The Last Hurrah?
Soft Money and Issue Advocacy in the 2002 Congressional Elections
PUBLISHER: Brookings Institution Press
Also available at Amazon.com
The 2002 midterm elections werenoteworthy U.S. congressional campaigns for many reasons. They marked the last nationalcontests before implementation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) and thus wereexpected by many to be the "last hurrah" for soft money. These midterm campaigns provided awindow on the activity of parties, interest groups, and political consultants on the eve ofBCRA, as they prepared to enter a new era of American elections. The results of Campaign2002 were remarkable. As the party in power, the Republicans defied history by gaining seatsin both houses of Congress, giving them a majority in the Senate. To some degree thisresulted from the GOP's new emphasis on "ground war" voter mobilization. Another key was theunusually aggressive support of the sitting president, who leveraged his popularity toadvance his party's candidates for Congress. The Last Hurrah?analyzes the role of soft money and issue advocacy in the 2002 battle forCongress. Having been granted access to a number of campaign operations across a broad arrayof groups, David Magleby, Quin Monson, and their colleagues monitored and documented anumber of competitive races, including the key South Dakota and Missouri Senate contests.Each case study breaks down the campaign communication in a particular race, includingdevices such as advertising, get-out-the-vote drives, "soft money" expenditures, and theincreasingly influential role of the national parties on local races. They also discuss theoverall trends of the midterm election of 2002, paying particular attention to the impact ofPresident Bush and his political operation in candidate recruitment, fundraising, andcampaign visits. Magleby and Monson consider an important question typically overlooked. Howdo voters caught in the middle of a hotly contested race deal with -and react to -a barrageof television and radio ads, direct mail, unsolicited phone calls, and other campaigncommunications? They conclude with a look to the future, using the trends in 2002 tounderstand just how candidates, political parties, and interest groups might respond to thenew campaign environment of BCRA.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4/8/2004
CATEGORY: Political Science, Social Science