John Barry Ryan. 2019. “Battleground States and Local Coverage of American Presidential
Campaigns.” Political Research Quarterly 72 (1): 104–16. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912918781752.
Carson, Jamie L., Joel Sievert, and Ryan D. Williamson. 2020. “Nationalization and the Incumbency
Advantage.” Political Research Quarterly 73 (1): 156–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912919883696.
Based on these readings, what is the main take-away on the research question each piece, respectively?
Are these arguments based on logic only, or do they present data to justify their claims?
To the extent you can, identify their research questions, theories, dependent variables, independent variables,
and the data sources they use to test their hypotheses.
Fundamentally, do you agree or disagree with the ways these authors characterize the implications for interest
group contributions and earned local media in presidential campaigns?
Be specific with your critique and use evidence from the readings to support your position.